ROI + COVID = A Tipping Point for Internal Communications
I recently served on two sessions as part of the 7th Annual Strategic Internal Communication conference by ALI. The first was a workshop on the Who, What, When and How of ROI for Internal Communicators.
I’ve been deeply immersed in the world of enterprise internal communications for the past five years. I’ve been preaching the value of ROI (return on investment) as a lever to elevate the role of internal communications from being tactical to being strategic.
You can check out the presentation here:
Also, being a math nerd, I’ve created an easy-to-use spreadsheet to help you calculate ROI on your upcoming projects and made that available on Internal Comms Pro.
COVID-19 and Internal Communications
On the second day, I served on a panel with the topic being “The Future of Work Post-COVID,” the question was asked, “What’s one takeaway from COVID that would benefit communicators?”
Many great answers from the panelists ranging from “more efficient work strategies” to “collaboration tools.” I had a different take. I speak with internal communication practitioners in all industries and companies of all sizes. There is a common theme I’m seeing emerge since March – how they’re perceived within their respective organizations have changed.
We’re in uncharted waters, and leadership is looking to IC for strategic guidance.
So my response to the panel question was (and I’m paraphrasing), “I’m hopeful that communicators will maintain their strategic position within their organization even after the pandemic is a history lesson for future generations. I do not want to see communicators relegated to once again being tactical post-COVID or whenever we reach our new normal.”
The Tipping Point for Internal Communicators
Now we’re to the tipping point part of the formula. Before we get into that, let’s go back in time to the year 2000 and see what’s going on in marketing. Prior to 2000, marketing (and no offense to my marketing friends) wasn’t taken seriously.
Why? It wasn’t easy to measure. Billboard ads, print ads, TV ads, and radio ads – I can see Don Draper sipping an Old Fashioned right now.
But then this thing called the Internet really started to take off and with it came measurement. Clicks. Actionable insights. ROI.
Guess whose role just got elevated within the company? That’s right, our friends in marketing. There weren’t CMOs prior, and now you’re not a real company without one.
The internet elevated the role of an entire discipline. We have history repeating itself, and COVID has elevated the role of the whole discipline. Here’s the problem, though – unlike the internet, COVID will (hopefully, fingers crossed) go away.
I believe that savvy internal communicators will take their newfound strategic role and hold on tightly to it using ROI.
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