How to create a personalised communications experience: a session with Prarthna Thakore, Head of Internal Comms at ISG

As companies across the world navigate digital workplace challenges, developing a new internal communication strategy or building on a current one couldn’t be more important.  

In simplycommunicate ‘Behind the Firewall’ session, Prarthna Thakore from ISG, a global construction services company, talked us through how she and her team have got their fingers on the pulse of internal comms – by developing a communications and channel strategy based on detailed employee personas.

With nearly 3,000 employees globally, many of which are based in the field, her first step was , to clearly define four personas to represent the types of people that they employ, followed by careful consideration to choose the correct channels to communicate effectively with them.

She shared with us her four step approach:

Step 1: Work with colleagues in HR and IT to gather internal data such as employee demographics, how many people are working from home and how many are office-based.

Step 2: Listen to your people by issuing a survey covering a variety of questions, such as: how do they engage internally and externally? What are they interested in and what is driving them to engage?

Step 3: Put together a spreadsheet or use an offline method like a whiteboard to map out your data and group people together.

Step 4: Create your personas and go into detail about each one, including their level of education, likes and dislikes, age range, gender and ambition, both personally and professionally. In doing so, you can start to personalise the communication experience for employees.

By taking the time to listen and get to know ISG employees, the result was the development of a well-designed and strategic suite of channels to reach people, wherever they are based.

Prarthna explained that her approach, together with the HR, marketing and legal teams, was to create, or build on a number of core communication channels. This includes CEO leadership updates, The Vine: the company’s news hub, and ISG Workspace (not the Facebook one!), a personalised intranet to replace a previous version that wasn’t being used to its full capacity, and direct SMS messaging.

A large part of creating a personalised experience, Prarthna said, is about ‘communicating with deskless employees, not just inside of work but outside too, as they aren’t just listening to us, they also have their personal email and social media apps open.’

Armed with this new information, Prarthna and her team have been able to take the personalisation of their internal comms channels further, by ensuring that they are inclusive to employees around the world. Workspace, hosted on Microsoft SharePoint,is the place for ‘hyper-personalisation’. They have integrated Google translate to allow users to  translate the page content into a variety of languages such as French and Spanish.

As Prarthna rightly said: ‘2020 has been all about change and adapting. To take stock, listen to our people and find out how they engage.’ We couldn’t agree more!

Our key learnings from this session were:

  1. Taking an inside out approach to communications is becoming ever more prevalent. More and more businesses are actively encouraging employees to share internal content, externally, and making the process simple.
  2. Develop employee personas. It’s a time-consuming process, but, having real clarity over what peoples likes, wants and turn-offs are pays dividends in developing an effective communication and engagement strategy.
  3. Look outside of the organisation. Prarthna and her team didn’t just look inside the business to get to know their people, they also looked at how they were presenting their business externally and worked with LinkedIn directly for support.

The simplycommunicate Behind the Firewall sessions are simplycommunity member events. Our speakers provide a virtual tour of their channels and explain their approach to digital workplace communications.

simplycommunity members can watch the playback here.

Not a member? Get in touch today to find out how to sign up.



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