Change comms impacts positively on business

In a special Gorkana webinar this week, Ketchum directors David Rockland and Kieran Colville explained how the agency helps businesses change, how it measures change communication effectively and, ultimately, how change communication can boost the bottom line for its clients.

To create effective change communication, Rockland and Colville insist it is important to set clear goals, pay attention to context and use “predictive analysis” to help achieve results internally. These ideas are as important as they are in external comms and are needed to help business leaders tackle change within a company as it grows.

In the webinar, which was moderated by Jeremy Thompson, Managing Director of Cision EMEA, Rockland and Colville explained how they based their technique for successful change communications on the seven Barcelona principles of communication, which – as issued by AMEC – is a set of voluntary guidelines established by the PR industry to help agencies and brands measure the true effectiveness of PR campaigns.

Thompson introduced the discussion by explaining how communicating to diverse groups and applying best practice is difficult due to the complexity of information we have available today. Data on communications effectiveness and the impact on engagement is vital to help improve how leaders and communications functions connect with employees through change, he added.

Three of the key elements of successful change communications discussed in the webinar include:

  • Clear goals are an essential starting point

Rockland tells us that ‘well-written goals’ were an essential element in the success of Ketchum’s project with BIG4, an organisation that is made up of four large worldwide accounting firms.

Once BIG4 defined its goal to increase effectiveness of internal communications, it was able to set quantifiable metrics to improve employee engagement. The outcome was not only financial, but it increased “employee intent to stay” at the company.

  • External influences and environments need to be considered when evaluating progress

One of the Barcelona principles suggests social media should be measured consistently alongside traditional media.

Ketchum used this as a guide for internal comms on various projects. It is possible to sensitively monitor social media to see how employees are feeling, or what they are saying, while still protecting privacy.

Colville told Gorkana that employee comms usually only looks internally, but the reality is there is an external environment that has just as much impact on engagement and attitudes.

  • Data should be used to create insight and guide strategy

Rockland and Colville say that the collection of data is no longer the problem, but the challenge is how this data is used to guide strategy and gain insight to create an environment where companies can predict employee reaction to change.

Rockland said: “Data is not particularly important in itself. It is useless unless you analyse it, whether in a robust or simple way to gain insight. It will guide your strategy and what you are going to do.”

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