‘My senior leadership group really GETS the need for internal comms’ (said no IC manager, ever)
You know the drill – you get called in at the last minute to help out with some wording for a vital piece of employee comms. Through gritted teeth, you write the text, knowing full well you could have created something far more powerful if you’d been involved from the beginning of the project. Creating internal comms strategies is your team’s secret power. But how do you get on the senior leadership team’s radar – let alone persuade them to include internal comms (IC) from day one?
Internal communications can play a major role in helping leaders achieve their goals. And you can be most effective when leaders understand this and involve you from the beginning of projects in an active partnership.
So how can you get your leaders to recognise the true value of internal comms?
Be savvy about your skillset
Thankfully, the conversation around internal comms IS getting louder. IC pros no longer have to sit in the background. In fact, you could say we’re the new influencers. Yes, we’re strong writers – but we’re more than that; we’re also business partners and trusted advisors.
To boost the perceived value of internal comms in your organisation, you need to know your worth. Here are just a few ways that IC adds value:
One step ahead
Internal comms teams actively listen to employees, so we can often see how to avert a crisis. If, for example, there are gaps in knowledge or engagement, or poor morale. Having this inside track means we’re best placed to proactively plan a comms strategy to support problem areas – before others even know the issues exist.
Always horizon scanning
We constantly horizon scan to learn about the latest comms trends and innovations. We check out new techniques and tech, and evaluate how they may add value. And we learn from and participate in thought leadership.
Keep it personal
We apply skills like audience segmentation to ensure leaders reach the right audience in the right way – and at the right time. It’s not just about delivering content, it’s about encouraging employees into a two-way dialogue.
Allergic to TMI
Leaders want to communicate and employees need to receive relevant, timely information – IC helps balance the equation. We know that if you bombard people with too many messages, they’ll just ignore them. A study by Gartner found that 27% of employees and 38% of managers feel overwhelmed by information overload. On the other hand, not sending enough comms can lead to mistrust. Leaders should see their IC team as the filter, advising them on how to turbocharge their messaging.
Support under pressure
We have the insight to coach senior leaders and help them prep for stressful moments, so their presence and impact is appropriate and effective. We can, for example, help them rehearse for the big moments, predicting trick questions and offering suitable responses.
Measure up for insight
We can also measure their success because one of IC’s secret powers is understanding metrics, and monitoring reach and engagement. This makes us pros at addressing gaps through repetition, refined messaging or new tactics.
Driving force for engagement
Like numerous other studies, recent research by the Institute of Internal Communication found that companies with a dedicated IC team are associated with higher levels of employee engagement. What’s more, employees are less likely to jump ship than at companies without an IC team. Our comms nous helps keep employees engaged, connected, happy and motivated.
Improve the lines of communication
There’s also the work we do in the background, such as partnering with HR to train and support line managers in becoming better communicators. Employees like to hear company news from their immediate manager. So, it’s vital managers are skilled at delivering news – whether good or bad.
Shout to the top
So, we know how your team adds value. But how do you use this to influence senior leaders?
We believe one way is simply by making their life easier – for example, by providing them with tailored advice or a comms toolkit. But you can also show them what can go wrong if they don’t involve IC, such as how trying to hide bad news can create a toxic ‘smoke and mirrors’ environment.
Also, start building your thought leadership profile outside of work. Post and comment on LinkedIn, for example, sharing opinions on internal and external topics. Show leaders what can be achieved through positive engagement.
Being seen as an expert in your field will get you noticed by your senior leaders. And that will help you get a seat at the table at the beginning of projects. Before long, you’ll be using your years of experience to work with your senior leadership team to create powerful comms strategies and plans.
Ready to take a look through Fresh eyes?
Does all this sound all too familiar? Our team has tonnes of experience in helping IC pros demonstrate their true value to senior leaders. And we love sharing our ideas. Get in touch at email@example.com to find out how we can help you raise your profile with your leaders.