The role of the internal communications executive has morphed over the past few years, as those who were once supporting players are now treated as industry leaders.
The past two and a half years have given workers the freedom and flexibility to insist on the kind of workplace in which they want to reside — one in which their employer takes a stand on issues that matter, ensures flexibility for workers and provides two-way channels for continued employee communication.
The world in which top leaders talk and people listen is over. The frontline of today demands a platform to be heard.
The human touch facilitates a two-way channel.
Enter Caitlin Corda, senior consultant at Blue Beyond . Corda explains that the workplace continues to be an important community and provides two-way interaction because management really hears what employees have to say
Corda has consulted with enterprises that range from nimble tech start-ups to well-established manufacturing organizations. She says that companies now approach Blue Beyond to request assistance on how to improve culture and employee life. Internal communicators are often tasked with deploying the technology and crafting the words to lead this charge. This is increasingly important in the world of remote work — the human touch matters more.
“Remote needs to focus more than ever on creating a real human connection,” Corda said. “Since Covid, there were and are lots of organizations that were equipped for that. The technology is there but lots of times organizations have not deployed it as a two-way channel.”
What can internal communications do?
Corda explains that employees now care more about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. This leads to purpose and meaning along with profit. Companies are expected to stand for more than making money or selling goods and services, and communicating that sense of purpose promotes worker longevity.
Motivated internal communicators in a position to communicate this purpose through various employee channels and touchpoints. Historically organizations have relied upon all-hands meetings, when leaders will tell workers what the company wants them to hear. When the meetings don’t facilitate a true dialogue, employees will either become disengaged or quit together. Employee attrition is expensive and damages reputation.
“The pandemic accelerated this,” explains Corda. “Social justice issues condensed a lot of these things happening. You have got everything from mothers with kids at home to technological shifts. Post-pandemic — how do you create moments when you cannot be in a room together? When you are together be intentional about that time.”
Corda adds that the role of internal communicators has become more important. They spend much of their time trying to orchestrate the organization. They ask themselves — are my executives happy? Do we have continuous listening tools in place and administer ongoing climate surveys? The internal team becomes responsible for high-end thinking such as testing messaging before deploying the new talk points. This is the stuff that reputation is made of.
Jennifer Mooney is an award-winning communications expert. Her senior management tenure includes the former Time Warner, ad agency communications teams, and consulting with diverse clients. She holds an undergraduate degree in Journalism (Albion College) and an MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology (Union Institute). She is the co-author of “Hope Interrupted; America Lost and Found in Letters”—a book and podcast. (Orange Fraser Press- 2021)