To take internal communications to the next level in any organization, you’re going to need extra resources eventually. You might need to add people to the team or include software and tools to your ecosystem. To get those resources, however, you’ll have to be able to present a business case.
The 2020 State of the Sector Report found that overall internal communicators were on the rise throughout 2019. In small to large companies, budgets have increased substantially to include more resources for the internal communications function.
Worryingly, data and reporting were highlighted as serious gaps within internal communications. Although leadership teams are recognizing the value of internal comms, more often than not, they don’t have much to back up their decisions.
This leads us back to the concept of a business case. A business case captures the reasoning behind initiating a project and is your opportunity to present your argument why you need more support and how it will impact the business overall.
Do you have the right information to back up your decisions and requirements? Here are three questions to answer when writing a business case …
In formal terms, a mandate is an explicit authorization to act in a particular way in the format of an order or command given. Informally speaking, what is it that you were hired to do?
Some organizations specify mandates for each job role, especially for more senior positions. Other organizations take a more organic approach and allow employees to stretch themselves and grow within their position.
Either way, a formalized statement of your function is essential to building a business case. If you have not done so already, speak to your management team to develop your mandate. Ask targeted questions to what success in your role means for the business. Don’t focus on short-term goals specific to you as an individual, but rather on the big picture of the function.
Knowing the company’s long-term view and how your role fits in it will define your goals and the kind of support you can expect.
Extra resource: If you don’t have a formalized mandate, use this mandate overview and leadership questions tool as a guide.
When you know and understand your mandate, you can plot your journey to that big vision with goals. In short, your goals dictate how you are going to achieve your mandate.
Goals are where the job details come in, answering the who, why, where, and how questions. It’s the mechanics of your function and the tactics you’ll use to move forward.
Remember to align each goal back to your mandate, and don’t be afraid to explain the unique value of achieving the different goals.
Create a matrix of high-level goals ranging from short to long-term, be clear what success would look like, and then expand each goal with campaigns, tactics, and details.
If you haven’t created an internal communications strategy yet, here is a free template to get started.
It’s great to show a strategy that reads like a roadmap to explain what you are trying to achieve and how. Rolling out campaigns, learning, and feeling like you’re making a difference is even better. That doesn’t mean anything, however, unless you have data to back up your findings.
“Data is the new oil” – Clive Humby, British mathematician
Data is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to putting together a business case. If you’re looking for another person to join the team, where is your proof that you need an extra person? How do you know you need a person with specific qualifications and experience? How will an extra team member affect output?
If you need a software or tool, how much time or money will be saved using it? Have other tools been implemented in the past and shown results? What about the budget – why should your department be given more? How has you’re function or department added to the company, and how will more resources aid your mandate?
Data is the way to prove your worth in a quantifiable format. Simply put, measure everything. Not only will it aid your business case significantly, but will also give you valuable learnings and insights to optimize your efforts.
New to data? Learn more about metrics that matter.