I’m constantly beating that ol’ drum: Everything said inside the organization goes outside the organization. Recently, I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I experience social and digital media redefining how we connect and take action in the 21st Century. An internal message is much more than some copy or concept traveling from one person to another person. Internal messages are now connecting with media, customers, and publics in profound and inclusive ways. But we’re not recognizing the powerful influence of the Internal Communications practice. I think it’s time to change that. It’s time to place the practice at the right level, and hold it accountable for business results.
Many business leaders, however, have some sort of old fashioned notion about communications. They position their internal communications team on things like, choosing the right email template for the system upgrade announcement, or facilitating the pretty poster for the mid-year review. They incent and reward the internal communications function for good spelling, brand-compliant design, and on-time delivery.
These same leaders turn around, scratching their heads and wondering why the top-line isn’t growing and why the company’s Glassdoor ratings are somewhere in the basement.
These leaders are failing to appreciate that the practice has evolved and can influence at the strategic level, in partnership with other functions. We can use communication tools to support the C-Suite’s agenda and business strategy. We have tactics to enrich conversations inside and outside. We have methods to increase connectivity and collaboration. We have ways to help people engage and advocate. We have approaches to improve customer relations.
That’s internal communications with clout.
Let’s be forward-thinking internal communicators, and focus ourselves at the enterprise level, using our tools to solve business problems.