Is contextual personalisation the future of employee engagement?

Contextual personalisation. Another fad riding the HR comms train? Perhaps not. Here at Caburn Hope, we’ve been applying this principle to our methodology across a multitude of client projects for a good reason. It works. Especially, since we live in the times of Big Data.

When we are enriched with volumes of information across platforms, devices and processes why shouldn’t we contextualise analytics to inform communication journeys? It helps shape the employee lifecycle in an emotionally relevant way – and it’s where the wider view of consumerism is going – and yes, your people are also consumers too.

Here we’ve broken down the basics to help you understand what it is and how you can apply it across internal communications and HR comms:

What is contextual personalisation?

It’s using insight to pinpoint where a person is in its employee lifecycle and encourage them to move / interact into the next phase the business wants to lead to. This could be both a physical or online journey, depending on the objective of the company. It extends beyond demographics and looks to:
• Identify behaviours and use context to gain an emotional transaction
• Applies context that’s personally relevant to the individual to increase cognitive load
• Predicts and optimises the next steps in your peoples journey

How does it work?

Contextual personalisation uses data that’s both historical – and in real-time – to determine the context of the target message. In terms of HR and internal comms, this could include factors such as:
• Type of employment
• Length of tenure
• Function and position
• Marital status
• Gender
• Age
• Address / proximity from their office – do they commute? If so, what is the distance and where from?
• Benefits selected
• Sickness records
• Working hours
• Holiday days (booked)
• Salary
• Dependants (in theory)
• Training

How can it help me?

By using such data, you could apply a communication strategy that would enable:
To focus on behaviours – messaging targets what it means to users as individuals and predicts the next steps
Deliver better experiences for employees – facilitating greater engagement, thus enabling better results in terms of performance targets
Scalable and flexible – naturally employees will behave and react differently to messages. But contextual personalisation can tailor to these needs so it resonates while not overburdening them with information

Ok. Where do I start?

You will need to run an insight and strategy phase before you can map out contextual personalisation journeys. There are a few platforms that you may have in place already that will help feed into your strategy. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

Website analytics: data that would show you how prospective and new employee journeys are typically shaped. Particularly relevant for talent attraction and on-boarding strategies
Apps: a useful tool that provides visibility on how your employees engage and with what content
Intranet analytics: provides invaluable insight into how your existing people consume, use and share content.
Enterprise social networks (ESN): social listening is instrumental in understanding perceptions and emotional triggers
HRIS platform: the holy grail of insight and strategy. This will largely inform where your employees are in the lifecycle
Surveys: benchmarking how your people feel towards an organisation isn’t the only use for surveys. It can provide ideas towards topics, communication preferences and user intent
Automation software: to help build on personal data and shape better online journeys

For more information:

To find out how contextual personalisation can help you and your business needs, contact us on +44(0)1273 480 404 or email

Caburn Hope
Rusbridge House, Rusbridge Lane Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2XX, UK

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