If you agree with that then, like me, you’re probably also bemused about why so many organisations do their internal communication so poorly and invest in the wrong places. It’s almost as though it’s an afterthought for senior managers who don’t really want to do it. That could be because they’ve never seen a role model demonstrate what good practice is.
Internal communication is a great example of that crusty old truism: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Many organisations concentrate their internal communication processes around a company newsletter or publication, senior executive road shows, Email messaging and an Intranet. All of these channels have little significant impact on the overall satisfaction employees have with internal communication and there is a wealth of evidence that backs up my claim.
The success measures for effective internal communication should be a bit more sophisticated and considered than ticking a bunch of boxes for producing collateral items.
Given that, then the amount of time and resource an organisation invests on internal communication using these channels should be applied elsewhere. Internal Communication Specialists should be more focused on supporting activities that have the greatest impact on the overall satisfaction of employees. Such activity generally involves senior managers interacting directly with groups of employees.
Senior management needs to own an organisation’s values and culture, as well as its vision, mission, and objectives. Consistency of message is vital in this process, as is identifying opportunities for senior managers to engage in a manner that makes a positive difference and is valued and understood by employees.
Internal Communication Specialists need to engage closely the CEO and their Senior Management team, and also with HR, Organisational Change and Learning & Development people. Real success can only be achieved if an organisation’s senior management team is committed to and actively involved in delivering the strategy. This represents a major culture change for many organisations.
Most readers of this will probably be communication practitioners who already struggle to get their senior management teams to engage constructively with communication planning. You’ve probably already figured out that electronic and printed newsletters, and a news page on your work Intranet don’t really work that well and are frustrated by a lack of engagement from your organisation’s Crowned Heads.
My advice? Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to tell your bosses that internal communication is something they need to invest their personal time in delivering and it involves a lot more than a regular snazzy newsletter.
If you’d like some more ammunition to help you build a strong and compelling case to do internal communication differently, please get in touch with me. I’d love to see your internal communication more effectively hitting its targets and may be able to help.