The Evolution of Employee Communications at Maximus
— July 28th, 2022
Like any large company with a global footprint, Maximus has faced challenges in reaching and connecting with its workforce of 35,000 employees, dispersed in different countries and markets.
In addition, the company recently underwent a complete rebranding and opened a new headquarters, creating a whole new set of challenges for the comms team.
But Maximus rose to these challenges and innovatively adapted its communications strategies to reach and engage employees all over the world.
Jared Curtis, Director of Corporate Communication at Maximus, has shared with FWI | Poppulo details of how his company evolved its communications to adapt to external and internal changes.
You can read it in full in this executive brief—or read on for the main takeaways.
Reaching Employees in a Meaningful Way
Traditionally, email has been the bread and butter for the comms team at Maximus to ensure employees have access to information they need, when they need it.
But with the shift toward remote and hybrid work, the pandemic fundamentally changed the way companies conduct business and reach employees, leading Maximus to rethink the way it communicates with its workforce.
A key decision taken by the comms team was to evaluate where employees were having conversations related to their work.
It became clear that many employees spent much of their time on platforms such as Microsoft Teams, where hybrid and remote workers can easily interact with office workers.
Maximus then implemented a managers-only Teams channel which made it easier to inform managers of any upcoming changes before they reach the larger workforce.
This armed managers with an early heads-up information they needed so they could answer questions from employees whether on Teams conversations or elsewhere.
Implementing Content Feeds
Another comms initiative taken by Maximus was to partner with FWI |Poppulo to introduce Feeds, for an improved user experience and increased engagement. Feeds integrates with the platforms where employees work—such as Teams and SharePoint.
With Feeds, employees can group content by themes and only subscribe to those that are most relevant to them, creating a more tailored communications experience.
Additionally, Maximus continues to iterate on its comms strategy by integrating new channels and ways of disseminating information to employees that have returned to the office.
For example, Maximus has added digital signage to their new corporate headquarters to better reach in-office employees with more visually engaging content.
This allows them to mix critical company comms with relevant information such as news, weather, and traffic, as well as culture-building content like employee recognition, personal achievements, and more.
The Role of Data and Analytics in Employee Communications
Data plays a huge role in the Maximus communications suite and is critical to measuring comms effectiveness. While measurement and analytics have traditionally been a weak spot for many comms teams, today there’s a clear realization that without data it’s not possible to determine whether comms are working or not.
The team at Maximus has never needed to be convinced of the need for robust data analytics to prove not only the effectiveness of its comms strategy, but, more importantly, its business value.
Through the FWI | Poppulo platform, the comms team collects a variety of data from employee engagement surveys, as well as read rates, click rates, and heat maps, enabling them to audit their comms strategy and get a better idea of where they are and where they want to go.
Maximus also works with FWI | Poppulo to understand what other companies in the market are doing. This helps them make informed decisions on what changes need to be made to be more competitive, plus how they can modify their comms strategy to better align with industry trends.
How to Get Approval for Employee Communications Evolution
The process of evolving your employee comms strategy can be a big financial investment and getting approval for these projects is often challenging. According to Jared Curtis, the first step in kicking off the comms planning process is understanding what initiatives your company has budget allocated to, and how the tools you want to implement can contribute value to those initiatives.
Ultimately, your comms business case must be able to demonstrate a return on investment and add value to the overall business.
Once you find a solution that fits your needs and aligns with company initiatives, you should work with your vendor and other advocates within your organization to build the business case for approval.
Companies such as FWI | Poppulo have access to resources that can help you build out your business case, and, in most cases, they have templates you can use to understand how effective your current comms strategy is. You can check out our comms planning templates here.
Every company has had to adapt to a new way of communicating over the last several years. The Maximus journey is an excellent example of how companies today can leverage an omnichannel communications strategy to reach every worker—regardless of where they work.