I love internal communication. Of all the various elements of the marketing and communications mix that I’ve worked in over various roles – I remain of the opinion that internal comms is one of my most favourite. For me – it undoubtedly has one foot in HR and one foot in Marketing. This plays to my strengths of having held marketing and comms roles in what can, at an ‘umbrella level’, be broadly described as HR management consulting (4 years in leadership consulting and 7 ½ years in executive search).
Perhaps ironically – one of the things I like most about internal comms is that it is so often neglected, especially by senior management teams. Frequently there is an innate assumption at the top that people further down the organisation ‘probably know’ what’s going on and that if they don’t, they probably ‘don’t really need to know’.
Having come up through various organisations myself, I have seen the gaping chasm that so often exists between the leadership and the broader workforce. I have seen internal comms done particularly badly – where leaders pay minimal attention and only lip service when it comes to sharing their own vision and the organisation’s strategic imperatives – challenges and opportunities. In turn, leaders often express ‘surprise’ when they realise that they’re not actually carrying people with them and that high levels of cynicism exist within their organisation. The importance of strategically framing and crafting your communications to your own people when it comes to bringing them with you cannot be overstated.
Internal comms is at its best when there is comparative transparency within the organisation and when the workforce feels a sense of connection at an individual level between their own role and how that plays out in the wider organisation. Cynicism and disillusionment creep in when the chasm ‘opens’. Effective internal comms helps close the gap by aligning the workforce with the strategic direction of the organisation through a range of communication-based initiatives (ranging from intranets and corporate videos through to in-house events and employee engagement exercises).
With one foot in marketing and the other in HR – high quality internal comms has the potential to provide a bedrock for an organisation’s cultural and strategic ambitions.
My track record:
- Full responsibility for internal comms in two professional services roles.
- Editorial and content responsibility for global, staff-wide bulletins and newsletters.
- Getting buy-in for and then launching an inter-company blog used to create a virtual community, connecting a disparate global business.
- Managing company intranets, editing and commissioning content.
- Working with the Chief Executive to craft appropriate messages to the workforce when in an M&A situation.
- Key part of a team delivering an all-staff global conference event.