Market leader’s software puts internal communication at the center of employee engagement and financial performance.
When many of the world’s biggest companies want to solve complex challenges in their communications with a global workforce, they look to a small and highly innovative Irish software company, Poppulo.
With employee communications widely recognized as crucial for engaging workers and business success, Poppulo has developed unique software used by global giants Unilever, Coca Cola, McDonalds, Nestlé, Nike, Rolls Royce, Barclays Bank, and nine of the world’s twenty biggest pharma companies.
Cork-based Poppulo developed the world’s first all-in-one internal communication (IC) platform which gives organizations the power to manage their communications and measure their impact, across multiple digital channels, email, intranet, video, enterprise social networks etc.
Leading the World
Not only does Poppulo make it easy to disseminate highly-targeted internal communications, it gives IC teams visibility on how different audiences interact with those messages. For example, are emails read or ignored? Is there a difference in how messages are received depending on business function, employee grade or geographic locations, and how should the organization respond to these differences?
Poppulo founder and owner Andrew O’Shaughnessy says successful companies are acutely aware of the crucial role internal communications plays in employee engagement and talent acquisition.
“This has never been as important as it is today for two reasons: a global employee engagement crisis plus a worldwide talent and skills shortage,” said O’Shaughnessy. “Gallup research shows an alarming 87 percent of employees are not engaged, and last year the Manpower Group’s global survey reported the worst talent shortage in over a decade, with 40 percent of over 42,000 employers finding it difficult to fill jobs.”
And to underline further how valuable engaged workers are, not only are they more committed and productive than their non-engaged colleagues, PwC research shows they are also 87 percent less likely to resign.
“So it’s difficult to overstate how important it is for organizations to do everything they can to foster engagement,” added O’Shaughnessy. “One of the key ways to do this is to ensure they have excellent employee communication systems, processes, and technology – which is where we come in.”
Vital Employee Engagement
“Employee engagement is vital to a company’s bottom line,” explained O’Shaughnessy. “It has been repeatedly proven that there is a direct correlation between highly-effective employee communication and superior financial performance.”
O’Shaughnessy cited Willis Towers Watson research, that companies with excellent internal communication strategies are likely to outperform their industry peers by a factor of 3.5. Likewise, Gallup found that companies with highly-engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share. A PwC report found that companies that engage and empower their workforces are more nimble because they are better positioned to anticipate and adapt to changing market conditions.
“There are companies that give their employees ping pong tables, bean bags, and free fruit,” said O’Shaughnessy. “But those initiatives will have no impact if your employees aren’t engaged. They will just play ping pong, sit in bean bags and eat fruit, without being engaged in the company’s mission and its business goals.”
“To be engaged, employees need to understand a company’s goals and where it is going, how their role and performance fits in with that and that their contribution is valued – and internal communication is key to achieving this.”
By improving employee engagement, companies improve the employee experience. That advantage, in turn, helps companies win in today’s war for talent, by improving their employee recruitment capability and employee retention rate.
“In the software industry, people are comfortable with the term ‘Net Promoter Score (NPS) which is a measure of how likely a customer is to recommend you,” said O’Shaughnessy. “And regarding the metric of choice for engagement, companies are increasingly focusing on the Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS). Our software helps organizations measure engagement with their employee communications, which is a critical component of overall engagement.”
Building strong client relationships
Poppulo has trebled in size in recent years, now employing 180, mainly at its HQ in Cork and also in Boston. It recently appointed a representative in Australia and is planning further expansion, having enjoyed revenue growth of over 40 percent for the past two years. It currently has over 900 customers in over 100 countries.
The company initially focused on the UK market before setting its sights on the USA, where it has a lengthy client list of large multinational corporations and is growing further in Europe, particularly in the Nordic and Benelux countries, and France and Germany, as well as expanding into Australia, the Middle East, and India.
“Building long-term relationships is key for us,” said O’Shaughnessy. “We are extremely close to our customers. Understanding their internal communications challenges is crucial to ensuring that we provide the IC solutions that they need, which is why we make sure to involve them in all aspects of our product development, for example.”
“We place a huge emphasis on every aspect of customer and technical support,” he said. “One customer said to me last year, ‘whatever you do, don’t ever outsource your customer support’ – which we’ve no intention of ever doing anyway – and another customer recently described us on LinkedIn as ‘ridiculously helpful’, which was a lovely compliment.”
“We are totally aware that people can find tech difficult and sometimes overwhelming, especially when you’re talking about installing new systems. So we always have that at the forefront of our minds and go out of our way to ensure that we’re not a tech company acting and talking like lots of tech companies do.
“We’re a company that happens to produce great software but we’re all about engaging people in everything we do and in a very human way, to help our customers become even more successful than they already are,” said O’Shaughnessy.
A great place to work
Earlier this year, Poppulo increased its Top 10 placing in Ireland’s Great Places to Work awards, moving up to #6 from last year. The company was particularly thrilled to win the award for being the best company in Ireland for communicating with its employees.
“There is a parallel between what we bring to our customers and my own personal view on how to run an organization and how to treat people. It is a huge responsibility to have people coming into this company five days a week, year after year,” said O’Shaughnessy. “They give a huge amount of their time and of their lives to working here and they have to be getting something out of it that is more than just a salary. They have to have a sense of fulfillment and an opportunity for personal growth and development. That is hugely important to me.”