More speed, more impact
The fundamentals of what internal communicators do will always be the same – shaping and curating conversations.
What is changing is the landscape. In a time when companies are facing immense change and uncertainty, the role of internal communication in the change process is greater than ever before. The communicator of the future will harness employee moments of truth to influence behaviour by changing mindsets – moving away from the traditional change curve that change communication has previously been planned against.
With this in mind, smart communicators know that in 2015 they will need to adapt to change and relevantly activate the right conversations with the right audience. To achieve this, the focus will be on increasing the speed at which the organisation communicates with employees and being more effective, to ensure maximum impact.
- Internal communicators will be planning to adapt. Agile internal communication planning and implementation will be the new benchmark, where communicators will use ‘sprints’ or rounds of work to continue to move forward – testing and reassessing along the way while ensuring continuation of messaging across each ‘sprint’ as they drive conversations in the business. An agile approach to internal communication will help communicators move past traditional sequential planning and execution processes, to adaptive iterative planning that enables a quick response to unexpected change. Instead of rigidly planning for the next year or next quarter, agile communicators are equipped to plan for the next month, week, day or even hour.
- In 2015, more companies will move away from the traditional business partner role that internal communication has previously fulfilled towards a Centre of Excellence framework. A Centre of Excellence framework incorporates cross-functional teams that are employee-centric, have clearly defined roles and responsibilities, are fully accountable for their performance, and can adapt and respond quickly to unexpected change. This allows communicators to develop a clear strategy that supports and accelerates organisations’ immediate go-to-market priorities.
- Measurement becomes more agile. There is a growing trend to move away from annual employee surveys, to using measurement tools that constantly monitor organisations’ moods and conversations. This will provide internal communicators with rich data, enabling faster adaption, shorter lead times, and always-on, real-time communication.
- Where and when we have conversations is changing. Communicators will start to shift the way they use channels, so that they can facilitate employee-centric conversations. Organisations will start to introduce new channels and use existing channels differently in a way that speaks to employees in the same way they choose to have conversations outside of work. The move to mobile, social channels, which allows employees to engage with their workplace wherever they are, becomes more important than ever before.
- Increasingly, employees are an organisation’s most trusted ambassadors internally and externally – this gives rise to an increase in employee-generated video. This supports the changing role of communicators, who will no longer be the producers of content, but provide the tools for the business to be self-serviced communicators. Employees become the new storytellers across organisations – empowering employers with ambassadors who are not only advocates for the company brand but vocal brand activists.
- More than ever before, there is no separation between internal and external communications. Internal and external audiences are converging, and consumers, employees and other stakeholders have a greater ability to interact and influence on a peer-to-peer level.
Looking ahead, the internal communicator is no longer simply managing the message. In 2015, the new internal communicator is a strategic and trusted advisor who interprets the company vision and strategy, shapes conversations and facilitates change – with speed and impact.