The internal communications profession is incredibly rewarding. Bringing teams together using the power of words, aesthetically pleasing design, and a strong organizational culture is, frankly, a beautiful thing.
However, sometimes the perception of what we do as internal comms professionals is so inaccurate it can get a little frustrating to deal with it.
No, we’re not in charge of ordering cakes for the office party. And no, although newsletters are super important, our day-to-day doesn’t just revolve around putting together the employee newsletter.
For that reason, it’s time we give some of these internal communications myths the busting they deserve.
The myths and misconceptions below reflect some of the conversations we’ve had with peers in the industry, some of our clients and other internal communications experts.
Busting Internal Communications Myths
Myth #1: Internal Comms Pros Are Party Organizers
In a recent article for PR Week, Elaine Ng, head of communications at Philips ASEAN Pacific, explained how the internal communications profession is highly underrated, adding that this perception of IC as “writing newsletters and once in a while you organize an employee get-together” is extremely inaccurate.
“The internal communications role is more than just about writing newsletters, messages from the management team and the occasional party-organizer. It’s about staying close to not just your organization’s senior leaders but all rank and file. And staying true to everyone here.” – Elaine Ng, Head of Communications at Philips ASEAN Pacific
Busting the myth: As Ng says, although the role of internal communicators requires them to be social–staying close to influencers of all rank and file–they are not in charge of parties.
Their role, instead, is to get an accurate sense of employee engagement levels, being aware of the conversations among employees, and use this information to drive business performance.
As internal comms expert and consultant Rachel Miller puts it, the purpose of internal communication is to create a shared understanding and meaning–”only when this happens can employees work together towards a company’s goals.” Part of that role will undoubtedly drive you to be more gregarious.
Myth #2: IC Can’t Really Be Measured
In my life as a marketer and now in internal communications, I’ve always been frustrated when people say that you can’t really measure your internal communications strategy.
Luckily most of the people who’d say something like that don’t work in the industry but I’m always surprised when I interact with peers who think you have to “trust your gut” or “just feel it” to see if an internal comms campaign was successful or not.
Busting the myth: Everything can be measured! Listen, I love the Malcolm Gladwell idea of trusting your gut, but imagine how more effective you could be if you combined your super sharp intuition with objective measurable metrics.
By taking advantage of some of the tools available for internal communicators today you can empower your team to track the right metrics and really see how your different campaigns are actually performing.
What’s more, by tracking the right KPI’s (key performance indicators) you’ll see exactly what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and consequently, be able to send better communications.
What to track? We recently wrote an article about making sense of internal comms data but you can start by measuring open rates, link clicks and location. Wherever you are now it’s not too late to start! Tracking and analyzing your internal communications at a granular level will allow you to see what resonates best with your employees so you can create content they love consuming.
Myth#3: IC is a Nice-To-Have, Not a Necessity
Another big example of internal communications myths is that it’s not really a necessity like, say, sales, marketing, or customer success. Yet, studies show that companies with influential internal communications teams outperform those without (more on that below).
Busting the myth: Contrary to Internal communications myths, IC is important because it brings everyone together on the same page. By having everyone headed toward the same agreed upon goal you can reduce confusion and get rid of any process that creates friction. (For any executives reading, yes, of course, all of this affects business performance.)
“Any approach toward internal communications should not come at the tail end of the process, nor is it an optional add-on,” writes on Forbes Josh Ong, director or marketing and communications at Cheetah Mobile.
“Internal communications should be front and center, clearly articulated for the organization as a whole. In order to have a united front externally, there needs to be education and understanding internally,” he adds.
Beyond uniting the whole company behind a shared message, internal communication also has a great impact on the bottom line.
“Effective internal communication is a powerful force that leads to a 40 percent increase in customer satisfaction, a 30 percent increase in profitability, and a 36 percent increase in the overall performance of a company,” a report about the importance of internal communications from Staffbase found.
I don’t know about you, but a strategy that results in a 30 percent increase in profitability doesn’t sound like a nice-to-have, that’s a must-have!
What Would You Add?
These are just some of the biggest Internal Communications myths we’ve encountered that bring frustration to internal communicators. What else would you add? Please comment below or tweet to us!