Persuade Your Boss To Invest In Digital Internal Communications. Companies that have good internal communications have more engaged staff and they are more productive and profitable. Keeping everyone in the company well-informed is essential to achieve this. For internal communications professionals, this is a no-brainer. After all, we live and breathe good communications practices. A source of frustration for many of us, however, is getting other parts of the company, including senior management, to understand its importance and to invest in it properly.
IT departments may also see the benefits of improving internal communications functionality within their company. After all, they are often some of the most prolific users of internal communications channels to keep the staff updated about software and hardware upgrades, outages, and security issues.
Among the barriers to internal communications being a success cited in the Gatehouse report were:
- internal technology not being fit for purpose in 54% of cases,
- lack of resources or budget in 44% of cases,
- not being involved in strategic business decisions in 43% of cases,
- 30% said they don’t feel supported by leadership.
A key theme emerges here that internal communications professionals not only don’t have the support from management they need to make internal commas a success in their organizations, they also don’t have the right tools to deploy information to ensure that employees are kept in the loop.
Why internal digital communications are needed
Changing technology is shaping the future of internal communications – the staff expects that it will be easy for them to access the info they need and they don’t want to have to waste time looking for it. At the same time, the staff is also fatigued by too much info.
Sending emails and placing info on a company intranet site just doesn’t cut it anymore. Staff is bombarded by so many emails it’s no longer a reliable channel to send important info. Intranet sites are too hard to navigate and most of the staff don’t even bother checking them at all.
Printed material is expensive to produce and becomes obsolete very quickly, and is therefore no longer a reliable or desirable option for effective internal communications.
Digital channels are frequently used in all aspects of life, and internal communicators need to harness this to keep up with what employees want and expect. Modern internal communications software solutions can help to deliver positive results by reaching employees in new and innovative ways.
But if you don’t already have the budget for it, how do you convince your management team to invest in new internal communications software when you’re already struggling to get them to value internal communications in the first place?
How to convince your boss of the value of internal digital communications?
If you’ve identified benefits to using internal digital communications software in your organization and you don’t know where to start when it comes to persuading your boss to authorize the expenditure.
Here are some steps you can take to get their buy-in.
Ideally, you should present this in a formal business case or proposal, but you may also need to meet face-to-face to negotiate the details:
Clearly outline the benefits of improved internal communication.
There is a wealth of information on this, with countless research papers outlining the positive outcomes for businesses that engage in effective internal communications. From increased profits to being more competitive and retaining the top talent in your industry, there are lots of statistics you can find to present to your boss about the importance of this.
Clearly outline your organization’s internal communication needs.
To be convincing and to win your boss over, you will need to demonstrate the specific uses that the software will have in your organization.
You should conduct a thorough needs analysis – engage with colleagues and members of company management to get a solid understanding of the communication needs of the organization.
Clearly outline the ways the software will improve communication.
What are the challenges your company faces with internal communications? What are the issues that you need to address? How will this software help you to overcome these? For example, if you are hoping to invest in alerting software, you can point out how important messages will have a cut-through rate of 100% compared to other channels.
Clearly outline the ways that the software will save money overall.
Poor internal communications could be costing your company a lot of money every year. When people don’t have the information they need, they spend valuable time searching for it. They are also more likely to make mistakes that could be costly.
Systems your organization has in place to communicate, such as email, could also cost the company more money than its worth. For example when employees spend time emailing back and forth or seeking clarification. Or dealing with the sheer volume of emails received every day. Or even when they ignore these emails, that also comes at a cost (as mentioned above: mistakes can be made!)
Similarly, other inefficient systems and processes cost the company in terms of salaries and other resources. This includes inefficient meetings.
If the software you are looking to invest in will overcome these challenges, estimate what the cost savings to the organization will be compared with the price of the software.
Propose to run a pilot project.
Many software vendors will allow you to have a trial to determine if the product fits in your company. This can allow you to run a pilot project where you use the software, and you can determine whether or not the software has helped to improve internal communications.
Even if you aren’t able to try before you buy, proposing a pilot program for a short period to gather results (say six to 12 months) might be enough to get your boss over the line if they are only committing to a smaller budget initially.
Demonstrate how improved internal communications aligns with your company goals.
Look at your company’s corporate plan. What improved internal communication outcomes can you align to your vision, mission, objectives, and goals?
What are other companies in your industry doing in this space? What is the best practice? How can your internal communications help to position your company as a leader in your industry?
Internal communication should never be an afterthought or something on a checklist: it should be firmly embedded as a part of your company’s business model.