In the world of internal communications, we seem to spend a lot of our time re-hashing the same issues. We’ve been round the houses with issues like professionalisation, gaining senior staff buy-in, and measurement, seemingly stuck in a rut of talking about the same issues in the same way. So, how could we move this forwards?
by Jenni Kampf
I think the answer is to start thinking more strategically about internal communications. We, as internal communication professionals, need to view our practice as a key way to enable our organisations to deliver their strategic priorities. Positioning internal communications as integral to and aligned with organisational strategy helps it to be viewed as part of this wider organisational narrative.
Here are five ways to help position internal communications within your organisation:
1. Aiign with organisational strategy
Ensure that your internal communications strategy and plan are aligned with your broader organisation strategy. Identify and address the strategic priorities of the wider organisation through your internal communications.
It can be particularly effective to think about how your internal communications measures could contribute to your organisational objectives.
2. Reflect the outside on the inside, and vice versa
Gone are the days of a clear distinction between internal and external communications – we work for one organisation, and need to offer a consistency of experience for our employees and customers alike.
As this line will only become more blurred, it’s more important than ever to think about consistent messaging and narrative in both internal and external communications. This will also strengthen that narrative.
For example, if you have an objective to increase the use of public transport in your area, you have a great opportunity to help staff to also do this – run campaigns, incentivise staff to use public transport, reflect what’s happening in the external campaign for your employees.
3. Be brave
This definitely falls under the category of ‘easier said than done’, but it pays to take a calculated risk every so often. I’m a firm believer of it being better try something and it not to quite work out, rather than not trying it at all.
4. Be creative
Being busy sometimes means we default to the way something has always been done, rather than the best way to deliver our objectives – creativity takes time and space.
If we keep doing things the same way, how can we expect a different result?
Try and schedule in time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, away from the demands of office and an ‘always on’ and ever-growing inbox. I used this approach as a team manager, and scheduled time in my calendar for me and my team to focus on specific challenges. It worked really well – and delivered some great and unusual solutions.
5. Take care of yourself
The adage that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is particularly apt. Remember to take care of yourself, your physical and mental health. Stress is nobody’s friend and taking on too much (or attempting to build Rome in a day) is a sure-fire way to burn out. Slow and steady wins the race!
Realigning your internal communications is neither a quick nor an easy win, but it can deliver real benefits for your organisation – and really help you to change the conversation around internal communications.
If you want to find out more hints and tips about how to ‘change the conversation’ around internal communications, the CIPR Inside conference this year (on Tuesday 8 October in Birmingham Town Hall) will give you loads of tips and strategies for doing just this.
And there is a special comms2point0 discount code to receive 10% off the ticket price – quote comms2point010
Jenni Kampf is senior internal communications officer at Cardiff University
Image via Florida Memory