Passion and impact in internal communications

Internal communications is about more than shiny comms tools 

Attracting employees, retaining them and making them your organisation’s ambassadors is more critical today than ever before.

A strong reputation, satisfied and loyal customers… all determined by your employees. Happy employees mean happy customers, it’s as simple as that - and that’s what generates business value in the long term.

(Photo by Katie Drazdauskaite on Unsplash)

Internal communications plays a vital role in this.

Focused and courageous professionals

Almost daily, we hear that organisations are finding it harder to attract and retain the right staff, and facing increasing problems caused by the retirement of baby boomers (born 1946-1964).

Yet despite appearances, these problems aren’t inevitable and can be overcome by creating an impactful employee journey. Doing so, however, requires professionals who reach out to and connect with other business units and seek out collaboration between Communications and HR. Professionals who understand that internal communications involves more than producing ‘shiny’ communications assets on behalf of their internal clients; who are passionate about bringing together internal and employer branding, who want to listen to what is going on in their organisation and who are willing to work on improving how their organisation communicates.

Professionals with in-depth knowledge of their internal target groups and who consciously think about how to get their message across.

Consistency is key

This is because good employee journeys are built on clear, relevant and consistent messages throughout. The key word is alignment. Communications and HR need to work together to ensure that employees know what the organisation stands for, what it aspires to achieve and how it plans to get there. From there they can determine how to involve employees and encourage and help them to contribute.

In other words, employees must experience in a positive way what the organisation stands for and aspires to achieve in every aspect of their work. If they come across inconsistencies, this impacts credibility and they lose focus and motivation. The same is true for malfunctioning or outdated systems, bureaucracy or internal politics. Get rid of them! Because employees must feel that your words match up with reality, and that what you are telling them works. Achieve this, and they will respond to communications, give their opinion, pass on the message and add information where necessary.

Viewed this way, communications is shared by everyone, and the role of the internal communications professional is to influence this by facilitating relevant dialogue and making it a permanent feature of the communications strategy.

Making the business case

All this will only happen with support from senior management and, crucially, a budget for a long-term approach (money, meet mouth). Because working systematically on alignment is also a form of quality drive, from analysis to strategy and from concept to implementation, it involves measurement and correcting course where necessary. If senior management does not believe in investing in the employee journey, alignment and making them a priority – putting their money where their mouth is – there is little point in going on. You will have nothing more than a shiny but useless new tool to show for it, a pointless game for Communications or HR. And that’s a waste of everyone’s time and money.

However, if you do invest in the journey, you are opening the door to a significant opportunity. Look at the added value created by aligned employees, including financially, and the business case becomes easy to make. That helps you as an internal communications professional to move from being a producer of communications assets to a strategic advisor to the business.

Sascha Becker

As head of strategy at communications agency PROOF | internal & employer branding, Sascha Becker has inspired leading brands in both the Netherlands and internationally to turn the entire employee journey into a successful and structured employee experience. Sascha’s personal mission is to help shape the future of work and create a better, healthier future for everyone.