Internal Communications Needs the Right Outcomes

Gotta hit the bullseye (creative commons)

Ask a batch of internal communicators what their objectives are and you might get a batch of interesting answers.  My educated guess is that most of the time, they’ll be outputs – do “this” many intranet articles on that business unit, do “that” many issues of the newsletter – or they’ll be hopelessly general – support the benefits rollout, add value to the sales process.

To forestall such time-wasters, in the last #icchat, the Twitter-based discussion on internal communications, we focused on internal comms outcomes.  We surely can describe what happened in the chat as a chat – there were five participants (see my previous post for the musings that this fact prompted) – and we learned a fair amount. Here’s a rundown.

@CommAMMO: The topic today is outcomes — Q1: what do you consider your primary #internalcommunications end-results? #icchat

@csledzik A1: Don’t want to derail the convo by using the word but: engagement. Defined as awareness & alignment w/ org. goals & strategis. #icchat

@BaehrNecessity A1: Have to agree with Chris. Moving the needle on awareness and behavior toward organizational goals. #icchat

That was easy.  Full agreement that both awareness and alignment were critical outcomes. We’re differentiating those sort of outcomes from business results – it’s the outputs-outtakes-outcomes or outputs-outcomes-business results meme.

How do we enact those communication outcomes?

@BaehrNecessity A1: Publishing stories of employees who exemplify ideal behaviors. #icchat

@csledzik @CommAMMO Explaining strategies is a good 1st step! Needs to be current: Qrtly [interviews] of Execs reinforcing msg, noting changes. #icchat

@BaehrNecessity A1: Writing articles that break down co goals one by one, and identifying what employees can do to help co achieve each one. #icchat

@CommAMMO @BaehrNecessity Connecting employee behavior to org goals is often hardest part – esp if in non-revenue area #icchat

@csledzik On that note, pairing bonus programs/merit pay to communication is key. *IF* these programs are structured around goals/objectives. #icchat

Chris makes an important point. We need to be “all-in” with our HR colleagues to make these things stick – for some reason, many companies are reluctant to include communication skills in the portfolio of requirements for managers.  Yet, research shows that many performance issues are a consequence of poor communication.  Communication is a vital part of management.

The second question dealt with one of my major themes – connecting communication outcomes to business results.

@CommAMMO Q2: When planning #internalcommunications, how do you ensure links to business outcomes? (activities/tactics?) #icchat

@BaehrNecessity A2: Create calendar that hilites all goals/strategies & when best to communicate each. Revisit weekly/monthly to stay on track. #icchat

@Adhib A2: First, listen. Your people can tell you what implications there are #icchat

@BaehrNecessity A2: We had story database where submitter had to select related strategy at time of entry. #icchat

@BaehrNecessity A2: We also had regular employee surveys to check on engagement with key issues. #icchat

@CommAMMO @BaehrNecessity Editorial calendars are great – we struggled to keep up with the daily demands, but did lgr series time2time #icchat

@CommAMMO @BaehrNecessity Yah, the key (imo) is laying out a map that includes comms side roads – still heading to objs, but flexible. #icchat

The planning process should include end-clients of your internal comms work. Stakeholders include the leaders running the businesses you support, and their goals/objectives need representation in your process. So, too, do the ordinary employees expected to implement.

@jgombita @CommAMMO A2. Yesterday was informed during #brandchat: Perspective is communication as the overarching idea, tools are marketing/PR.#icchat

This is a very tactical view of our work, and Judy’s depression at having everything lumped together tactically is a drag! Hence, Q3:

@CommAMMO Q3 – how well integrated is your internal comms function with rest of comms? With overall org? #icchat

@csledzik Extremely well. It’s me. 😉 RT @CommAMMO: Q3 – how well integrated is your internal comms function with rest of comms? #icchat

@jgombita @CommAMMO convo started w/ person saying his marketing dept. responsible for all “messaging.” I said not all messaging was marketing #icchat

@CommAMMO @jgombita Seeing more and more orgs where head comm’n officer is “Marketing & Comms>” #icchat

@jgombita @CommAMMO that’s what I thought. But the @iabc research centre team headed up by pal Fraser Likely apparently found otherwise. Yea! #icchat

The ongoing battle between marketing and the rest of us over “control” is so much navel-gazing – many folks are disgusted with the whole process (see our friends at @CommScrum, e.g.) But @BethHarte and the integrated marketing communications people keep pushing the notion forward that marketing is supreme. Even my esteemed colleague at Kent State University, Dr. Bob Batchelor, is a devotee of the concept.

@jgombita @CommAMMO A3. my observation is it depends whether IC ultimately reports to HR or corporate communications. #icchat

@CommAMMO @jgombita @BaehrNecessity big issue w/integration is resource alloc – Media Relations sucks up $$, IntComs left scrabbling #icchat

@jgombita @CommAMMO @BaehrNecessity but “media relations” only a sub-set of #PR. (And media relations usually cheaper than advertising…). #icchat

@evamaierhofer @jgombita cheaper than advertising but the first postition to be cut when it comes to redundancies…isn’t it? #icchat

@jgombita @evamaierhofer not in my experience. More likely senior/strategic PR person cut and a more junior media relations specialist hired. #icchat

@Adhib Comms functions rank in order of potential pain for C-suite: usually customers, IR, PR, emps … got to raise emps up the list #icchat

We didn’t solve the issues, but we surfaced a ton – join us when we meet again, May 19, 10 a.m. North American Eastern Time.  And, weigh in on your “best time” for #icchat – take the poll: http://twtpoll.com/9xlkbq .

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.