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Case study: How Aon overcame information overload using smart email

Emma HanleyEmma Hanley·

When the Director of Global Internal Communications, Margaret Barrett conducted an Internal Communication audit at Aon plc, she did so to baseline activities within the department to gain a 360 degree view of all information and interactions between the Internal Communication function and employees. Aon currently employs in excess of 69,000 employees in more than 500 offices across 120 countries. The audit included the use of surveying and focus groups involving a random sampling of employees from across the entire organization – by business units and regions.

The audit highlighted inconsistent messaging and internal branding, as well as disengagement issues stemming from information overload. These issues were negatively impacting the ability of the internal communicators to achieve their strategic goals and objectives.

Digging deeper into each channel, the audit brought to light problems relating to the company’s print magazine. Readership was low, employees deemed it of little value, its distribution was not perceived as timely and, readership and distribution gaps existed.

The audit also laid out issues concerning the large volume of emails sent by the firm. This included more than one hundred newsletters – in varied frequencies and formats – delivered across numerous business units and regions.

A personalized email newsletter containing targeted content is now sent to each employee.

Aon turned this knowledge and organization-wide view of their communications into a plan with one strategic goal – ‘Ensure employees have the information they need to carry out their work in a way that is consistent with the company’s strategic goals’.

To this end Margaret and her team worked to align their global internal communication plan. A detailed tactical plan was created and the internal communicators set about streamlining email and newsletter communications to reduce information overload and increasing the reach and engagement of company messages.

The function implemented a formal sign-off process to manage information flow. A responsive template was designed to increase personalization and targeted content based on business unit and region to make the content relevant to each employee.

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