Aug 1, 2013

Five keys to increasing leadership accountability for communication

Leadership buy-in and accountability are critical to any successful internal communications program. I think leaders understand that good internal communications drives employee engagement. And employee engagement is important. Yet, oftentimes they don’t understand what that means. And importantly, they don’t understand how to contribute or support such efforts.

So how do you get over the hump? I think the key is having a good discussion with leaders that gives them insights on the benefits of their increased communications accountability, as well as a practical way to move forward. Over the next few blog posts, I’ll be sharing with you five key topics to focus that discussion.

Key 1: Start with the PROOF: Leaders are motivated by other leaders, so it’s good to share points of view about communication being a leadership responsibility. Leaders and thinkers like Nitin Nohria, Steve Jobs, Colin Powell and Sheryl Sandburg are great to reference and provide great perspectives.

Leaders are also motivated by results. Anything you can provide that explains the impact of communications on success indicators such as financial and operational performance is sure to keep the conversation going. There are more valuable studies available these days than ever before. Two good ones that come to mind are the ROI Communications Benchmark and the Towers Watson 2011/2012 Change and Communication ROI Report.

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Jun 26, 2013

An internal comms response to the Edelman trust barometer

Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer revealed unsurprisingly that organizational trust continues to erode. My question is, why and what can internal communicators do about it? How can internal communications restore or at least repair trust in organizations?

A clear indication that trust is eroding is how often employees go to external sources to find authentic company information. If employees turn to external sources for information, including social media, media releases, etc., what does it say about how trustworthy the information is that they are receiving? Moreover, what does it suggest about a possible dearth of information?

One could argue that they are turning elsewhere because companies, particularly leaders and managers, are not giving them the right information, talking to them enough and are not being transparent or authentic.

In the absence of available truth, people will seek out an answer and unfortunately, it may not be the right one.

This doesn’t have to be the case.

Let’s be honest. Who really has the information about what’s happening in the company? From whom do employees consistently say they prefer to get company information? Why wouldn’t we, as companies, prefer to be the trusted source of information?

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Apr 7, 2013


I’ve worked in this industry for some time now, in a number of different environments. And I have experienced a lot. Many of the ideas I’m sharing on this blog I’ve pondered for some time now.

I’m interested in the long-term direction of our profession, internal communications. I’m interested in the opportunity to come together as leaders in the field and to get some consistent answers and points of view on things that continue to evolve our field into the direction it should go.

A few posts to definitely check out:

A few questions: How do we define who we are and what do consistently? How should we structure and organize our function for success? Who are the people we should be recruiting; the people to do the work we do in the next 3 to 5 years? There’s so much organizational change brought on by the economic change and the realization that employee communications is necessary. There is a light shining on internal communications as way for businesses to survive and accelerate. How do we capitalize on the momentum that’s happening right now?

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Mar 22, 2013

Who owns engagement… HR or Communications?

Yes, the all familiar question. I have to say, my views have evolved. I started out with a core belief that HR should own engagement. This was more or less because of my experience where HR had facilitated engagement, but it was led and implemented by the business.

Engagement, I’m defining as the ultimate measure of commitment in an organization.

The owner should always be the business. Who can foster commitment? This question is who should facilitate it, drive it or oversee it. I saw it facilitated by HR. After all, many of the outcomes of engagement focus on areas HR can influence– rewards, benefits, development, leadership capability, overall work environment and safety.

What I’ve come to realize however is that not all HR organizations are created equal. Some are more forward thinking and professionalized. Others are not. And in those cases, communications has the opportunity to be a driver for engagement because often we are the only ones that have the purview and understanding to do it – outside of HR. The advantage is that, because communications does not own the components that drive engagement, there is no bias. There is no vested interest except truly understanding where there are issues and facilitating a resolution.

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