Learnings from the 2017 IC Conference Circuit
— December 15th, 2017
As 2018 fast approaches, we're almost upon many people’s favorite time of the year. “Christmas?” you say. Nonsense – it’s time for our Poppulo IC Year In Review blog series, a calendar standout for both young and old. 😉
But seriously, with 2017 almost in the books, it’s a good time to look back at the year that’s almost gone, and reflect upon learnings and takeaways for all of us involved in Internal Communications.
In particular, let’s look at the conference circuit.
From a personal perspective, I had the good fortune to attend a number of industry-leading events, highlights being:
- The Gartner IC Summit:
- The artist formerly known as Melcrum and CEB took on its first Summit under the banner of Gartner and the event did not disappoint - with two days of strategic insight, drawing attendees from across the globe.
- EBM Internal Communications & Evolution of Work Conference
- In its first venture into IC conferences, EBM ran a very engaging event (hosted by the IoIC’s Kate Jones), coupled with their Evolution of Work workstream, with interesting parallels between IC and HR’s roles to digitally enable the modern employee.
- The Poppulo Communicators Forum Series:
- In addition to our annual Customer Conference, this year saw the Poppulo team also take on a more extensive series of IC Leaders events with sold out sessions in London, New York, Amsterdam and Stockholm.
So, what were the recurring themes from this year’s circuit? What’s trending and what’s fading?
Disruption often provokes an unnerved response - don’t rock the status quo. But when it comes to employee communications, technology is good news. Faster, more effective, more measurable, easier, all those good things.
In fact, it was interesting to note the broader suite of technology and software now on offer to the IC market. Some of the tools that generated conversation included Workplace by Facebook, Dynamic Signal as well of course as Poppulo’s internal email and insights platform. With an increasing and improving array of tech and innovation, it certainly highlights what an exciting time it is to be in the IC space.
With a universally recognized understanding of the power of ‘digital’, many companies have set corporate goals to transition towards a Digital Workplace. Okay then. What does that mean? Many of the best speakers I had the benefit of connecting with spoke of the importance to channel the benchmark of digital experiences that employee’s enjoy in their personal lives to the workplace. In other words, how can we make it easier for employees to access the information they need, collaborate with their peers, achieve their goals and do their jobs without the constraints and burden of legacy processes. Communication can take a lead in supporting the transition and bringing employees along the journey. (Speaking of Digital Workplace, earlier this year, we hosted a super webinar, Digital Workplace: How to turn employees into fans, with Jonathan Phillips of ClarityDW, and for a quick taste of what it's like we created these Top Tips).
The Corporate Narrative
Undoubtedly, this has been one of the most prevalent themes on this year’s circuit - the increasing alignment of IC activities to broader company goals. One speaker summarised it nicely by imploring Internal Communicators to ignore the oft-heard business mandate to ‘take this and send it out to everyone’ towards a more holistic approach of distilling through the noise and prioritising the communications activities that align employees around the themes of most importance. Makes sense right? Well it’s a nice segue to the next point, as measurement holds the key to enforcing this.
In a world of ever-present change, it can be a source of comfort that some things have a way of remaining constant year-on-year. In this context, measurement is the one area that appears to have a way of finding its way back to the agenda. And rightly so. Whereas previous years might have seen a longing for a more measurement-focused approach, this year saw some terrific stories of data providing the platform needed for IC to attain senior management recognition.
So how does that link back to Corporate Narrative? The role of IC is not to send out everything to everyone all of the time. Rather, to engage and align employees around what’s important to the business. In the absence of data, IC leaders will descend into opinion-based conversations as opposed to data-based ones. Quite simply, you cannot manage what you do not measure. And so by providing measurement and insight, internal comms can tangibly link its performance and achievements to that of the business.
Move over customer experience & employee experience, what about event experience?
The advent of apps has certainly helped to enhance the delegate experience at events - none more so than the ability to ‘live poll’ and leveraging of gamification to stimulate engagement.
As part of the Gartner Summit, delegates were polled about the technology that has delivered the greatest impact for the IC Leaders in attendance. You can imagine the pride of myself and the rest of the Poppulo team to see this result presented on screen:
A year that we rang in as Newsweaver, concludes with Poppulo’s name up in lights.
Roll on 2018!