by | Mar 12, 2019

Sometimes you need outside help

Even when you have a talented team of communications professionals in house, there are times when you might need to consider hiring an internal communications agency. Sometimes that’s because there’s just more say-to-day work than you can get your arms around. Other times there’s a one-time need for an agency to tackle a single issue.

Is your company going through significant change?

When your company goes through major change, like an acquisition, a significant re-org, a new CEO or something else that makes employees nervous or threatens engagement, you might want an agency’s help to give employees the communication they need. On the other hand, there could be external change that requires more focused communications, like new regulations or tariffs that impact your industry. Or perhaps your company is struggling to attract enough job candidates to keep up with the growth of the business and attrition through retirement of older employees. (For best practices in change management communications, you might like this Ragan post.)

How can hiring an internal communications company help?

For one thing, they’ve probably seen this issue, whatever your issue is, before. Although your employees’ point of view and your company’s culture will be unique, the challenge itself is probably something your agency will have addressed with other large companies. The learning they’ve gained in past engagements can help them move more quickly toward solutions for yours.

It also helps to have an outsider’s view. When you’re entrenched in your own culture and the details of your specific business challenge, it’s sometimes difficult to get perspective. Hiring an internal communications company can be the most efficient way to see the forest for the trees. An experienced agency will be able to quickly identify some of the key dynamics the employee population is experiencing and to offer thoughts on how to address that.

Choosing the right agency for you

Hiring an internal communications agency means choosing someone who can be a true partner. You want them to make your life easier, not harder. When you’re talking with potential agencies, these are a few points you might consider:

Experience: Have they worked with companies your size before? Have they worked in your industry, or with employee populations similar to yours? If you have a lot of manufacturing employees, or engineers, or PhDs, ask if they’ve worked with that particular audience before.

Senior Talent: Who will work on your account? You might meet the principals of the agency in the pitch, but will you ever see them again after you award them the business?

Strategy + Creative: Be clear about your needs, in terms of coming up with a strategic approach to communications and actually creating the online content, videos, publications, digital signage or whatever channels will get the message to the people. In most cases, you’ll want an agency that can do both well.

Technology Agnostic: Be careful about hiring a company that offers only one solution, like a particular platform or technology. Remember the old adage about if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Ask about the various channels they’ve used before, and look for a wide range across the technology spectrum, from sophisticated online solutions to decidedly low-tech options.

Chemistry: Life is too short, and most internal communications projects go on too long, to work with people you don’t enjoy. Make sure you feel comfortable with the people who will be on your team. When the chemistry is right, the relationship between client and agency can be an immensely rewarding one.

Interested in hiring an internal communications agency? Maybe Tribe would be the right fit for you.

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