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Poppulo
Customer Story

Creating a Better Employee Experience and Delivering Business Value at National Grid

Advanced analytics and targeted communications are key to achieving company goals

Creating a Better Employee Experience and Delivering Business Value at National Grid

About the organization

National Grid is an energy company operating in the UK and US. It delivers electricity and gas safely, reliably, and efficiently to the customers and communities it serves—while working towards a clean energy future.

Location

Global

Industry

Energy

Nº of Employees

35000 +

Introduction:

National Grid is a progressive energy organization with electricity and gas operations in the UK and US. It has over 35,000 employees, almost half of whom are operational and field workers.

The company’s field force is geographically dispersed and works in a range of different environments—from electricity pylons and wind turbines to underground tunnels and liquified natural gas depots. Most roles at its US and UK offices are now hybrid, and it also has contact centers and control room staff.

The diverse nature of the company’s workforce across employee functions, business units, and geographies presents particular challenges for the company’s internal communications team. 

The Challenges:

National Grid’s Colleague Communications and Engagement team is highly focused on ensuring that internal comms are aligned with company goals and deliver business outcomes. Because of this, Sally Jackson, Senior Manager, Content and Channels, and her team set out the following priorities:

  • Improve the colleague experience by modernizing and simplifying communication channels
  • Reduce communications noise and overload through comms platforms capable of delivering targeted and personalized content
  • Utilize advanced analytics to derive important insights into comms performance and colleague preferences and behaviors
  • Capitalize on these insights to ensure alignment with performance measures and business strategy

The Solution:

Prior to having Poppulo Harmony as its platform for company email and newsletters, the National Grid comms and engagement team could not deliver on the priorities outlined above and was, as a result, inadequately resourced to enable the company to deliver key business goals.

Sally and her team could not target email communications effectively and lacked the data and analytics to know which communications were working and which weren’t.

Additionally, the inability to target content for different audiences meant that people were receiving information via email not relevant to them or their roles, leading to information overload for colleagues—which often turns people off company communications instead of encouraging them to tune in.

Getting Poppulo Harmony as their comms platform proved to be a game-changer and revolutionized National Grid’s communications.

Poppulo has changed our lives. We can get the right information to the right people when they need it, we know what’s working and what’s not, and we have the analytics to derive really important insights into the behaviors and preferences of our colleagues. — Sally Jackson, Senior Manager of Content and Channels, National Grid.

"It also gives our business stakeholders reassurance that we are delivering the right message to the right people at the right time, has added additional rigor to processes, and enhanced the professionalism and consistency of email and newsletter communications delivered. This enables us to be far more effective in what we do and support business outcomes," said Sally.

The Results:

The Poppulo Harmony platform plays an integral part in building and implementing a communication strategy based on National Grid’s overarching company strategy and performance measures to achieve company goals.

Key Poppulo Impacts at National Grid:

  • Superior communication performance insights through advanced analytics
  • Significant time-saving—up to 50%—in the production of quarterly reports
  • Increased employee engagement in company values campaigns
  • Greater comms relevancy with targeted, personalized content for specific employee audiences

A typical example of how Poppulo enables the National Grid internal comms team to achieve company goals is their use of the platform to promote and achieve employee engagement with newly introduced values. “These underpin how we work every day and deliver our strategy,” said Sally. 

“Over the last two years we introduced a new value and have three company values in place: Find a Better Way, Do the Right Thing, and Make it Happen. We used Poppulo Harmony to encourage colleagues to participate in the ‘living our values' peer recognition campaign and to recognize those nominated with personalized messages. We got hundreds of nominations the first year and almost 1,000 teams and individuals were recognized in the second year,” she said. 

In addition to being able to use Poppulo analytics to demonstrate reach and involvement in the campaign, Sally and her team also saw a correlated improvement in values-related questions in their engagement survey.

As a result, National Grid’s values were among the top 20 conversation topics on its social channels for a sustained period, and values-related questions recorded a 79% positive response rate in the annual survey, up 2% from the previous year.

Modernizing National Grid’s comms channels has supercharged the impact of its weekly global news roundup, with the launch of Grid:news using Poppulo Harmony targeting to create a single global newsletter with a local feel, establishing it as a key trusted source of company information for colleagues.

It is part of the global channel mix that includes its intranet, Grid:home; its leadership emails, called Grid:updates, and a number of other channels, including an internal social network, webcasts and townhalls, and a growing digital signage channel. 

The ability to segment and target Grid:news content through Poppulo Harmony for many different audiences, greatly improving relevance and reducing noise, and creating a local connection and feel for colleagues, played a critical role in establishing the channel as a trusted source of information.

Additionally, Sally and the comms team use a “push” and “pull” comms strategy for maximum effectiveness. With “push” targeting and personalization, content is selected for specific audience groups, giving them relevant content and reducing noise.

The “push” content suite includes:

  • Weekly news roundup emails
  • Colleague announcement emails
  • Intranet (targeted home pages and news, menus, and page variants)
  • Viva Engage home feed and announcements
  • Digital signage at specific locations
  • More localized content on channels

The “pull” customization has the benefit of allowing audiences to select the content that interests them. It includes:

  • Intranet apps and tools shortcuts on the homepage
  • Intranet news which can be personalized by selecting preferred topics to follow
  • Viva Engage communities, followers, and topics

The combined “push” and “pull” comms strategy has proved highly effective for National Grid. Personalization delivers on the desire of employees for more control over the company information they receive and the need to reduce information overload, while at the same time delivering the consumer-grade experience employees expect and demand today.

"We cannot control or prevent all the “noise”, but we can allow colleagues greater control over what they see and interact with. With Poppulo, we can help draw out the most important things for our people, and we can use the platform’s analytics to understand what they are interested in, which in turn informs our future content targeting decisions and content design," said Sally.

Poppulo Analytics: Better Insights for a More Effective Strategy and Time-Saving

Poppulo’s Advanced Analytics also plays a critical role in measuring the performance of National Grid’s strategic group-wide campaigns, with the executive leadership receiving regular performance updates throughout the year. 

Poppulo’s Advanced Analytics have been incredibly useful in helping us shape and refine our communications strategy, understand where to focus resources, and even underpin business cases we make for investment in improving our communications channels. — Sally Jackson, Senior Manager of Content and Channels, National Grid.

"The Advanced Analytics have saved our communications team time in analyzing channel performance and allows us to focus more on the so-what element of measurement, providing insights and recommendations that shape our communications strategy, and help the business understand where to focus resources," said Sally.

The team uses topics to measure the reach and impact of email-based communications and how they perform against each other and alongside other content and campaigns. Quantitative metrics from Poppulo and other channels are combined with data from colleague engagement surveys and focus groups to arm the comms team to make any necessary campaign adjustments to achieve company goals.

The team also uses this data to help with business stakeholder conversations—to help build an understanding of what tactics work best for different types of content and audiences and assist with decision-making and planning.

For example, the team has used data to demonstrate that alongside colleagues telling the business less is more, the data also confirms this, with higher volumes of content leading to lower average engagement in that content. And that Friday afternoon is generally not a good time to send company emails, even if that’s when a stakeholder has time to write a message!

"We have been working with Poppulo for a number of years now, and the comments from across our team are that the tool works really well and provides great insights into how colleagues interact with content and channels,” said Sally.

We find the newsletter targeting allows us to bring our global and local strategy to life and balance local content and feel with a single newsletter that brings different parts of the organization together in a way we would not have been able to achieve otherwise. The advanced analytics are also a fantastic resource, and we use them to feed into our strategic reporting — Sally Jackson.

Advanced analytics has transformed National Grid’s ability to measure the performance of its communications, the time it takes to do so, and the speed at which it can then act on the insights learned. The comms team went from not being able to measure a channel, to being able to track reach but having limited time to produce reports or do anything with the data, to now being able to quickly produce reports that include insights and recommendations—and having the time to do that, and take action on those insights.

“We have cut the time in half that it takes to produce our quarterly reports, and we have increased the insights and recommendations that we include in the reports. Simplifying the creation of one quarterly dashboard saves us approximately 45 hours a year. Poppulo, as one of our key data sources, has contributed to that. Before, it would have taken us two days to pull together data across all our channels for a specific company-wide campaign and analyze it. Now, thanks to Advanced Analytics, we can do that in a few hours,” said Sally.

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