Internal influencers reach more employees than the boss

Key employees have a greater influence on their colleagues than do senior leaders, research shows.

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At a company where I once worked, the president rebuked my plan for communicating an organizational change designed to ensure everybody knew about it. “If I want to make sure everyone knows something,” he said, “I know exactly which five secretaries to tell.”

He succumbed to the idea that admins are inherently gossips, an offensive perspective, and his failure to adopt a strategy for communicating led to a widespread lack of awareness about the change. But he was actually on to something. The idea of the right five people has a lot of merit.

I don’t encounter many internal communications departments that include internal influencers in their plans. If you know who they are, and whom they influence, though, tapping into these employees as a discrete audience can support, accelerate, and expand your internal reach.

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