At the end of 2021 Gartner published a report examining the challenges of the internal communications sector, outlining the capabilities IC professionals should be looking for in their Employee Communication Application (ECA). Using a checklist like this can help businesses identify the evaluation criteria, shortlist vendors, and ensure a strong ROI from their communication platforms.
One of the key themes that emerged was the need for internal communications teams to plan, design and run their employee engagements as campaigns. We dive into the findings behind this and look at the impact it can have on your business.
ECAs provide specialist software capabilities to corporate internal communications and HR leaders who are looking to deliver a consistent flow of information to employees. A good ECA – says Gartner – will help internal communications teams plan, automate, and analyse this information flow.
As a relatively young market, the ECA field has seen several new entrants, as well as some significant mergers and acquisitions. This growth brings with it fresh ideas and energy but also makes it challenging for a business to navigate and make a confident choice in the ECA that’s right for them. One of the most important criteria, highlights the Gartner report, is the platform’s capabilities around campaign management.
Although most platforms can handle standard everyday communications – such as e-newsletters, announcements, and executive views – and many are able to report activity across channels, some ECAs are growing in complexity and delivering more evolved features to tackle the changing needs of internal communications teams.
Today’s buyers require:
- a solution that recognises the increased value to employees of IC following COVID-19
- the provision of flexible options that can reach the entire workforce
- a single solution that can handle all IC needs
- the ability to measure and report at a senior level
As a result, the market has responded with more sophisticated platforms – such as Ripple – developing capabilities beyond basic IC needs and with a heightened focus on creating an engaging employee experience. At the heart of this is the ability to develop sophisticated campaigns, underpinned with content and media support and extensible through APIs and integration with other platforms – such as Microsoft Viva.
Campaign capabilities that are emerging as essential in a corporate ECA platform include: campaign management and execution; analytics – particularly the ability to dive into historical data, as well as predictive analytics; targeted segmentation at a granular level; and automatic segmentation driven by rules.
For employees these tools will deliver a consistent experience through what Gartner describes as ‘communication journeys’, made up of a collection of linked communications, content, media and analytics related to an individual, team, or business goal. The modern ECA will give employees a degree of customisation and will allow them to pass from the ECA app to work-related systems. It will also be accessible and provide language support ensuring that the experience can and will be equal across the organisation.
For IC and HR professionals, a top quadrant ECA equipped to provide analytics and predictive modelling allows them to engage and prove value at the most senior levels. With the ability to demonstrate engagement levels at a campaign level, and drill down into these campaigns by segment, IC teams can quantify communication impact and influence to C-Suite stakeholders. Modelling and planning tools also allow IC teams to move away from being largely responsive and play a greater role in influencing strategic plans.
Gartner’s report only serves to reinforce the trends we at Ripple have been seeing from our own clients where the need for customisation, flexibility, and campaign-centric communication rank highest on the list of IC and HR leader’s demands from their ECA. Our clients understand that by bringing in an internal communication platform that addresses these needs they are not only on a path to step changing their employees experience and growing engagement in the business, but also to being able to operate and influence at a far more strategic level than before.
Want to learn more about how the Ripple ECA delivers all the capabilities your business needs? Start the conversation by emailing us at [email protected]