With the recent US AAA credit downgrade and the global recession on everyone’s minds I felt it apt to discuss how your stakeholders and you view internal communications benchmarks.
While there isn’t a ‘one-size, fits all’ approach for internal communications it helps to step back and ask the following questions –
1. How do you want your stakeholders to perceive your team and you?
Competent? Capable? Thought leader? Predictable? Creative? Problem solver? Change manager? Partner?
2. If your organization didn’t have an internal communications function but wanted one what would be the drivers for your business case?
Keep employees informed? Aligning staff to organizational goals? Build and manage infrastructure and channels? Create capabilities in the organization? Coach leaders to be effective communicators? Support managers in their role as communicators? Improving reach? Ensuring consistency? Enhancing quality? Upholding brand standards?
3. How will you know you are successful as a function?
Knowing the value you add? Measuring the value? When stakeholders acknowledge the value you add? If there is growing interest in your services and offerings? If leaders seek more support?
When I mulled over these questions it became increasingly apparent that setting a gold standard meant thinking of internal communications in the larger context of the organization’s goals and understanding industry benchmarks. The CIPR e-book ‘A Guide to Feedback Mechanisms’ calls out that ‘achieving dialogue is a gold standard for internal communications’ and can determine an organization’s success chance.
From an organizational context I believe it hinges on the following parameters:
- The organization’s position in its journey to be a top player in the industry
- The organization’s stand on internal communication
- The various partners that support the delivery and excellence of internal communications
- The willingness to adapt to change
- The openness to accept feedback from staff
In the context of industry standards:
- The team’s skills and capabilities
- The leadership’s openness to build competencies
- Knowing the current level and strengths of the team
- Having an internal communication strategy and plan
- Supporting the team with requisite budgets and resources
- Building infrastructure to support team’s effort
What according to you are the top three reasons for the existence of an internal communications function? Share your thoughts here.