What to Expect When Buying Employee Communication Software
As a project manager, Amanda Moskowitz knows the importance of focusing on the fundamental questions when shepherding a new initiative – why, how, what, etc.
When Moskowitz, the Marketing Communications Manager at CNSI, began looking for a new communication platform, she already knew why.
CNSI, a consulting firm that improves lives through transformative technology that advances healthcare outcomes, went through a series of significant leadership and organizational changes in 2018. Those all needed to be communicated to the workforce. After spending weeks upon weeks of manually creating and manipulating both content and graphics, there was an apparent need for a more efficient, effective way of transmitting and tracking key messages to employees.
Moskowitz also knew how.
With more than 1,000 employees dispersed throughout the U.S. and India, any solution had to be mobile-first – reaching their staff whenever and wherever they are. It was also a necessity that the tool allowed for two-way communication, ensuring that the voices of employees were heard.
But here was the question that Moskowitz needed to answer:
“There are so many employee communications tools that do different things,” Moskowitz said. “I was getting emails every single day. But instead of going down the rabbit hole searching for a solution, I started by asking, ‘What do we need?’ You have to think about the problems first, and then search for a tool.”
She spent several months exploring solutions on the market. Once she identified the Dynamic Signal employee communication and engagement platform as the best option, she then built a business case and created internal consensus.
Here’s a closer look at how she did it.
Moskowitz joined CNSI four years ago. Her primary focus was managing requests for the marketing communications team. But over time, the majority of her role was spent on internal communications. The company relied on information siloes such as a SharePoint intranet, email, and digital signage. Posting on different platforms was labor-intensive. There was no way to measure who accessed what information. They also couldn’t target information to specific people, roles, locations.
So, she was acutely aware that CNSI needed a single source of communication truth. But Moskowitz also understood the importance of “we” and not “me.” She asked internal stakeholders what they thought CNSI needed to help them achieve their departmental goals.
“I listened and took note when I would hear people say, ‘I wish we could do this.’ Or, ‘Why can’t we do that?’ Or, ‘Wouldn’t it be better if we could do it this way?’” she said. “I came up with a wish list of about 25 things that we wanted to accomplish as a way to drive the tool selection process.”
She spent about two months doing her due diligence. She attended webinars. Explored vendors. Scheduled demos. The goal: match the capabilities of solutions to CNSI’s requirements.
She narrowed the list down to four possible solutions, and then two. Finally, she made her recommendation to CNSI’s Chief Marketing Communications Officer.
“For me, the differentiator came down to Dynamic Signal’s mobile-first approach and design,” she said. “You have to reach employees where they’re at, and today we’re all on our phones.”
Building the Business Case
CNSI conducted an employee survey earlier in 2019, and there was a remarkable 96 percent response rate.
“It was clear by the survey participation numbers that we had a workforce interested in sharing their opinions to leadership,” Moskowitz said.
Something else important came out of the survey. Employees identified that communication was a top area for improvement. Moskowitz used those results to bolster her case why it was vital for CNSI to create a more robust communication platform. It would need to enable content ownership, target messages to the right employees, track engagement, and allow for that two-way communication.
Also, having also been made responsible for communicating the company’s new Recognition and Rewards Program, Project Milestones, Onboarding Process, Moskowitz understood the need to empower employees to share their experiences.
“People want to give kudos to their colleagues,” she said. “Celebrate a project milestone. Share ideas. Post pictures of their team. We don’t have a way to do any of that effectively.”
Even though there was widespread understanding that the platform would significantly improve internal communication, she made sure to point out the specific benefits for each stakeholder.
In other words, she tailored the message to her audience.
“There are always the shiny things about a new tool that excites people,” Moskowitz explained. “If I had six people in the room from six different departments, I made sure that I had six shiny things to highlight. That way, everyone felt like the tool was designed for each of them.”
For IT, she emphasized platform security. For HR, she focused on building greater employee engagement and creating #OneCNSI. And for every department and office location, she stressed that they would have greater ownership of their communication with the ability to post information to their people.
“By the time I got to leadership, people were excited,” she added “They were saying, ‘Why don’t we have this already?’ I created a lot of hype and buy-in. It wasn’t about making Amanda’s life easier. It was about communicating more effectively to create a more engaged workforce. That was a business case that everyone could get on board with.”
The Happy Ending
CNSI closed the deal in September. Moskowitz will soon be attending Dynamic Signal’s Essentials Workshop. The boot camp provides businesses everything they need to get their platform up-and-running quickly, drive employee adoption, and show immediate results.
Moskowitz said she believes making a case for any technology software is to frame the discussion around outcomes.
“It can’t be about the technology,” she added. “It has to be about what you want to accomplish as an organization through the use of that technology.”
- Don’t wait. “It took a large-scale organizational change for us to realize we needed a more effective communication tool. However, I can only imagine what the transition would have been like if we already had one in place. A communication platform is like insurance. Invest now, so you don’t pay for it later.”
- Know your business needs. “You will get both overwhelmed and excited by all of the technology that’s out there. But if it doesn’t meet your needs, you won’t use it.”
- Know your audience. “Listen to your internal stakeholders. If you focus on how the tool will make someone’s life easier, accomplish their goal(s) faster, the easier it will be to get buy-in.”
- Understand it’s not just a tool. “This is as much about culture and engagement as it is about communicating. Keep both front-of-mind as you research and implement a platform.”
- Be patient and use business challenges as your business case. “It took CNSI just under nine months to complete the sales cycle. And not because of lack of need or want. It was an issue of timing and budget. But by staying patient, I was able to use the results of our engagement survey, new initiatives, and even company challenges to reinforce the need.”
To hear more about Amanda’s journey and additional lessons learned, join us for an exclusive webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Pacific Time (1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time). Becky Graebe, Senior Director, Communication Expert at Dynamic Signal, will moderate an insightful session that’s certain to help you feel more confident and build consensus in your organization. And if you’ve just begun exploring Dynamic Signal, please check out our Demo Center videos to learn more.