Originally published by Kosheno Moore on the Jive Software website on February 16, 2017.
Built on its own technology, Jive Software’s Interactive Intranet—Brewspace—is a modern enterprise collaboration solution that unites Jive’s more than 650 employees across regions, functions and devices, while integrating with numerous popular third-party apps, including Sharepoint, Salesforce and Dropbox, to provide one holistic work platform. It’s a one stop-shop where Jive employees connect, stay informed, collaborate and get work done every day, from anywhere using any device. With 81% of our employees contributing to Brewspace, it might literally be one of the most engaged communities in the world. We’re talking about hundreds of pieces of documents, blogs, discussions and videos created every single day, each averaging several likes and tens of thousands of views daily. That’s a ton of content, so the internal communications question we’re faced with is how do we help people keep up with it all? To address this challenge and ensure that our vibrant intranet keeps adding value, our HR, corporate communications and leadership teams partnered to carefully execute a robust internal communication strategy and further drive strategic alignment across the company.
Here’s some background on the steps we’ve taken, and which methods have worked well for us at Jive…
Question 1: What is the most important information we want our employees to know?
A significant part of our internal communications is ensuring that every employee understands Jive’s critical business strategies. Driving strategic alignment is a key objective for comms because we want the entire organization to understand how our corporate goals map to their day-to-day jobs. This means everything from our company vision to our quarterly performance and specific calls-to-action for all employees:
Our Vision: Where we are going as a company? How are we going to get there?
Company Strategy: What is our strategy? Why is it important? What needs to happen? Who is accountable?
Business Operations: What key business processes do we need to execute and continue to improve? Why have we put these processes and disciplines in place?
People: What are our cultural attributes and values? How are we promoting them and how can each employee take part?
Outside In: What are our customers, analysts, media and investors saying?
Inside Out: How can we help employees engage with outside influencers and evangelize our corporate messages through their own social channels?
Question 2: Where is the communication happening?
We’re constantly monitoring where internal communications is happening on its own, so we can avoid re-engineering what is already working and focus on filling the biggest gaps. Once identified, it was just a matter of ensuring that we achieve the right level of visibility, scalability and sustainability for each of our priority messaging platforms. With the help of our community management team, our intranet analytics and key stakeholders, we created a map of information flow during an initial assessment. It showed us where and how content and communications were tend to be generated within our organization:
Implementing our key communications tactics
Once we established which topics we wanted to focus on, and where communications was already happening, it was a matter of establishing more discipline around maintaining consistency across our leaders and employee base. We quickly identified resources to either create content or facilitate the necessary programs where they weren’t yet as frequent as we wanted. It was then much easier for our comms team to align company all hands, department all hands and quarterly product talks around priority topics. We got our follow-up up communications into consistent formats and methods of delivery (so employees knew what to look out for), and were able to better align consumption experiences and effective cadence.
Brewspace: Jive's Interactive Intranet
Another big part of reinforcing Jive’s priority topics included changing the way these topics were to be displayed on the Brewspace homepage. As such, we configured the “Corporate Update” news stream with executive blog posts, as well as all company strategy updates and information on global business operations. For department or function specific updates, content sources were mapped based on employee’s profile fields so every employee had a personalized homepage experience. While all this content lives in multiple different places throughout the intranet, the Jive communications team made sure that any posts that address these key strategic areas appeared in the real-time news stream on employees’ Brewspace homepage. There, Jive reinforced the most important communications through graphic banners at the top of the page in order to draw more attention to these messages.
Additional Tools to reinforce strategic messaging:
We created “What every Jiver should understand” – a living resource library that curates the most relevant, current content from around the community about our company’s vision, strategies and objectives. Our community management team reviews and updates this document at least once per month to ensure that the latest content is captured. This resource library then is promoted around Brewspace, including within new hire onboarding checklists, manager training materials, our corporate communications portal and community management resources.
Jive also introduced the “In case you missed it” blog series, which is by the community management team. On a weekly basis, the team summarize all entries that touch on the company’s strategic focus areas in a very simple blog post, which is published in a special news stream with an email push notification to all community members.
Culture of Ideation
As part of the internal communications strategy, it was important for Jive to proactively receive employee feedback on critical topics. One of the ongoing programs implemented by communications team is “Idea Jams.” This is where the communication team would partner with relevant business stakeholders and put out a specific call to actions to employees so that they can submit ideas on a particular topic. Ideations are usually wrapped with specific communication and promotion campaign across the company and typically the entire employee base is invited to submit and vote on the best ideas. In 2016, Jive engaged at least 60 percent of employees where hundreds of innovative ideas were generated around revenue generation, cash savings, product integration and culture.
Measuring internal communications
In order to evaluate whether we’re moving the needle on our comms objective to drive strategic alignment throughout Jive, we view Brewspace’s impact metrics for each piece of content that’s showcased in our corporate updates stream, resource library or weekly newsletter. In addition, we complement these quantitative metrics with more quantitative feedback from 1:1 meetings between managers and employees, as well as a periodic survey we conduct to measure the level of comprehension surrounding Jive’s strategic messaging.
By streamlining internal communications and content, Jive achieved:
- One-hundred percent hit on all official strategic content appearing within the top five search results from anywhere on the intranet.
- Over eighty percent direct reach on key CEO communication within the first seven days of publishing.
Sixty-five percent direct reach on all strategic blogs including fifty percent of employees actively engaging with these pieces of content through social interactions such as likes, shares, and comments.
- Eighty-three percent of employees participated in a feedback survey felt that the strategic message delivered by our CEO and Executive staff gave them a better understanding of the company’s strategy and direction.
- Eighty percent of employees participated in a feedback survey felt that management provided them with meaningful and direct answers to the questions asked.
As today’s fragmented communication channels proliferate, and people experience more information fatigue, it is important for those of us in the communications profession to come up with creative and nimble ways to keep our company’s important messages front and center in our organizations. At Jive, we’ve honed in on three critical ingredients that ensuring our organization stays aligned: 1) strong executive sponsorship for our interactive intranet; 2) the ability to sustain nimble processes and 3) a great partnership between community management, HR and corporate communications.
Which communications practices have worked best for your organization?