A lot is happening around us right now. If you work in internal communications, you can play a crucial role in helping your organisation’s people make sense of it all.
So, what is the role of an internal communicator?
Traditionally, internal communicators made sure information was shared with employees, through emails, newsletters, or other means. However, times have changed.
Our profession kickstarted with public relations following the two World Wars. That’s not that long ago!
Since then, a whole range of communication disciplines has evolved, from journalism to stakeholder relationship management and internal communications. I have noticed that leaders today are more aware of just how powerful internal communications can be.
So when I talk about internal communications, what do I mean? I am not referring to the people who are sending out newsletters and emails internally. As employees, expectations have changed, and the next generation of workers will be demanding even more conversation and opportunity for input.
Internal communications, to me, is about conversations, and sharing ideas and perspectives to gain a better understanding of issues.
So where do internal communicators fit in? We are facilitators. We aren’t the ones leading the discussions. Instead, we are here to:
- Help leaders articulate their message, ensure they have what they need to have good conversations with staff and make sure any promises are followed up.
- Provide appropriate channels and platforms to share information and enable conversations across organisations and geographic locations.
- Be the eyes and ears of the people in our organisation. This means keeping abreast of what’s happening around us, understanding what this will mean for our people, and listening to the themes in conversations, questions, and concerns raised. This is followed up with regular communication with our leaders to help them decide on the messaging to share with staff to keep the conversations flowing.
So, how do the Defence Strategic Review, the Federal Budget, and the NSW Election impact our role as internal communicators?
Now is the time to be the eyes and the ears of our organisations and their people, and share what we see and hear. In the best organisations, the internal communications professional is a strategic adviser to the leader. They support the leader to keep the conversation going and ensure the appropriate topics are addressed.
As internal communicators, we have an opportunity to take strategic and pivotal events in government and demonstrate the power of the internal communications professional. We can inform and support leaders in making effective decisions and sharing this information with our organisations to create an impactful difference.
If you would like to explore the role of internal communicators further, feel free to reach out.
To discover more about what the Federal Budget means for communication professionals, register and come along to the IABC Canberra event, Federal budget, cost of living & energy crisis impact on your audiences which takes place on Monday, 22 May 2023.
Tina Chawner is the Founder and Managing Director of Yellow Hat Consulting and an IABC Canberra Board member.