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How to stand out in internal communications

15/07/2013

As companies become more diverse and outsourcing, bring-your-own-device policies and other cultural shifts change how offices are formed, internal communications has never been a more challenging or important aspect of business management.

It's no longer enough to pin a few dog-eared sheets to a noticeboard beside IT manager Steve's too-depressing-for-words advertisement for his band's next gig in the Crown and Sceptre; internal communications has embraced social media, psychology, HR research and more over recent years.

However, the Institute of Internal Communication (IOIC) recently launched a new initiative as part of which various industry experts explained the most important things they have learned about internal comms over their years of experience.

Alex Aiken, executive director for government communications, told the organisation that despite the technological changes he has seen "common sense, clear measures and the encouragement of good management" remain central to how he fulfils his role.

Issues such as middle management who do not express themselves clearly, complicated communication plans with different channels and a lack of focus on changing attitudes are constants across many different organisations, he added.

Mr Aiken argued that internal comms professionals need to ask themselves three questions. Firstly, they should be certain they are contributing to business success and putting metrics in place to measure this.

Secondly, they need to ask if they "are ensuring that management is telling a coherent and simple corporate story about how individual staff can contribute to the success of their businesses", Mr Aiken declared.

He concluded that it is important to focus on things that matter and have a tangible impact, rather than getting wrapped up in the minutiae or continuing with ideas that are not playing the role they were expected to within the organisation.

So, while technological change has obviously had an impact on internal communications, it seems that practitioners also need to be aware of certain age-old concerns rather than throwing a few buzzwords around and considering their job done.

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