5 things communicators must do to succeed

Be the corporate culture guardian, coach your leaders, and relentlessly facilitate meaningful dialogue throughout the organization.

What makes a communicator an exceptional, indispensable part of a team?

What are the most essential functions you should focus on every single day? You must be mindful of many crucial tasks, but these five should top the list:

1. Be the guardian of the corporate culture.

Employees want to have a clear sense of workplace purpose, and they want to know how their work influences where the organization is going.

Communicators should consistently share “one version of the truth” that drives clarity and alignment from the very top of the organization. This requires helping the leadership team articulate the direction of the business and create a compelling case for change.

As organizations grow in complexity, communicators should strive to identify the “common denominators” that keep diverse parts of the organization together. Find ways to unite, uplift and rally the team, and consistently crow about the unique hallmarks of your culture.

Great internal communication is about actively shaping the messages—and using your expertise to ensure that they resonate with people.

2. Coach your leaders.

Becoming a respected communicator requires courage. You must be willing to challenge leaders and boldly offer insights and recommendations. You should develop a coaching mindset.

Communicators keen on expanding their influence and authority should set expectations for leaders and managers, too. Help leaders find their own communication style, and encourage them to engage with employees in a personal and authentic way. This entails equipping leaders and managers with the talking points, tools and skills they need so they can champion corporate messages.

3. Facilitate dialogue within the organization.

Does information flow freely throughout your company? If not, you have serious, silo-smashing work to do.

Seek out employee feedback via focus groups and pulse surveys. Get people from different departments in the same room, and aggressively solicit raw feedback.

Communicators should aspire to be the “voice” of their colleagues in front of the leadership team. Create an infrastructure that streamlines dialogue between employees and the leadership team, whether through online channels or in-person events such as town halls or feedback sessions.

4. Drive continuous improvement.

Increasingly, employees expect a culture that is consistent with what they experience outside of work—which puts pressure on internal communications to deliver more personalized, visual and up-to-the-minute information.

Communicators should keep abreast of the latest channel innovations and constantly explore opportunities to deliver more relevant content. Tinker, test and try new formats and platforms, and let your team’s preferences influence and guide your decisions.

Adapt your communication style to the way people prefer to consume information, and be creative about crafting visual and bite-size content. Don’t just carry on with what you’ve always done. Tailor your efforts to your colleagues’ evolving needs and preferences.

5. Demonstrate your impact.

If you can’t prove the worth of your work, how can you gauge progress or justify keeping your job?

Impact measurement has long been a weakness in internal communication, and many organizations struggle with it. The main challenge for internal communicators is to move away from a simple metrics-based approach and understand which substantive business outcomes we want to achieve.

Internal communication measurement cannot rely exclusively on metrics such as open rates, clicks or page views. To demonstrate true impact, you must incorporate a mix of quantitative and qualitative feedback from employees—and then comes the tricky bit of implementing the changes that your colleagues want to see.

Simon Wright is a co-founder of Gatehouse. A version of this post first appeared on the Gatehouse blog.

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