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Who’s responsible for internal communications?

by | Mar 22, 2018

Figuring out who’s responsible for communicating within a company isn’t always obvious. We were recently in a stakeholder conversation with the all of the VPs of a company. Each of the company’s employees reported up to one of these people.

Many of them seem surprised when we asked about the messaging that’s most important for their individual teams. They had been through a recent reorganization, and it was the first time that some of these managers been on the hook for communicating to their teams.

Only a small percentage of corporate managers are in their positions because of their communications background. Most folks move up the corporate ladder and become managers of people because they’re good in their field or discipline. Then they get promoted and become instantly responsible for communicating to a team – which could include a few or hundreds or thousands of employees.

In most instances, though, leaders are the primary source of a company’s communications content. They set the tone of the organization. They determine the company’s objectives. And they understand how their departments will be asked to participate. Internal Communications is one of the channels that leaders can use to convey this important information to their teams.

The number one priority of internal communications is to help align the actions of employees with the vision or business strategy that leadership is trying to accomplish. So it becomes the job of the communications organization to work closely with those leaders to build an appropriate message for the company in general and for a leader’s specific team.

Every department or organization has some role in achieving some part of the company’s goals. Because every employee was likely hired for a specific purpose, every employee should be on the hook for some percentage – however large or small – of the company’s ability to achieve its goals.

Helping employees understand how their individual role contributes to the company’s success is the key to effective internal communications. By the way, when employees are clear on how they contribute, they’re much more likely to be engaged in their work and happy in their jobs.

However, it takes a lot of effort to understand how specific messages affect individual employee groups. While most departments connect to one another in some manner, the manufacturing team will contribute to goals in a much different manner than the retail or finance organizations. The trick is figuring out how to ensure that all of these teams understand what’s going on.

This is one of the key reasons that Tribe depends on the calendar as a part of our communications plans. You can’t communicate one message to everyone and expect everyone to care or understand. After communicators have worked with leaders to figure out what their teams need to know, we map all of the company’s messages out on a calendar to give all of those messages the appropriate level of attention.

In time – months, not days – the message gets out to employees. They understand what the company is working to accomplish. They understand what their role contributes. They feel valued. They’re energized and ready to take on the world.

Need help mapping out your communications? Tribe can help.

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