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The Internal Communications ideas that win awards

Internal Communications

The Internal Communications ideas that win awards

Jonathan Davies


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6 mins read

Tue, Aug 13, '19  

Everybody loves an awards get-together: the excuse to get your posh on, wear a monkey suit, sit awkwardly with colleagues or clients through a whole three-course dinner and then, just as you’re either falling asleep or on the verge of pushing past pleasantly tipsy, the actual awards are announced in a flurry of activity by the “celebrity” host. 

If you’re up for an Internal Communications award, this is either the best or the worst bit depending on whose name is announced for your category. If you’re not up for one, though…

Yeah, awards can be tedious if you’re not in the mix, but with the number of Internal Communications awards growing every year, we thought it was time to help our readers to get the best chance of standing on that podium. After all, you’ve got to be in it to win it, right? And at the very least, those lucky enough to be nominated are showing how they’ve harnessed Internal Communications best practices — something we can all learn from.

Awards are a great way to get Internal Communications ideas…

The proliferation of awards these days is a great way to steal ideas. Well, let’s be more politically correct there: they are a great way to be inspired by Internal Communications ideas, to see how others are making the most of their limited resources to deliver truly outstanding campaigns and Internal Communications methods that influence employee behavior in the best ways. 

Let’s say your recent survey results have indicated a need for a staff magazine of some description, or maybe the Head of IT has bought into a new intranet platform and the Internal Communications team must now get people to use it. The options for both are endless, but to get money to enhance engagement you will need to build a business case to give to senior leaders, a way to convince them to give you support for the strategy, plan or campaign. The successes of others in similar areas can help to illustrate your business case with successful real-world examples to help persuade the money-holders to take a chance.

...and to get kudos for your own Internal Communications methods

But of course, we all want that shiny trophy at the end of the day. Once you’ve launched and actioned your totally amazing Internal Communications ideas, make sure you keep track of successes so that you can write a top-notch awards application. 

Getting that piece of silverware (or certificate — we’re not fussy) for the shelf not only gives you the warm and fuzzies on the night, but it can also be the persuasion factor for more when it comes to budget time. If you can prove your Internal Communications are not only working in terms of internal metrics, but that they’re also industry-leading and bring (good) external attention to the organization. Suddenly, senior leadership will be more willing to see what you can do with more money, a bigger team, better resources. That award could be your ticket to even better Internal Communications ideas being sent out into the world, and better employee engagement.

What are Internal Communications awards judges looking for?

So we all want the limelight, the kudos, the possibility of more resources — but how can you get the attention of those all-important Internal Communications specialists that judge these awards, and make sure it’s you who stands out for all the right reasons?

There’s a pretty simple formula here, really: 

Clear purpose + link to strategy + strong positive metrics = Award

Maybe that’s over-simplifying. Let’s put it this way: 

  • You need to understand what you’re trying to achieve.

  • You need to set clear objectives or KPIs so you know if you’ve been successful.

  • You need to understand your audience and how best to reach them.

  • You need to demonstrate this wasn’t a Random Act of Communications — that it links to both the Internal Communications strategy and the overarching business strategy.

  • You need to demonstrate that it positively influenced employee behavior in some way.

  • You need to have clear metrics that link to the original KPIs.

  • And, importantly, it needs to have been a successful Internal Communications method!

Sarah Browning, people comms consultant and member of Browning York, often acts as an awards judge, and she got in touch on Twitter to explain her thinking when it comes to Internal Communications awards.

“I look for a clear purpose/objectives combined with a good understanding of your audience(s). Without these you are only guessing at which tactics might work,” she said.

“A particular campaign that stands out is the Meningitis Research Foundation campaign which won at the Third Sector Excellence Awards last year. They had the things I've mentioned, plus evidence that behavior had changed, and they had literally saved lives as a result!”

So what tools do you need to create an award-winning campaign? While tech platforms do play a role in Internal Communications strategy, Browning warns to not chase the shiny objects like apps and ebooks just because you can: “In my opinion, technology only helps if you've chosen it for the right reasons and not just because you 'should' or because it's a shiny new thing.”

“My advice is to make it clear that you (individual, team, organization) care about genuine, effective communication. Show your passion and drive for successful communication!”

Launching award-worthy Internal Communications ideas 

Creating award-winning Internal Communications methods is actually no different to create run-of-the-mill Internal Communications methods — the difference is in the research and planning. To get there, follow these steps:

  • 1. Analyze the current state: As with anything, you need a benchmark before you can start any new Internal Communications methods. Analyze the current state and identify gaps in the strategy that need attention; then move to step two to start planning how you’ll address that gap.

  • 2. Link your Internal Communications ideas back to the strategy: Linking to both your objectives as an Internal Communications team, and the business’s own strategy, will help to demonstrate you are helping the business to grow, be more efficient, hit those targets, and so on. It’s not just about an isolated tactic; it’s part of a bigger picture.

  • 3. Design your action plan: Make it manageable and grounded in the real-world — don’t shoot for the sky just to get an award. Internal Communications awards judges don’t care about glitter; they want to see real change, regardless of how ugly it is. Consider how you can move the needle internally, even if that needle is only moving your Internal Communications methods from 1950 to 1975.

    4. How will you measure success? Remember, the judges won’t look twice at your entry unless you have solid metrics to back it up — that means more than likes and page views. Go beyond into how you’ve changed behavior with your Internal Communications methods.

  • 5. Keep track of everything: Trying to retrospectively get analytics and data can be a pain in the behind and you might forget that great piece of anecdotal feedback that would be the killer point, so make sure you track and record your successes as you go. Having one eye on an award entry from the very beginning will help ensure you collect the sort of data that will swing a judging panel. 

What’s all this got to do with Google Workspace intranet?

Yes, all of this is brilliant — we all love to see our work up in lights — but why is a company that makes Google Workspace technology talking to you about Internal Communications awards? Well, besides the fact we want to see everybody be the best they can, we also know the power of Google’s collaboration and communication tools to really impact a business. 

In Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) we look at three companies that have had a real impact on employee behavior through deploying and developing a Google intranet:

Any of these Internal Communications best practices would be sure to grab the attention of awards judges, especially as the digital workplace and increasing number of remote workers is proving a challenge for Internal Communications methods. So when you’re considering your next strategy move, consider how technology like Google’s collaboration tools could enhance your employee experience — and maybe bring you that trophy for the cabinet.