Due to the impact of Covid-19, a changing channel landscape (Yammer, Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc.), increased focus on employee experience, and a need for more insights to measure success, many organizations have been forced to rethink their priorities in just the past year or two.
With these changes to the landscape of internal communication come changes to the role and value proposition of internal communication. At this point, Internal Communication has momentum.
“We have a golden opportunity to firmly position ourselves as a strategic partner to top management. “
But to do so, we need to overcome some challenges: poor involvement in decision-making, lack of structure within our internal communications teams, and internal technology not fit for purpose. Additionally, we sometimes struggle with leaders who do not yet buy in to the importance of communicating with employees. And then there’s the resource issue—admitting that we don’t have the right resources to realize all of our ambitions and do everything that we can and should do – is hard to accept.
“The only way forward is with the right insights and with the right strategy in hand. “
I can talk about this from my personal experience over the past eight years as VP Internal Communications for a global engineering company. We started out with absolutely nothing but managed to create a well-running internal communication department. We went from being a small team of three people to a team of ten talented and skilled experts in just a few years, which was respected by the entire organization for the results we achieved together. This was only possible because of the strategy we created from the beginning and used as our guiding star throughout all these years.
Be seen as a strategic business partner
With the right strategy, you get a solid foundation for being heard and taken seriously by any top manager in your organization. You will basically go from being seen as a copywriting department to a strategic business partner, much like how we see HR or IT today (and we all know how many people they have). You just need a clear strategy and a clear link to your business goals.
Save time and push back
Even if you have a brilliant strategy document, you’ll always have tasks like creating an internet article, doing a PowerPoint presentation, or supporting intranet training. These are all tasks that need to be done. But I see a lot of colleagues across organizations getting stuck in this hamster wheel, repeatedly buried in operational work. This will not happen if you have a strategy.
“Having a strategy allows you to clearly show what fits into the strategy and allows you to push back on what doesn’t fit.”
How to get started
Open Communication have been supporting clients by developing their strategies for many years and now I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to bring our expertise together in a streamlined process we call the Three pillars of successful Internal Communication.
With our new process we look at how internal communication works and is perceived in your organization (IC Insights). Based on the findings, we work with you on developing a business case and a long-term strategy (IC Strategy). Then we help you identify what resources you need and train your team to deliver on that strategy (IC Execution).
Get it done in a timely way
On a final note, if you are starting to develop or refresh your strategy, having a third-party involved in your process makes it more valid. It can be frustrating to admit, but an external view on internal matters is often perceived as more trustworthy, especially by senior management. I recommend a clear timeline with an end-to-end duration of not more than 100 days, and a professional partner to run the strategy process for you. This creates the best results!
You’re welcome to contact me if you have any questions or are interested in developing or refreshing your strategy.