How would you fare as a lone communicator for a company that boasts more than 200 big-box stores and 2,600 employees?
That’s the deal for Darci Herndon, director of internal communications for At Home—the “home décor superstore.” As a team of one, she reports to HR. Here are more details on At Home’s communications setup:
How is your team structured? Centralized (you do comms for the whole enterprise), decentralized (individual departments/business units operate their own comms) or matrixed (a combination)?
Decentralized. We have internal comms, investor relations, PR, and field/store comms.
What are the upsides to that structure?
Everyone remains close to their area of expertise.
This structure can limit flow of information [and] requires additional steps to coordinate.
What is your “dream” communications structure?
My dream structure would be if all aspects of communications aligned under a single umbrella, with respective resources embedded within areas of expertise, but aligned under the same leadership structure.
Which department is the most valuable to your comms team? Why?
HR is the most valuable to my role, because much of what I communicate internally is generated from HR.
What’s the best way to befriend colleagues from other departments?
Collaborate on a project to demonstrate your worth.
The best way for communicators to get a better seat at the decision-making table is …
Add value to the organization [and] deliver quality work that causes people to wonder how they ever got along without that information.