There’s never been a better time to elevate the internal communication function to a role that focuses less on churning out news and information and more on improving strategy execution and business results. It’s doable, but it requires thinking and acting more boldly and broadly than before.
Most internal communication functions are cost centers. They spend money informing employees, but have little to no impact on making money, saving money or influencing what’s important to shareholders and customers.
Most business leaders believe that in commercial enterprises, no department or function should be immune from adding value, and that internal communication departments need to step up and contribute.
“Our communication people are worried about the wrong things,” a marketing senior vice president at a pharmaceutical company said. “They worry about click-throughs, opens, mentions, share of voice, awareness and retweets. I’m worried about sales and gross margin. Where can I find communication people who can help us improve our business?”
Many internal communication practitioners are aware of their reputation. A Poppulo survey of communication employees last year and found that many believed they 1) aren’t perceived as adding value, 2) have the wrong priorities and 3) lack competencies needed to affect business results.
While social media have improved internal communication flow and speed in many organizations, it’s also become the shiny bright object that’s relegated many internal communication practitioners to tactical roles that have little to no effect on business performance. The main difference is that tactical work has become digitized.
Some communication functions have begun the journey. They’ve made significant improvements in quality, service delivery, sales, productivity, safety and turnover.
FedEx was an early adopter. Their communication leaders and Dave Bronczek, FedEx’s CEO, teamed up to improve export sales....
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