Imagine a banquet room with people at different tables, each having a conversation about what was displayed on a big projection screen. That projection is your internal communications post, and those tables are separate and disconnected groups within your company. Maybe they are split by region, maybe by language, maybe by role, maybe by another means but the issue is that they are all your intended audience. This separation is creating sub-tribes, and that leads to disfunction.
One of the roles of internal communications is to unify people. When audiences are identified to receive the communication, they should be treated as a single group of people. Maybe some are engaging with the content on the Intranet, some maybe via Microsoft Teams, and others who are in the field via a branded-mobile app, but it’s and should be one conversation.
Many technologies allow you to reach different groups of people, but most of them separate those groups. The Intranet people will have comments that are at their table, Microsoft Teams at their table, and the mobile app people again would be separate. To make matters worse, when I used to work at Microsoft, I saw organizations forced to further separate that by language because of the way SharePoint would handle language variants.
I grew up in Montreal, Canada as an anglophone (i.e. native English speaker). After years away for university and to bootstrap my career, I returned. I loved the ability to have bilingual conversations, me saying whatever I wanted in either English or French and the other person replying in their preferred language. And online, I saw how the English comments were at one table and the French comments effectively at another one. And it did create sub-tribes, and that concretely was a problem.
At Sparrow, we believed it was fundamentally important to recognize that your people are your people. They shouldn’t be split by platform, and they shouldn’t be split by language. If I prefer to write my replies to your French comments in English, and someone else replies in Spanish, we should all be part of the same conversation, there’s a tremendous value of feeling included. This is the essence of what internal communications is about, fostering engagement and connection while informing people of the core message at the same time.
In building a unified culture, we need to make sure that the communication platforms we use bring people together. Having a platform that requires you to separate language, or that has comments, reactions, and upvotes separate depending on how you are accessing them will likely do more harm than good. In addition, your platform needs to give you unified analytics that can also break down what language content is being engaged with as well as from what platform, giving you a real sense of how people are coming together – removing any guesswork on your part.
So, what does that look like from an internal communications perspective?
- One Post, multiple language facets
When a post goes out, it is available in multiple languages, preferably with the ability to show the user the language version that they would prefer to see automatically. Even if the rest of the Intranet is in English, if I want to see Spanish, show me what posts are written in Spanish.
- One Post, all comments/reactions
When a user posts a comment, it should be visible to everyone. I write one in English, you reply in French, Joan replies in Spanish, it’s all there for us all to see. Preferably with the ability to translate them into our language automatically.
- One Post, all platforms
Whether I’m engaging with the post on the Intranet, in Microsoft Teams, on your brandable mobile solution, it should make me feel like whatever platform I’m engaging from is the only platform that exists, a first-class citizen, not an afterthought. Our workforce is spread out across multiple technologies, but our engagement should not feel that way.
- One Post, one set of analytics
All views and engagement for a post should be unified, regardless of where it comes from, but those analytics should also support drill downs by language and platform, allowing me to understand how people are engaging with the content and from where.
In order to have one unified organization, we have to be having one conversation when it comes to important content. Without it, we end up becoming several sub-tribes who end up with their own view and understanding of what is going on and what we are trying to achieve. At Sparrow, we designed our solution with exactly this in mind.
If you’re looking for a platform to help make your life easier and connecting you with all of your workforce, give Sparrow a look. We’ve lived the pain, we understand the hopes, and we built a platform for communication professionals that delivers. From Intranets, to Microsoft Teams, to newsletters, and mobile, we know how important corporate communications is. Sparrow – Built for Communicators. Book a conversation with us today.