How Internal Comms Can Gain Executive Buy-in with Data-Backed Communications

How Internal Communications Can Gain Executive Buy-in with Data

As an internal communicator, you know how tricky it can be to gain executive buy-in to your plans, programs, and recommendations. You might know there is a better way, but the executive wants it their way. The key to gaining buy-in, not to mention higher budgets for your team, is having the data to back it up. Here are a few ways to demonstrate the value of internal communications.

Know The Empirical Value of Internal Communications

It can be difficult to articulate the value of internal communications, especially to numbers-focused execs who view creative work as decoration and wordcraft as fluff. Fortunately, scientific research proves the value of employee communications. Here are a few key studies and findings you can keep in your back pocket for important meetings, or use to inform a budget presentation.

When Numbers Speak Louder Than Words

Executives and leaders are numbers focused, and while some recognize the value of communications and know good campaigns from bad ones, the net results matter.

  1. Connect communications to company initiatives. The best way to show leadership the value of communications is to explicitly connect that work to achieving broader company initiatives. Two top priorities for most organizations are productivity and employee retention, and both of these have clearly defined financial measures. What part did your communications play in those results? If productivity went up (or down) in specific business units, what communications were different? Map your channels, content programs, and distributions as they relate or support these initiatives along a visual quarterly timeline.
  2. Help executives communicate more effectively. Today, most executives have to maintain a balanced internal and external focus. Understandably, they want leadership teams and front-line managers to be engaged and they want people to understand their plans. How can you help them communicate more effectively — and how can you show them quantifiable metrics like readership rates, engagement, or sentiment? Can you A/B test key messages before they have to deliver them? Can you help them set up their Microsoft Teams studio with better lighting and backgrounds? Can you run quick feedback surveys and help them adjust on the fly? When you can help them directly and show results, the quicker they will recognize the value of all your work.
  3. Tie communications metrics to financial results. When running your internal employee communications programs, don’t neglect the reach, readership, and engagement metrics. These numbers highlight your more successful programs and channels. Now let’s go back to example one, and add these to our timeline, along with the quarterly financial results. When launching new campaigns or programs, be sure to get a before and after measurement. You will show the productivity numbers at the beginning and end of a quarter, along with the list of related communications and their own results. This format provides for a financially focused communications framework, which will show communications contribution to the financial result, essentially providing an ROI which most executives will understand and value.

If you want to gain more executive buy-in and support — and maybe a higher budget for your team — start with a quick review of empirical data. Then tie your internal communications efforts to company initiatives and financial results. That, plus providing advice that enables executives to improve communications with management and employee communities, is the winning formula.

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