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2018: Internal Communications' year?

23/03/2018

The latest addition to the EMR family, Max Forsyth, writes about the importance of internal communications and the bottom line...

I was speaking to a candidate this week who gave me a brilliant example of when internal communications works well. The majority of delivery drivers at Yodel are self-employed and in an industry where margins are tight and customer satisfaction scores keep you awake at night, you could be forgiven for thinking senior leaders would spend little time contemplating the benefits of internal communications.

Except they did. Yammer, the social platform for work, was rolled out and the CEO embarked on a UK tour of the company's depots, filming videos and tours with colleagues as he went. As a result both driver engagement and satisfaction increased. 

Last year, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations produced a report showing more CEOs across multiple sectors now view internal communications as key weapon in their armoury. No other function is able to reach all corners of a business and a good internal communicator is able to take complex, technical and often quite dry information and turn it into engaging content that can be understood by the whole workforce.

Good internal communicators are great at making impactful noise about positive events whether it is a strong financial performance or a new incentive programme. Where excellent internal communicators come into their own are when bosses need to deliver bad news. A communicator is the CFO’s mouthpiece when they announce a fall in profits, they are the COO’s voice when they reveal redundancies. 

When times are tough it is easy for leaders to look at the bottom line and forget about the thoughts and feelings of those who are capable of helping them move from red into black — the employees. But an already anxious workforce is only made less productive, less profitable and more likely to jump ship if communication is lacking.

When times are good, those same employees can be spurred on to greater heights if they know what the business is doing and where it is heading. They are happier, they believe in the organisation and they want to see greater success.
It is true that internal communications has its challenges. How do businesses effectively engage with increasingly mobile workforces? How do they trim the fat off hefty messages to deliver instant compelling messages, fast? How do internal communications teams keep up with the rapid pace of developing in digital tools on often tight budgets?

But these challenges should be seen as a positive — the communications function, historically dominated by external communications and PR, has a new big player and is 2018 the year internal communications gets the recognition it deserves? 

 

Max recruits communications and investor relations roles. Find out more about him here. 

 

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