While it has never been easy to reach and engage employees, the challenge is greater than ever as workplaces are evolving. Many organizations are spread out—across a region, country, or the globe. Most have employees doing a variety of jobs, from office work at a desk to non-desk work in industries like transportation, retail, and manufacturing. And almost every organization is multi-generational, with a mix of new hires in their early 20s and experienced hands in their 60s (or even 70s) who are delaying retirement.
This diversity makes it difficult to communicate in a singular way that meets all employees’ preferences and needs. That’s why a multi-faceted approach that takes different styles and methods into account is needed. And an approach that includes digital innovations will put organizations on the road to success, especially with an increasing number of millennial workers entering the workforce.
Recently, Alison Davis, CEO of Davis & Company, and Frank Wolf, Staffbase CMO & co-founder, shared strategies for bridging the gap to communicate with a global and multi-generational workforce. They discussed changes in the workplace and how the digital workplace has developed, along with the effects of workplace change on employers and employees.
There were six content areas covered during the event:
- How to analyze demographic data to develop employee profiles
- How to assess employee needs and preferences
- How to develop content that appeals to a wide range of employees
- How to use a mix of methods—from low-tech to the latest apps—to deliver information when, how, and where employees need it
- Why it’s important to provide leaders and managers with ways to connect to their team members
- How and why to measure the effectiveness of your efforts
Carla: Welcome to our Staffbase webinar on Bridging the Communication Gap with your global, multi-generational workforce. We are joined by Alison Davis of Davis & Company who helps all kinds of clients connect with their workforce, and we are also joined by Frank Wolf, the CMO and co-founder of Staffbase. He has experience internally working on intranets, and helping employers to connect with their workforce. We’ve been talking to Frank and Alison about the challenges that communication professionals experience as they try to bridge this gap with global and multi-generational workers.
I think that both of them just have great expertise and experiences to share with us. And we wanted to share those with all of you who follow us, and are on this journey to increase those connections with workers. I’ll throw it over to you and Frank and Alison. As we get going, feel free to chat and ask questions.
Alison: Great, thank you very much, Carla, and thank you all for joining Frank and me today. If you’ve been listening for a few minutes, we started with a little conversation about the World Cup, which is totally appropriate for our session today. Because most of the organizations that we work with today really have some challenges because their workforce is so diverse. And we will get into a little bit of what exactly is going on, what some of the statistics are, but let’s just talk first about how we’re going to do today’s session.
We’re gonna talk about our objectives. As I said, we’ll cover the workforce challenges that we’re facing today. We will give you some ideas for engaging the workforce. And then as Carla said, we would be happy to take your questions at any point, you can just type them into the chat. But we’ll also have a Q&A at the end of our session.
So we have an opportunity for you to participate right up front. We’re going to have a poll in a moment, so that’s where you will be able to tell us what’s going on with you. Throughout, Frank and I will share our perspectives, our advice, and our experience. And please, feel free to be as specific as you want to be on questions. This is a great opportunity for you to pick our brains, especially as it pertains to some challenges that you’re facing in terms of engaging a very diverse workforce.
When Frank and I were working together to put this session together, we really wanted to focus on two objectives: to create understanding of how the workforce is changing, which I’m sure you know, but we thought it would be helpful for you to get some perspective. And then we want to be as specific as possible as I mentioned so that you can have some techniques. I always think when I go to a webinar, I really want to come away with a couple of things that I can put into action immediately. And so that’s definitely what we’re trying to do here, give you some very specific ideas that you can put into use tomorrow, next week, whenever.
We have a poll which asks you about what’s going on with your organization in terms of which dynamic is most challenging. It’s a multiple choice, and I know you’re gonna think, “Well I have more… I wanna answer all of the above.” We didn’t give you that option because we really want you to choose the one that first comes to mind as being the most challenging when you think about your workforce. So we’ll give you a second to fill out our first survey, and then we have a second one coming up.
Carla: Okay. Let’s see if we can end the voting now, and we can see those results.
Alison: So, what do you think, Frank? The number one result is “Multiple generations.”
Frank: That’s a perfect answer.
Alison: Cool. Locations, too, is something I hear more and more from our clients, and that location can be actual physical organizational locations or it can be simply that people are working remotely as they do more. We have remote workers on the list, and obviously, we have diversity. Cool. So let’s look at our second challenge if we can move to the second quick poll, I encourage everyone to take it.
So what is the issue that you most need to address or that you’d really like us to address today? Employers don’t pay enough attention; they don’t understand what they’re communicating; or they report that communication doesn’t meet their needs. Again, we’re forcing you to pick one, which I know is always a little difficult, but what’s the one that really comes to mind as your biggest challenge? Again, we’ll give you a few minutes to vote.
Carla: Right, drum roll in the background.
Frank: So, Alison, do you have a guess?
Alison: No, this is like a game. Which one do you pick?
Frank: Well, we often hear people say, “I don’t get enough and I get too much,” that drives many communicators crazy. So between the overwhelmed employee and the under-served employee they say, “What should I do?” right? I’m right in the middle.
Alison: Yes, and often the overwhelmed employee and the under-served employee is actually the same employee. Because they’re getting too much of what they don’t want and not enough of what they need.
Alison: We’re both wrong! That’s cool. Stomp the experts. “I don’t pay enough attention,” is something I do hear a lot. I especially hear it from human resources people, who get very frustrated because they say, “We know employees want information about their pay, their benefits, their performance management. And yet when we provide that information, they don’t pay enough attention.” And so that frustration is something I certainly hear a lot as well.
Okay, so now we’re gonna build upon that, and we’re gonna share a little bit of information about what’s going on. And as I said, you all know this, so it won’t be a surprise, but we’re gonna talk about two challenges. I’m gonna talk a little bit about diversity and then Frank is gonna talk about the war for talent. So, again, this will probably will be familiar to you that by 2025 millennials will actually equal 75% of the workforce. They’re currently still already the largest generation in the workforce.
But the interesting other part of this is that people are hanging around in the workforce longer. There’s some economic reasons for that, and good health is another reason that people stay in the workforce longer. A sense of purpose is a reason that people stay in the workforce longer, and also flexibility. So you see here that the number of older people in the labor force, and we’ve just given you some statistics from U.S., but it’s true in many other parts of the world as well. So what you have is more generations in the workforce, which means there’s bigger differences between the very youngest junior members and people who have been alive a long time.
One of our questions was about remote workers, and certainly, we see that increasingly year after year. In terms of ethnic diversity, we have Hispanics making up 20% of the workforce by 2024, and people of color, including Hispanics, will become a majority of the American working class by 2032. So the second part, Frank, I’m turning over to you.
Frank: The war for talent is over and talent won. I think that’s a pretty obvious point, but it’s just important to mention it here because it also affects the way we look at talent, and the way companies look at their people. Just to give two numbers that are really standing out, if you look at the last couple of years, the U.S. unemployment rate is at an 18 year low. You have many industries like hospitality, like health care, like construction, really looking out for workers to be employed. There’s a high quitters rate now which is at 63%. And they say quitter rates go especially high when people are really confident in the job market about finding other jobs.
And if you go back to the financial crisis, I think it’s 2008 or 2009, the quitters’ rate was about 30%, so it’s a huge difference and a huge gap in that respect, right? So companies are really struggling to keep employees around, to have employee retention as one of their core objectives in their employer communication.
Looking at big idea, the challenge is how to engage today’s workforce. The big idea behind it is that companies are looking at the high pace of change in the market, right? And you have to balance your employee needs and perspectives with the market demand for an ongoing change process that’s happening in an accelerated speed.
If you look at things like the S&P 500, you see that companies in 1935 stayed in that index around 90 years; today it’s down to 18 years. So the rate of change—the acceleration—is going up a lot. Just take this week: General Electric is a founding member of the Dow Jones index, it was in the Dow Jones index for 110 years. This week General Electric became the last founding member fall out of the index, and it was replaced by Walgreen’s, by the way.
So you see there’s a lot of pressure on existing large organizations to keep up with the change, and that’s what we see. And you have as a leader now to balance a lot of change, a lot of new things to learn, and new you things to develop. And on the other hand, your diverse workforce has won the war for talent, right? So that’s a challenge, and one of the big things in between, the glue, is communication. And the goal is to talk about what you can actually do to make communication successful.
All right, so you all know these iconic companies; you all know Amazon, Apple, Google, these companies that are really about learning faster than others, going into markets faster than others. And they really have perfected the way we deal with change, and I think that’s the big challenge that all large companies and organizations face today. So when it comes to communicating with a diverse workforce, what we want to share are concrete examples how to do that really well.
Alison: I just wanted to go back to one thing you said, Frank, which I’m hearing a lot from our clients, which is that I think communicators feel a lot of pressure today because leaders really do understand that communication is the glue. And I think it’s a great time to be a communicator in an organization because I think there’s just tons of potential in terms of how you can make a difference.
I was excited to be here today because I think we can really address some of the issues that we’ve been talking about in a very meaningful way. And so that’s kind of the framing for what we’re gonna say next. So we’ve got some, as Frank said, very specific advice and examples.
The first thing I would recommend is make sure that you understand the demographic data in your organization so that you can really address the demographic makeup of your organization. But also that it’s a great way to counsel leaders and other stakeholders, and to use as a basis for making recommendations. Recommendations, for example, that you may need some new technologies, that you may need some resources for whatever it is that you need. I think a great way to start is by kind of opening people’s eyes in the organization about who works at your organization.
Because one thing that I find is there’s a syndrome that I’ve named “Headquarters Head.” You work in headquarters, which tends to be pretty nice in terms of the decor; you’re working with other people who are like you; there are leaders; there are people from HR; there are people from other corporate functions. And you kind of forget what it’s like to be a person out there in the rest of your organization.
I have a client whose company has a beautiful headquarters in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, and he likes to say that “You don’t really know what it’s like to be an employee of our company unless you’re at one of our manufacturing plants deep in Florida in the hot summer. You know, it’s noisy, and there’s no air conditioning and, you know, they have to produce the products. It’s quite a different experience than sitting in the nice plushly carpeted headquarters.”
This is an example from a company called ETN Corporation, and it’s from a number of years ago. But the communicator at that organization put together a demographic profile and one of the things that they did was to look at education. And so what you see is that the education levels really are different by region. And so this is just an example. There was a lot more to this report, but it really allowed people in headquarters, or people who the communicator was working with, to say that we can’t, for example, assume that everyone is gonna be comfortable reading at a 12th-grade level. That we have to really look at our demographics to understand how to communicate simply for people with different education levels.
Frank: I’ll give one example here, because I really love to go into numbers. You often see, as an example in internal communications internal projects, the core project teams are typically knowledge workers. So people from communications, HR—they all sit at a desk, they all work on projects, and they can’t imagine that there are so many people out there who’ve never worked on a project, who’ve never sat at a desk. So what we often advise is to really count the numbers.
How many knowledge workers do you really have? This number is surprisingly low in many cases, it’s a lot more about how you field force looks, right? What does your sales team look like? How do they work? And if you have the numbers, it’s so eye-opening to see what are really the core requirements that we need to address?
Alison: Yeah. And the numbers also help you make the case. The other thing that I always tell our clients is go out there and see what it’s like at some of your major locations, or ride around in the car for a day with a sales representative, or in a truck for a day with the person who’s fixing telephone poles. You’ll see very clearly how little time that person has for communication. How they may have some access issues, and how they may have some big differences in terms of the ways that they want to receive information. Because sitting and reading is not how they spend their day.
So it’s good for your own insight to think about demographics, but it’s also really good if you want to suggest a change. So that’s a good point. So the second part of that is to really make sure that you assess employee needs and preferences. This is often done through surveys; you can do it through focus groups; through interviews; through site visits. Most of what I would be looking for in this particular case is qualitative information. Information about how employees are experiencing communication, how they prefer communications.
So, again, we’ll give you a little bit of an example from a company that’s a healthcare product and distribution company. And this is just a little bit of a focus group report, and interesting there’s inch [SP] curve in there. Because one of the findings from this was that this organization is going through a lot of change and employees reported that their experiencing change, you know, they’re kind of in the middle of it.
So they need a lot of information about what’s changing and why it’s changing. So, again, this kind of research does not have to be complicated or does not have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be any of that. But I think it’s really important to figure out how to do that kind of listening to people so that you really understand what’s going on with that.
And then one of the things that we just hear a lot from, especially when you do that kind of research, is that there is no such thing as a silver bullet when it comes to what kinds of channels you use. It really requires that you find the right mix. You know, that you may be investing a lot in one tool or another, and those tools are really important. But different people, especially we’re talking about the demographic mix, the global mix, you really do need to have that right mix.
So here is an example from a different company, and one of the things that they looked at was they looked at how much face to face do we need? How much real face to face like people in one room? How much can we do that’s still a live experience but it’s virtual? How much do we need to do that’s using different channels? So how do we create that mix over time, and how do we really manage that in a way so that we’re communicating in these different styles and different modes, so we’re giving everybody what they need. So I think this, Frank, you wanted to talk about content, the importance of content.
Frank: Yeah, and especially… of course, what we see and what’s our perspective is just a lot of organizations that wanna move to more mobile and digital channels in this regard, right? And the question is how do you do this because what we see in many cases, digital is not always good, right? You can also have a digital channel that really doesn’t have the reach that really doesn’t have the engagement. So the question is how you do this? And to answer the question yes, we will I think share the deck after the webinar with you guys.
So one of the key learnings that we have in terms of if you ask us, “What’s a good communications channel digital look like?” I think that the one big top stands above all of this is relevance, right? It’s first and foremost it’s relevant for employees, and Alison as you said, it could be drivers out there in the field that don’t have a lot of time during the day. So it really also keeps this all kinds of employee and groups in mind, right? And the major trends that we see here is first it’s a lot faster than everything before.
So it’s got something like instant notification, so this means if you have emergencies coming up like bad weather situations and all that stuff, you now have a channel to actually address that. That’s nothing that was there, like, 10 years ago, right? Interaction is a huge topic, so you wanna get feedback from employees. And it can start really easily, like, what actually do they really read in terms of analytics. I wanna learn which topics really go well with them. I wanna have things like likes, comments, polls. I really wanna learn from my front line how they work with the customer. I wanna have the feedback faster than ever before, right?
Third topic “Rich Media.” I think it’s pretty obvious to talk about more pictures, more videos. The main challenge that we see with many organizations, and especially talking about a multigenerational workforce, is that many younger employees are used to social media. They are used to see content in a very quick and easy digestible way, so they won’t read long texts, long articles. They really wanna see what’s going on in a really short time frame. So it’s really important to have other types of content there available.
Local is especially important if you have a global organization, and we talk here about plant communication, locations across the U.S. for sales, for service, and other…or like retail or hospitals. Usually, employees care more about what’s happening in their local entity than what’s happening at the center of the company. So it’s a great idea to mix up local content and central content just to increase relevance and really make them feel at home with their location, and the other hand also get information from the sender, right?
And at the end one thing that we learned that’s a real great I think also advice if you wanna increase the reach, don’t just think it out communication. It’s always great to also put yourself in the position of the employee, and think about employee experience. What are other services that an employee would love to have on these channels, right? This can be a shift plan, a phone book, this can be their pay stops or benefits information.
Whatever helps them, whatever is practical for them it’s great because it helps the channel to be important for employees and you will see just higher engagement rates, right? So if our best customers, in term of employee apps, they have active employees there of more than 90%, right? So that’s achievable in such a channel, right? I think that’s the good news here.
Alison: And Frank… Sorry, I just wanna add something because the companies that we work with that introduce an app. One of the… I think the things that they… the unintended consequence is they understand that their content is not meeting people’s needs. You know, so if you have boring corporate types of content on let’s say you’re Internet, and then you say, “Well, we’ll introduce an app so that our remote employees, for example, can… people on trucks, people in manufacturing whatever it is, can access the information,” you’ve only solved half of the problem which is the channel. You haven’t solved the other half of the problem which is the content.
So I think that that’s one of the reasons that people struggle when they decide to introduce new tools is because it’s not just about introducing a new tool, it’s about rethinking the content. And so it’s kind of like that wake-up call, like, wait a minute we’re not… Yeah, now we’ve put this information in people’s hands, but it’s not the information they’re actually looking for.
Frank: That’s a great point, Alison, and I think especially, like, the added value local stuff is one point in that direction. We actually have a name for it, I call it digital disillusionment this means…
Alison: That’s good.
Frank: At the moment when you have stuff in paper, like, you have an employee magazine, and you say, “I print 10,000 of these, and I distribute them,” you always think with those 10,000, you reach 10,000. But that’s not really the case. The first time you put something you do it digital and measurement is a lot easier. You actually get the feedback about your content. And there’s a lot of discussions going on and thinking going on, which is great because it improves content, and it helps you an organization to say, “We need to do things differently,” right? “We need to get our message out, we have more video, more pictures, we need to have more relevance,” right, and that’s the best thing to start with.
Alison: Right and I think the other part of it that I’m seeing a lot is you can be fooled if what you’re producing is mostly what I’ll just call articles, so it’s written content. You can be fooled by thinking that people are reading that content or, you know, really understanding that content because you might have a good click-through rate, you know, like if you have on internet. So you’re, like, “Oh, well people are clicking on that content,” but they may not actually… they may just click on it and then leave. You know, you may not have all the facts in terms of that.
So but, you know, many of our clients are now using the metrics again to make a case to leaders and stakeholders that the content that the leaders most wanna share may not be the content that employees most want to have. So it’s a very… I like your term “digital disillusionment” because you’re really like, “Well wait a minute, were people never reading this?” And the answer may be, “Yes, they were never reading it.” But it was sort of the corporate… the corporate approach was these are things they should want but now they…
Frank: So you’re saying… that’s a nice view. Yeah, yeah. That’s a nice view. So you’re saying it helps communicators to actually to bring the bad message to the leader and say, “Hey you have to change, we have to change.” It’s not me, it’s there, right? Seeing the number.
Alison: I’m not saying it right. So you increase your abilities as a counselor, as a consultant because you’re saying, “It’s not my viewpoint, employees are voting with their feet on this.” I mean, they’re voting with their actions and they’re not… I mean, it even works for something simple like an Internet. If you have great metrics on your Internet and you say, “Oh, wait a minute, people are much more likely to go on to content that’s more personal, that’s more helpful than they are, like, kind of a corporate press release.” Even that little bit of metric helps you say, “Wait a minute, why are we publishing press releases when that’s not the information that employees wants.” So all of anything and all of it is really good.
Frank: Yeah, yeah. So we can say, like, digital and also analytics is, like, a catalyst for change in communications?
Alison: Yes, yeah, I think that’s true. Okay, so let’s keep it going. One of the things that… when Frank and I were putting this together we were talking about kind of this idea of enlisting, and we often talk about the key role of leaders and managers in an organization. But I think it’s a really good thing to think of this group of people who may not be a leader, may not be a manager, but they are very influential. And sometimes organizations, for example, if they’re undergoing a big change, they think about people or change agents, or change ambassadors, who can help spread the word and help have conversations with people.
By the way, it’s also helpful to think about tools to help these folks be more knowledgeable about a topic, or ways of really thinking about how to equip these important people within your organization with what they need to be successful. So this is… it’s a little blurry right now, but this is another example from a company that’s using change ambassadors. These are average employees who have been identified, there’s more than 500 in this organization, who have been identified as… you know, they’re all throughout the organization, all different generations, all different roles. But they really have been identified as being influential.
So this organization is getting them together about once a month every two months to talk about some issues that the organization is going through. It’s not like they have to go around with posters or placards or, you know, we’re not asking them to be spies or anything like that. The organization is just saying, “We would want you to be in the know because we know how influential you are in the organization.” So if you know what’s going on if we equip you with some information if we answer your questions, then you’re gonna be able to dispel rumors, you’re gonna be able to, you know, set the record straight. And you’re, you know, just gonna be able to help our organization get through with some change that we’re undergoing.”
So that’s a very… and you have probably heard the term influencers in marketing. You know, in marketing they talk about people who, for example, review products, or people who are in a role in society in the marketplace where there recommenders for example. Well, you can use that same term inside the organization to really think about how to share information and communicate.
Frank: And it’s… Maybe to, at this at this point, I’ve seen a great session… We’ve been at the IPC World Summit in Montreal a couple of weeks ago. I’ve seen a great session there about influencers, and there was a session about a company that’s measuring accounting influencers in large organizations. And they had a couple of really nice numbers. One number was that the most influential employees impact other employees 10 times more than the average employee, right? And they also said if you have the right 3% of employees, you can impact 90% of all other employees.
So it’s a really powerful tool and method to think about to really use, not in the term of use, but really enable the right people to also help you with your message, right? And this can be down to really practical things like safety is a big topic for our customers, right, how can I improve safety in the company. The one thing is to have the safety officer talk about this all to time, maybe with [inaudible 00:36:20]. But you can also have an employee who maybe had an accident and who really… where something happened to talk about it, and to say,” Why did it happen?” And why he thinks it’s so extremely important to think more about safety in the organization.
And just one example, there are many, many others to think about here especially with multiple generations, right? So if you have specific issues that are for the other workers in the company, it’s great to think about who could deliver this best right? Is this still the young new millennial talking about this, or do you really find somebody with an influential role that’s a lot more credible to this audience, right?
Alison: Yeah, yeah it’s a really good point. Okay, so finally number six is measure, and you can see that Frank and I are big into metrics. But I really think it’s important as we think about how you address this global multicultural, multigenerational audience, that you are measuring the results of what you’re doing. And, again, using it to counsel, to make a case for whatever you need to make a case for. But also that you know that what you’re doing… how well what you’re doing is working.
And I think there are still in organizations a lot of assumptions that we sent it therefore it worked, or we had the town hall and therefore everybody got it, but often that’s often not the case. So this is an example of a scorecard, a way of doing… this happens to be an external example, but there’s an internal example as well of actually having a metrics support every quarter, every so often. So that you are really bringing those metrics to the floor, and whatever metrics you have or can get, that you’re using them to tell your story.
And certainly one of the nice things is the metrics for many of the tools and apps are getting much, much better than you ever had before, I guess that’s the good news and the bad news, right? Because you can’t hide, you can’t just say, “Oh, we created this newsletter and now we’re hoping for the best.” You really know how employees are interacting and experiencing the communication. So metrics are really important. So now it’s time… we have definitely a few minutes for any questions.
Carla: Alison, I have a question for you. I love the discussion as well about identifying change ambassadors and influencers. And so one of your points is to use a survey to do that. What would be some of your suggestions for other ways to identify these people? And what would be the qualification for these people that you are looking for?
Alison: Many organizations that identify influencers are looking for people who actively participate in some way. So, you know, the question is how do you do that, right? And often… for example, if you have a social media component of your communication channels, who’s on there, who’s writing blogs, who is asking questions, you know, who’s participating. And the participation can be positive or negative, it’s not like you’re looking for people to wear cheerleading outfit, you really want people who are thoughtful, and who are vocal, and who are, you know, really I guess fully participating.
So I think that is a very valuable way to seek out, and you can also ask for volunteers. I worked with one organization where they said, “We’re looking for people to tell a story.” They were actually introducing a new brand and they wanted people to participate in the launch of this new brand and they said, “Who would like to raise their hand?” And they got a lot of people who really were excited about the fact that the organization had a new brand, obviously, that’s very positive. And those folks came to training, they participated in activities. It was really great because as Frank said, it wasn’t just one person, like, the CMO kind of standing up there and talking to everyone, it felt much more participative.
Carla: Right, got it, got it. So look for the hands raised and then also look for the metrics on various platforms, those are good points tips.
Frank: There’s a question about digital disillusionment. Yeah, I think in the short term what we mean with it is that typically, and I think Alison just said this, whenever you start to have things digital, [inaudible 00:41:51] is a lot easier and better, right? And if you take your, like, kind of old habits to write long articles and all that stuff into the new digital world, many are shocked that their reach is really not that good with this kind of content, and with this kind of approach. And that’s what we mean with digital disillusionment.
So and this is not about a digital channel or the technology work or whatever, it’s really about content and does that content appeal to the audience, right? But I don’t see this as a negative term at all, it’s really something. In most organizations, it’s the start of a learning process, right? And as Alison pointed out, in many cases, it also helps the communicator to go back to their management and to others to say, “Hey, we need more of this content. Look at this how great this really resonates, and we get so much engagement around out these topics. And that’s not to other topics, but leadership things we need to do more of that,” right?
Alison: And, Frank, I would just like to add that, I think the disillusionment comes because there’s… I’ll just back up for a minute. It is amazing to me how many organizations have not routinely been measuring the effectiveness of their communication. So suddenly you have an app, a tool that has measurement built into it, and you can’t avoid the measurement. So you have suddenly gone from, you know, I guess being optimistic that the communication is working to having these hard facts in front of you that show whether or not it is working, or to what extent different components are working. And you can’t escape them, those facts.
So that’s where the disillusionment is, like, “Oh wait a minute, was anyone ever looking up this content before?” We just didn’t know, and now we do know. And now we’re confronted with the fact that we have to do something different, which is, you know, a little shocking. The other thing I just like… sorry go ahead, Frank.
Frank: No, please.
Alison: Okay. So the one thing I’d like to just say is one of the things we’re spending a lot of time doing is we’re saying, “How do you turn this story into something that’s much more appealing?” So an example would be there’s a lot of efforts in an organization to reduce costs or to improve quality, or whatever it is. And the typical way of telling that story would be an article quoting the vice president of blah, blah, blah, you know. And having it be very top down and corporate, and it’s dense, and it’s got a lot of facts in it.
Well, there are 50 ways to turn that content into something that’s intrinsically more interesting to employees. Suddenly it’s a short video, it’s an infographic, it’s profiles of people throughout the organization at different levels who are working on this effort. You know, it’s a testimonial from somebody who has benefited from this effort. So it’s taking the same story that you wanna tell, which is the effort to improve x, but you’re telling it in a way that is much more interesting and in a better format for the diverse workforce. Easier to digest, faster for them to go through because it’s now a 45-second video, not a 1,000-word article etc. So it’s rethinking content to fit these new formats and also to meet the needs of employees.
Frank: Great. We have two more questions. The first one is around metrics. “Which specific metrics do you use and how do you collect the data?” I can talk about it or…?
Alison: Yeah, yeah, you wanna start?
Frank: Yeah, sure. From our perspective, it starts off with… the first question is if you look at all your employees, how many of them… what’s the percentage that’s actually, for instance, in the app, right? So how many are actually onboarded, right? That’s the first one, that’s the best rates that we see there are around, like, 95%, but it really varies, and it really depends on the content that you have in there. The second would be how many of them are active, active probably you would measure this on a weekly basis, so going in again reading stuff or doing comments and likes. The fourth one would be how many are engaged.
Engaged would be they will leave comments, do surveys, and all that. And then you can also break this down in two ways. One in a pro content basis, so you would say, “For a specific article how many visits do have on the article, and how many unique users have seen this?” And if you have really kind of controversial or highly interesting content you see it that also employees coming back and reading this twice or three times, show this to colleagues. So you see a lot of that going on.
And something that’s also the highly interesting and that we move into right now is that you can break this down by groups. So you can say, “I have a company-wide communication, and I can break this down and say in my U.S. locations. I have a lot more engagement around this than in my German locations,” for instance. “Or I have three plants, and I have a new safety initiative, and I see that in one plant the employees there don’t really read it, and don’t really interact with it.” So it gives you a guidance an advice to look into this, and say, “Hey, why don’t I have to reach in that area.” So that’s around the metrics that we see as most important.
Alison: Those are good, yeah. So let’s take the next question which is translation. Maybe I’ll start and you can chime in as well. I mean, I think that every organization… there’s no one answer for this, but I think the most important thing is to have a translation philosophy and strategy. And so most organizations that we know don’t translate absolutely everything, but they do definitely decide which content is most important to translate. And then also they have a formula for deciding how many languages to translate into.
A lot of companies use an 80/20 rule or a 90/10 rule. You know, if you are really global and operating in dozens and dozens of countries, it’s probably very difficult to do 100% of your… it’s really hard to do 100% of your content translated to 100% of the people. But it’s really important to look at your demographics and decide which languages are most important for you to translate into, and which content is most important for you to translate. So that’s some of the perspectives that I’ve seen. And, Frank, if you do have anything to add?
Frank: I think maybe one point that might be technical, but I think really interesting. Because what we hear very often that people look at things like Google Translate, and they say, “I have to sit on a content, why can’t I use Google Translate to kind of help me, right?” And there are now two ways to do this. One is you take the content, go to Google Translate, translate it and then as an organization you have to make sure that it’s correct, that it’s really saying what you wanna say. And you have kind of an editing process going on, right?
The other way to do is, which is also pretty interesting, is you put this out, like, say you have an English text and you put this out to your French employees, and they have a button that says “Translate.” And when they press that button “Translate” it means it goes automatically to a translation to, like, Google Translate, could also be others. And then it’s translated, the big difference is that employees know at this moment, I see an automatically translated text in front of me, right? So and that’s the big difference. They know there could be some mistakes from the automatic translation in there. It’s not like… feels like official company content everyone gets a 10% raise whatever, you know, so whatever happens in there.
So we see both cases and as a company, Alison, you’re right, you need to… I never get the word translation strategy, but I think that’s exactly it, right? You need to just decide which way you wanna go for which type of content you wanna open up maybe the automatic translation, and maybe for the really important ones you won’t switch it on because you still wanna be in control of what you say.
Alison: Yeah. So, Carla, I think we’re almost out of time?
Frank: So we hope that these questions that… and translation strategy. Yeah, so we have a couple of new nice topics.
Carla: Yes, you guys are gonna need a dictionary for your next webinar event, we’ll add to it as we go. Thank you, guys, so much. I think that we will share this presentation. We will share the recording with everyone that participated, and with everyone that wasn’t able to join today. Our next webinar event will be on Wednesday, July the 25th. And during that event, we are flipping from talking about soccer and now we’re moving to basketball, where we will talk with a senior director for a major basketball organization about how to sync, share point, and Staffbase successfully or employee engagement surrounding internal events specifically.
So that should be a really good event as well, and then if you would like to bridge the gap even further, you can sign up for a demo with us at staffbase.com/demo, and we’ll talk through some more best practices from other organizations that have done this branded employee apps. And I think that’s it for us today. Thank you all for joining. We have enjoyed it very much, and I have learned a lot as well as increased my vocabulary from Frank and Allison. And we hope that you guys will join us again next time. Thank you, Alison, for all of your insights today, we appreciate it.
Alison: Thank you. Thank you guys, great working with you.
Carla: Yeah. You too, thank you.
Frank: Thanks, Alison. Thanks, Carla.
Carla: Bye guys.
Frank: So thanks everyone for joining bye-bye.
Alison: Bye everyone.
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