How do we get management to think of internal communications as a valuable role in the company? This is a question that we commonly hear at Tribe. I was speaking at a conference earlier this month, and three people asked the question in various ways. The answer? Make your work valuable to management.
Writing and posting the company newsletter and building awareness around open enrollment are things that internal communications folks do. If leadership sees your role as the one who does things, they are always going to think of you this way – tactical. It’s important to be adept at executing tactics in a quality way. But this doesn’t satisfy the quest of making your work more valuable to the company.
To Tribe, the role of internal communications is to align the day-to-day actions of employees with the stated vision of the company’s leadership. In most of our client conversations we position this as the mission of the internal comms team. It helps us define and prioritize the work that we do inside that company.
Running a communications organization using this type of discipline makes the work a bit more complex and daunting, but it also makes it significantly more interesting. In order to satisfy the mission, we have to clearly understand the organizational vision and business strategies. We have to understand the physical reality of every employee: Are they sitting behind a desk? In teams on a manufacturing floor? Driving a forklift in a distribution center? Making sales in a retail store? And we have to understand how each these roles helps the company achieve its goals.
By the time we’re immersed in the vision and the roles of the various employee segments, it’s much easier – or at least more likely – to develop communications that actually help align employees. That newsletter can educate teams on various parts of the strategy. It can mitigate silos and allow team members to collaborate more effectively. It can help employees find the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently, waste less time and be more productive. This immersion also makes it easier to determine ways to measure progress and demonstrate value to leadership.
Approach this role with a focused mission and you’ll become an irreplaceable part of the organization. When the communications team becomes the connection between leadership vision and employee actions, the communicator’s role will not only be valuable, it will be indispensable.
Interested in exploring ways to use communication to align employee actions with organizational vision? Tribe can help.