When Linda Woodcraft joined the University of Strathclyde, she was the sole person responsible for internal communications for the entire university. Although the university had three other team members responsible for external communication, Head of Internal Communications was a new role.
Before Linda joined, the only existing channel was an email that went out every Thursday. This email contained some helpful information for staff, such as updates on parking permits, but it didn’t contain larger scale university news. There was no real strategy behind it, and it was also time-consuming to put together.
When I first joined, there were no stories about our research, updates about funding, or messages from the president. We don’t have an intranet either, so our staff wasn’t getting updates.
Another challenge was that Linda didn’t have insight into employee engagement. Because the strategy was one email sent via Outlook, leaders didn’t have insight into whether these messages were read by staff members.
Before Linda joined the University of Strathclyde, she’d worked at a bank with a highly developed and robust communications strategy. The bank used Poppulo, so Linda knew how a powerful internal communications tool could boost employee engagement.
Linda’s internal communications plan, which included the use of Poppulo, had to go through an intensive approval process, especially since the University was working with a tight budget. Team members worried about data collection and underestimated how long it would take to implement the tool.
I knew that Poppulo would transform our internal communications, and I don’t use the word transform very often. But in this case, Poppulo was extremely transformative.
Thankfully, Linda forged ahead and was able to implement Poppulo as the internal communications tool at University of Strathclyde. She knew that implementing Poppulo would be transformative for the university. She began by sending out a weekly newsletter, as well as a daily buzz email.
After I sent out our first email newsletter using Poppulo, people called me and told me how amazing it was. The emails are easy to read, easy to navigate, and are ultimately easy to get information from.
Implementing Poppulo has had stunning results for Linda and her team, especially in light of the COVID-19 crisis where internal communications are more important than ever. Here are a few of the impressive results the University of Strathclyde received thanks to Poppulo:
- Unifying the team. Many of the staff members at University of Strathclyde communicate with their own small departments rather than the university as a whole. By implementing Poppulo, the university was able to put everyone together under the same umbrella.
- Insights into engagement. Before Poppulo, Linda had no way to see how the team was engaging with internal communications. After Poppulo, Linda was able to share key metrics – such as email open rates and click through rates – with leadership. Leaders were able to understand whether their staff were receiving and engaging with messages.
- Ability to respond in a crisis. Linda implemented Poppulo on January 30, 2019, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the staff to work from home. Throughout the pandemic, the university leveraged Poppulo to give updates and provide resources to the staff.
- Time savings. Linda is a team of one with many responsibilities, so the ability to easily create emails with Poppulo’s drag-and-drop builder is a huge time-saver. Rather than spend loads of time preparing a newsletter, Linda’s time is freed up to focus on other employee engagement activities.
COVID-19 has been a horrible backdrop, but it’s
given us an opportunity to shine in our internal communications. Right now, internal communications is a necessity for the university and our standards are high.
- Metrics matter. Before Poppulo, the University of Strathclyde had almost no data for assessing their internal communications strategy. The team didn’t know whether emails were opened or read. According to Linda, executives at the university have become incredibly invested in the data they get from Poppulo. This data allows them to adjust their strategy, keep a pulse on what staff is thinking, and ultimately build a better internal communications program.
- A crisis will test your internal communications tool. No one expected the COVID-19 pandemic to change the way we work and communicate. But it certainly has. Now, more than ever, workplaces need internal communications tools that keep their staff informed. When a crisis came to the University of Strathclyde, it was clear that Linda could handle communications using Poppulo.
- A unified team is a better team. Workplace culture matters a lot. It keeps people motivated and productive. It retains them. Without an internal communications strategy, it’s hard to unify the team in a meaningful way. By creating a strategy and finding the right internal communication tools, you can work to bring your team together.