“It’s time for employee communicators to start thinking like marketers, delivering the right information to the right employee at the right time through the right channel.”
— Shel Holtz, internal communications director and advocate 
Internal communicators have some important messaging and content to share. According to the International Association of Business Communicators  more than half of all internal communications professionals support:
- Enabling employees to understand the strategy, vision and values of the organization,
- Corporate announcements (HR updates, process changes, etc.), and
- Employee engagement.
At Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE), we have a mighty team of two to handle internal comms (IC) for our global company. They’ve been using Eloqua for internal email for over a year, but the initial setup was not smooth. To lessen concerns of messages going to the wrong audience, the ALE Eloqua admin team created shared lists specific to internal comms. These lists then fed into master segments which could be copied for different campaigns.
Once a month a corporate directory administrator would export an excel file and send it to an Eloqua admin who still had to manually manipulate the file to filter for the different audiences. An Eloqua admin would manually remove all contacts from the shared lists and refresh the lists from the file. Because updating the data was not automated, we were limited in the number of shared lists we had time to create, and then they were out of date as soon as new people joined the company or employees changed roles. As a result, our Eloqua team regularly had to handle support tickets for individuals who had not received an expected communication.
Today, the ALE Eloqua team has set our internal communications colleagues up for success with two main goals:
- Enable them to reach their target audience with minimal support
- Ensure internal messages are never sent outside the company
Reaching the target audience
At Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, our employees are treated like any other business contact in our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. ALE’s CRM team manages the refresh of data from our corporate directory, and those specific fields such as employee status and employee type are also synced to Eloqua.
Most emails are sent to all ALE employees, or employees and contractors, or employees of a specific business unit. Additionally, the IC team sometimes prefers to alter the send time in a campaign depending on the geographic location of the recipient. The ALE Eloqua team has created master dynamic segments which can be copied to cover most segment needs. For example, here is “ALE Employee and Contractor Only by Sub Region – NAR”.
Data cleansing opt-outs by program
While it’s best to use a permissions-based approach for marketing, employee audiences are expected to receive all the relevant company emails. However, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise employees will occasionally opt-out of ALE communications. This prevents those individuals from receiving the company messages sent through Eloqua, so a program cleanses the employee opt outs.
The program “Employee Always Opt-In” runs once a night. The segment feeding the program looks for contacts with an employee record type of employee, contractor, or sub-contractor, and an email status that is not an invalid email, and is not archived in our CRM platform, Salesforce.
First the internal contacts are subscribed at the site level. Then the contact washing machine:
- Checks if the contact field “SFDC EmailOptOut” is not blank.
- If the field is not blank, the step resets the field back to blank.
- Checks if the field “Opt in ALU-E Communications” is not equal to “on”.
- It replaces the various values found with “on”.
Internal messages stay internal with contact security
Lastly, with our ALE internal communications team moving to dynamic segmentation, we added contact level security for employee contacts to ensure internal messages are not accidentally sent externally. We had already implemented contact level security on our database for other record types and felt this was the best solution to handle security for employee communications.
We had a contact category where Employee, Contractor, and Sub-Contractor were added as new security labels.
A security group was added for internal communications and the IC team members were added to this group. Then the three new labels were mapped to the internal security group.
A shared filter was created searching for contacts with an employee record type, an employee status field set to Active and a field indicating the contact is not an archived contact in Salesforce.
We added to our contact level security program two listeners:
- A contact creation listener
- A second listener for the contact field “Contact Record Type”.
- Note: This action required enabling a subscription to the contact field contact record type.
From the two listeners the program checks if the contact belongs to the employee shared filter. If yes, then we compare contact field for employee type to set the corresponding label if it matches.
With the added contact level security, we at ALE are confident that our internal company content is staying inside. Before, it would take an Eloqua admin an hour each month to update all the shared lists and master segments. Today, with the dynamic master segments, the need for admin support is very rare. The CRM is updated at least weekly for new employees and archiving departures, so the new Eloqua segments are also more current than the manually updated ones. The dynamic segments combined with the employee opt-in program have minimized the support tickets about missing emails. In the last six months, we’ve received one inquiry, but the email was properly received. With the proper automation configured, our internal communications are now an efficient and self-sufficient team.
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