Internal Communication

where should internal communication sit?

I was asked an interesting question recently by Gautam Ghosh (, an organizational consultant. Where should internal communications sit as a function? Within HR or as part of a larger communications team.


This indeed is a debatable subject but research by Melcrum proves that internal communication experts can derive maximum benefit by aligning themselves closer to the businesses and to the senior leadership and not one single function.


At my previous assignment, the team was divided into centers of excellences which the entire organization used for specific domains like PR and advertising. In
India, most MNCs would follow the practice followed globally, be it a central team which manages work – which streams in from all parts of the globe or manage local communication that factors in local language and context.


I personally believe internal communication professionals must be aligned to a specific business or project and work closely with the internal teams to achieve the business objective. At a senior level one can play the role of advisor and mentor.

6 thoughts on “where should internal communication sit?

  1. First things first, hey, keep up the good work at intraskope….

    “Where should internal communication sit”…

    I agree with the thought that internal communication needs to be aligned with the business and senior leadership vis-a-vis HR. However, internal communication would have to work with all functions in the organization to ensure timely and effective communication management within the company.

    The focal point of the internal communication plan should be the specific internal audience (individual, group, department or the entire organization), the appropriate channel of communication aligned to the tactical objective of the program and driven by the core values/vision/strategic objective of the organization. Therefore, internal communication to my mind, is more an organization wide function and not limited to HR.

  2. Hi Gautam,

    You have a valid point. But organizational culture gets built by various other elements – communications is only one component.

    In fact, today, I am aware of many MNCs which have adedicated team of HR Communication professionals on board to manage specific interventions while they leverage the common pool of expertise that internal communications professionals bring to the table. For example, Performance Management, Rewards & Recognition among others.

  3. but communication is the most neglected and yet a very vital piece …

    In Dell we used to have a member of the communications team whose only responsibility was HR related Organizational communication

  4. Hi Anish/Gautam

    Interesting topic. TO me, the crux lies in the objective of the communciation channel – to whom it is designed and what is expected to achieve

    Yes, as part of effective HR pratcices in any organization, communication from HR is most sought after. And as Gautam did point out, building the OC, internal communication vehicles are used effectively by HR team

    But i would like to raise a question – how HR is different from businesss? As a professor cited, managers dont make HR decisions or finance decisions – they make business decision. From that stan point, it is who owns the function is not important – but what is delivered is more important – and the accoutnability is defined thereof.

    This is my view


  5. Twenty Mistakes Organizations Make

    Even the best organizations periodically make mistakes in dealing with people. They mess up their opportunity to create effective, successful, positive employee relations.

    They treat people like children and then ask why people fail so frequently to live up to their expectations. Managers apply different rules to different employees and wonder why workplace negativity is so high. People work hard and infrequently receive positive feedback.

    At the same time, many organizations invest untold energy in actions that ensure employees are unhappy. They ensure ineffective employee relations results. As an example, one of the most important current trends in organizations is increasing employee involvement and input.

    Organizations must find ways to utilize all of the strengths of the people they employ. Or, people will leave to find work in an organization that does.

    According to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, the number of people in the labor force ages 25 to 34 is projected to decline by 2.7 million in the next seven years. To meet this challenge, work places need to recruit new populations and non-traditional employees. And, workplaces urgently need to retain valued employees.

    The book, High Five, by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles talks about building powerfully effective teams. The book emphasizes that “the essence of a team,” according to Dr. Blanchard, is “the genuine understanding that none of us is as smart as all of us.”

    Teams allow people to achieve things far beyond our own individual ability. But teamwork also requires powerful motivation for people to put the good of the group ahead of their own self interest.

    Pull these workplace trends together and it is no wonder that the Dilbert cartoon is perennially popular. Consider that Scott Adams, the strip’s creator, will never run out of material because, despite what organizations want – or say they want – they often fail to:

    * retain valued employees,
    * develop empowered people working together to serve the best interests of the organization, and
    * create an environment in which each employee contributes all of their talents and skills to the success of organizational goals.

    The next time you are confronted with any of the following proposed actions, ask yourself this question. Is the action likely to create the result, for powerfully motivating employee relations, that you want to create?

    Twenty Dumb Mistakes Employers Make
    Here are the twenty dumb mistakes organizations make to mess up their relationships with the people they employ:

    #Add another level of hierarchy because people aren’t doing what you want them to do. (More watchers get results!)

    #Appraise the performance of individuals and provide bonuses for the performance of individuals and complain that you cannot get your staff working as a team.

    # Add inspectors and multiple audits because you don’t trust people’s work to meet standards.

    # Fail to create standards and give people clear expectations so they know what they are supposed to do, and wonder why they fail.

    #Create hierarchical, permission steps and other roadblocks that teach people quickly their ideas are subject to veto and wonder why no one has any suggestions for improvement. (Make people beg for money!)

    # Treat people as if they are untrustworthy – watch them, track them, admonish them for every slight failing – because a few people are untrustworthy.

    # Fail to address behavior and actions of people that are inconsistent with stated and published organizational expectations and policies. (Better yet, let non-conformance go on until you are out of patience; then ambush the next offender with a disciplinary action!)

    # When managers complain they cannot get to all of their reviews because they have too many directly reporting staff members, hire more supervisors to do reviews. (Fail to recognize that an hour per quarter per person invested in development is the manager’s most important job.)

    # Create policies for every contingency, thus allowing very little management latitude in addressing individual employee needs.

    # Conversely, have so few policies, that employees feel as if they reside in a free-for-all environment of favoritism and unfair treatment.

    # Make every task a priority. People will soon believe there are no priorities. More importantly, they will never feel as if they have accomplished a complete task or goal.

    # Schedule daily emergencies that prove to be false. This will ensure employees don’t know what to do, or are, minimally, jaded about responding when you have a true customer emergency.

    # Ask employees to change the way they are doing something without providing a picture of what you are attempting to accomplish with the change. Label them “resisters” and send them to change management training when they don’t immediately hop on the train.

    # Expect that people learn by doing everything perfectly the first time rather than recognizing that learning occurs most frequently in failure.

    # Letting a person fail when you had information, that he did not, which he might have used to make a different decision.

    These various ingredients add up to a recipe for disaster if you want to be the employer of choice in the next decade.

    Interested in the first five mistakes employers make to harm their relationships with the people they employ?

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