Date posted: 20 March 2015 | Posted in: Hot topic
We’re officially in ‘results season’ with lots of companies reporting their year-end results this month. What better time to think about how successfully you communicate your results internally? It’s not just quoted companies who have an obligation to report their results externally who should be thinking about this. For every type of organisation using the financial calendar is a great way to create a rhythm to your internal communications. Here are our top tips for great results communications…
1. Be consistent for all audiences
Report your results as seriously internally as you do externally. Internal comms teams should be working closely with their counterparts in the external/PR team to coordinate content and timings. It’s our job to make sure that employees are a priority audience – it’s important to include a thank you to employees for their hard work and commitment. Well done and thank you can go a long way! If it’s bad news then the messages should be around thanks for hard work but more to do, let’s not lose focus and motivation, the future’s bright etc.
2. Use the numbers to tell a story
In the best results comms we’ve seen, the same numbers are drawn out and tied to the overall strategy – consistently. When it comes to financials people need to hear the ‘real’ story and not be bombarded with complex financial statements.
3. Tone of voice
Many companies default to a very corporate tone of voice for results announcements – this can be a real turn off for employees. If you’re writing messages for your CEO, try and make them more conversational and bring the performance of the business to life for people.
4. Exec visibility
Results comms should be lead from the top. One of the most consistent themes in our Comms Reviews is that employees want to hear about overall business strategy and performance direct from their CEO or senior team.
Results announcements give the perfect opportunity for your CEO to do this. If it’s not possible due to the size of your business to get your CEO everywhere on results day, video or webcasts can be a great alternative. These can also be used by local management to set the scene for local presentations and show group and local management working together.
5. Make it interesting!
You can’t get that creative about how you actually present the numbers but there are ways to make the content more engaging and interesting. Whether it’s a written message or a presentation, you’ll lose your audience pretty quickly if you go into a long run down of numbers. Bring in successes, big wins, pictures of major new customers or projects and recognition of teams who have had a big impact on the results. Make people feel part of the company and the journey it’s on.
6. Don’t stop if the news isn’t good
There can be a natural instinct to stop communicating when the news isn’t as good and the messages aren’t as easy to deliver. If performance is down and there are problems in the business this is exactly when you need to be open and honest with your employees. You need their support and buy-in to what needs to be done in the next financial period.
Results updates can become pretty repetitious and boring. If you feel that your approach is getting a bit tired and you’d like some new ideas we’d love to help, so get in touch!