During last month’s Ragan Communications Leadership Council member retreat at The Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California, attendees broke into groups to discuss the pros and cons of various operating structures within their organizations. As members shared how their orgs were structured, it became clear that everyone was focused on embedding comms across business functions.
Since the world changed in 2020, internal communicators began to experience some long overdue time in the spotlight as “mixternal” comms became a thing. In 2021, United Airlines realized that, in the midst of an unprecedented crisis like flight attendant furloughs, it made more sense to tell employees and the general public of the latest developments simultaneously. At the rate things were changing, employees who weren’t informed of the imminent change by their managers or leadership would find out through external channels first.
In 2022, the breadth of issues that internal communicators suddenly had to navigate expanded even more through an increased focus on employee value propositions (EVP), employer branding, employee privacy and more. As we kick off a new year, the importance of employee communications will only become more crucial to the stability and growth of your business. In the absence of a crystal ball or tarot deck, here’s where we see internal comms skills fitting in across business functions in 2023.
Working with HR
Faced with record burnout and resignations in 2022, communicators increasingly collaborated with HR to craft an EVP that outlined both the hard and soft benefits employees would receive while working at the company. P&G even offered a customized employee experience based on the needs of each person through an innovative employee app.
Whether or not an EVP will become this level of “choose your own adventure” for employees, communicators will continue to be crucial partners to HR at both stages of the EVP process. Ahead of the EVP’s construction, communicators can help HR build the surveys and touchpoints that gather data around what benefits matter most to employees. During the rollout process, communicators can broker dialogue around the introduction of any new benefits — whether that means inviting an outside expert from a benefit partner to speak to employees, crafting language and resources for managers to support the rollout, or measuring participation rates in new benefits to gauge their effectiveness.
Of course, comms will also continue working with HR to become champions of new initiatives that promote wellness and wellbeing at work. This can take many forms, too, from offering managers training around the soft skills needed to effectively have sensitive conversations to improving your business fluency around the financial terms and nuances of different wellness programs and initiatives (demystify this for your HR team and they will thank you).
Working with marketing
While the silos between marketing and PR have been disintegrating for years, a renewed focus on employer branding efforts to combat The Great Resignation (last time we’ll use that phrase this year, promise) has increasingly required internal comms and marketing to collaborate.
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