2 minute read

In a recent episode of Shoff Chats, we had a robust conversation with Stephanie Joranson, Corporate Communications Director at Medtronic, around the challenges of building a successful internal communications content strategy.

Here are three key learnings from the session.

Make Decisions Grounded in Data

All good marketers know that the best content is developed from research and data that uncovers the interests of the key audience. Internal communicators often struggle with using data, however, because it’s not found in the usual places.

“There’s a wealth of free data sitting in your HR group, you just have to go get it,” Joranson said. Information on your employee audience can tell you where they are, what role they play, business unit, age and many other data points that can help you derive insights for more compelling content. Software such as Adobe Analytics can also help you analyze intranet usage, which will show you what content people engage with most, for how long, etc.

Reflect Your Makeup Appropriately

In the case of Medtronic, close to 100,000 employees in dozens of countries makeup the workforce, so content must represent the globe. Even though the company is headquartered in Minneapolis, a U.S.-centric approach to content doesn’t foster connection across a global company. Language translation may help make content more accessible. Having a network of embedded communicators across the organization can help make content localized and translated. Some companies are also experimenting with Yammer’s instant translation feature as well.

And while it’s important not to over-index on headquarters-focused content, unusual times may dictate a need to transparently talk about what’s happening in the U.S. to the broader global audience. Joranson shared that her team asked themselves hard questions about how to handle racial tension news and social justice issues in recent months, as Minneapolis became a point of focus in the world.

“We leaned on our Minneapolis location as a rationale for talking about it, but we knew this was a global conversation,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to remind our employees what we stand for and to continue to have this conversation.”

Create Content that is Employee-Centric

Centering on your audience is critical to engaging them. We must create content from the employee perspective, not the corporate perspective, Joranson says. Curating content from employees is more difficult, but it’s worth the effort. Tone is important too – ensuring a more conversational and direct approach. Medtronic also tries to “show, not tell,” using employee stories to make critical points, Joranson said.

Want to build a better internal comms content strategy? Contact Meg Marra to learn more about Borshoff’s Employee Engagement practice.