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Communicating Financial results to Employees


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I presented this material at the annual meeting for the Council for Communications Management in Philadelphia, Spring 2010.

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
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Communicating Financial results to Employees

  1. 1. Ethan McCarty Manager, IBM Workforce Enablement & Alumni Relations Intranet Editor in Chief Communicating financial results to employees
  2. 2. The ground rules: Regulatory compliance and then some <ul><li>You gotta be totally correct </li></ul><ul><li>You gotta be consistent across all media </li></ul>
  3. 3. Potential disconnects <ul><li>You want to present the best picture externally </li></ul><ul><li>You want and need to present the facts correctly </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t want to undercut communications about business realities by overplaying good news </li></ul><ul><li>You want your employees to feel good about and connected to the results </li></ul><ul><li>Many people’s eyes glaze over when talking about financial results </li></ul>
  4. 4. How we’re inclined to present results Smiling spokesperson! Cheering investors! Uninterrupted bullhorn!
  5. 5. How results are often presented to employees…
  6. 6. Inconsistently
  7. 7. Out of context
  8. 8. Not at all <ul><li>*This slide intentionally left blank </li></ul>
  9. 9. It’s no wonder that… <ul><li>95% of employees surveyed by Fortune magazine are unfamiliar with their company’s strategy.* </li></ul><ul><li>*I learned this during yesterday’s presentation. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Meanwhile, everyone sees everything <ul><li>So let’s assume that our employees are ‘the public.’ </li></ul><ul><li>And that they are going to talk about work outside of work settings. </li></ul><ul><li>And that they’ve read the good/bad/indifferent headlines and showed up to work anyway… </li></ul><ul><li>So they’d probably rather have something good to say about their company. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>That means reporting your business results correctly, in context, and consistently with external reporting. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>And I’d argue it means doing more than posting the press release on your company’s intranet. </li></ul>
  13. 13. A bit about IBM’s intranet
  14. 15. A few ways we communicate financial results to IBMers <ul><li>Scorecard quarterly cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Annual Shareholder Meeting coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Annual Worldwide Chairman’s Broadcast </li></ul><ul><li>Annual Investor Day Briefing and subsequent ‘Why IBM?’ series </li></ul><ul><li>Annual report </li></ul>
  15. 16. Scorecard – quarterly results cycle <ul><li>Three part package – The Quarter/CEO-letter, The Street, Performance Reports </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinated at CHQ and BU-level to avoid ‘death by a million emails’ </li></ul><ul><li>Key strategic messages shared to global comms leaders weeks in advance </li></ul><ul><li>Business leaders have a variety of presentation choices and can solicit feedback </li></ul>
  16. 17. Dear IBMer
  17. 18. Profiled w3 Sample
  18. 19. Unit SVP Page Sample
  19. 20. Brand GM Page Sample
  20. 21. Results of the coordinated effort <ul><li>More consistent messages linking results to strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Ability for IBMers to see the whole picture (by looking at any letter they want) </li></ul><ul><li>Muuuuuch less email for IBMers </li></ul><ul><li>Ability for business leaders to get their messages out in a disciplined way </li></ul>
  21. 22. Annual shareholder meeting <ul><li>On-site reporting (from exciting locales!) </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated video </li></ul><ul><li>Downloadable prepared remarks </li></ul><ul><li>Our SVP of comms has started live-tweeting the events </li></ul><ul><li>User-rating </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated content tagging </li></ul>
  22. 23. Investor Day and Why IBM? series <ul><li>Annual event for investors </li></ul><ul><li>Like all the other communications, also presented on </li></ul><ul><li>We basically make our case for IBM and each business unit </li></ul><ul><li>Consistently high reader-ratings and traffic </li></ul>
  23. 24. Annual report <ul><li>We present it on our intranet linked from an for all IBMers from our CEO </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive Generating Higher Value portion, Printable PDF, client-presentable PPT version </li></ul><ul><li>I won’t dwell on this (unironically, I would actually love to) </li></ul>
  24. 25. Super awesome conclusion <ul><li>When reporting financial results to your employees, do it in a context for them. </li></ul><ul><li>The benefits will manifest internally and externally to your organization. </li></ul>