WEDNESDAY 3 JUL 2024 5:10 PM


Shoshana Whybrow, vice president of corporate affairs at Sage, considers how to apply human creativity when analysing data.

In the fast-paced world of internal communication, where information overload is a constant challenge, the importance of insight and data cannot be overstated. As professionals, it's vital that we utilise these tools to inform how we engage and communicate with our colleagues, especially in high-pressure, content-rich environments.

Gone are the days of relying solely on gut feelings or assumptions about what our employees need to know or how they prefer to receive information. In today's landscape, data-driven decisions reign supreme. By tapping into insights gathered from various sources such as surveys, feedback mechanisms, and analytics, we can tailor our communication strategies to be more effective and impactful.

But it's not just about crunching numbers; it's about understanding the human element behind the data. What are our employees' preferences? What channels do they prefer for receiving information? This is where an omni-channel approach comes into play.

Think about it: outside of work, we have the luxury of choosing how we receive information and enjoy content. We pick up our smartphones for news updates, check social media for updates from friends, listen to podcasts on our commute home, and watch what we want from a myriad of streaming platforms. Why should it be any different internally?

By embracing an omni-channel approach that listens to and respects our audience's preferences, we can create a more inclusive and engaging communication experience. Whether it's through email, MS Teams, Slack, intranet, or face-to-face meetings, providing options ensures that everyone feels heard and valued.

Adopting an omni-channel strategy means more than just diversifying communication platforms. It involves leveraging emerging technologies like cloud tech, AI, and big data analytics, which are especially crucial given the rise of hybrid and remote work models. Effective internal communication now means connecting employees with company goals, fostering engagement, and ensuring transparency across all levels of the organisation​.

To illustrate, consider how Tesco in the UK engages its frontline workforce. By using data-driven insights and storytelling, Tesco ensures that all employees, regardless of their location or role, are aligned with the company’s goals and values. Similarly, at Sage, where I currently work, we connect colleagues across the globe through a blend of data insights, creative communication, and compelling stories. This mix is vital in creating a cohesive and motivated workforce that feels connected and informed.

However, in our quest to harness data and technology, we must not overlook the power of great storytelling. In today's world, where buzzwords come and go, storytelling remains a timeless skill and tool in effective communication. While the term may be overly used, its essence is undeniable. Storytelling captures attention, creates emotional connections, and makes information memorable. Weaving narratives into our communications enhances understanding and engagement.

Storytelling in internal communications can transform mundane updates into compelling narratives that resonate with employees. For instance, sharing success stories that highlight employee achievements or company milestones can foster a sense of pride and connection within the organization. These narratives not only inform but also inspire and motivate, creating a more engaged and enthusiastic workforce.

As we move forward, it’s crucial to seamlessly integrate the art of storytelling alongside our data-driven strategies. This integration ensures that our communications are not only informed by insights and data but also enriched with narratives that engage and connect with our audience on a deeper level.

In conclusion, driving engagement in internal communications requires a balanced approach that harnesses the power of data and insights while not forgetting the timeless power of storytelling. By adopting an omni-channel strategy and leveraging the emotional appeal of stories, we can create a more effective, inclusive, and engaging communication environment in the workplace.