Blogroll Internal Communication

“My Team Isn’t Getting Visibility. Let us do a Newsletter!”

Tanmay, the Internal Communicator is facing a dilemma. Anita, the IT Division Head invited him for a discussion to build visibility for her team with a newsletter and it stumped him. If he agreed to her request it would trigger similar requests from other internal teams. If he disregarded the request he will be perceived as an uncooperative team member.

Here is how the conversation shaped up.

Tanmay: “Hi Anita, you mentioned that your team required visibility. How can I be of help?”

Anita: “Yes, Tanmay. Ever since I took over this role I notice that the IT Division isn’t getting enough mileage for the work we do. Staff in the group and the rest of the company isn’t aware of all the projects we handle and also there is no ‘spotlight’ on us”.

Tanmay: “Can you explain more about what you meant by ‘visibility’?

Anita: “Look, our team is crucial to the organization’s success. We are the backbone of the company and keep the lights on, literally. However, we don’t seem to get any coverage .We believe we can publish a newsletter every month. That way, we can tell our story and all staff gets to know what work is on hand.”

Tanmay: “Can’t you use the company’s newsletter – Spark to share your updates as when you have one? We also have our internal social media platform – Evolve where you can post your updates. Have you considered trying that?”

Anita: “No one reads Spark! My gut feeling is that no one even glances at it. Evolve is better but people don’t go online unless they are driven to that page. This newsletter will drive traffic to the site.”

Tanmay: “What do you expect the newsletter to cover?”

Anita: “Everything about IT – our team, our work, the projects, our staff’s hobbies and interests, fun and games”.

Tanmay: “ Isn’t that too much information? Won’t that be overwhelming for your staff?”

Anita: “You need to either handle it or let me do it my way. Your team only supports the leadership and don’t help us get visibility”.

At this point Tanmay gauged that Anita didn’t sound very pleased with the support his team provided and decided to come back later with a solution to her need.

I invite you to think about Tanmay’s dilemma and share your perspectives.

  1. What do you think Tanmay’s strategy needs to be what choices does he need to make?
  2. How can he address this issue before it escalates into a full blown disaster for the Internal Communications team?
  3. What can Tanmay do differently when he is confronted by such requests?

Look forward to your comments and in my next post we will revisit what Tanmay can do to get back his mojo.

5 thoughts on ““My Team Isn’t Getting Visibility. Let us do a Newsletter!”

  1. Nice post and something that I have come across myself. Personally I would provide evidence of the effectiveness of company wide channels and provide a comms plan which provides regular opportunities for the IT team to get exposure within them throughout the year. I may also look at developing a single annual piece of communication, directly from the IT team designed to give them more freedom over the messages. I look forward to your follow up post.

  2. This isn’t a new subject and as always, variables such as the size and complexity of the organisation, level of systems already in place (and how well they’re embedded into day-today WoW) already existing channels and culture would impact the most effective way for Anita to talk to the business.

    It’s important that information is communicated through the right channels and I think a quick win would be for Tanmay to take the request away and respond quickly with a list of existing channels, the pros and cons of each and one or two simple, low cost alternatives to spark further conversation. Most importantly, show that you’re already engaging with other business partners demonstrate sincerity and intent to heighten IT visibility.

    Perhaps Tanmat could work with Anita to improve the Spark newsletter if it’s not serving it’s purpose then this could be the catalyst needed to refresh it. If the organisation’s large enough, perhaps specific IS/IT, commercial and finance newsletter’s (as broad an audience as possible) may be a better approach.

    Also what about the intranet? It’d actively involve Anita’s function and is easy to assign ownership to functions to manage their own content.

  3. Any support function, faces this problem. In my organization what worked well was having a IT customer day. Here you will not only educate employees on the services you provide, but gain a lot of visibility.

  4. A great post – this is a dilemma that I face nearly every month – in fact I have a meeting with a team to discuss having a newsletter tomorrow. I completely agree with the other posts. I generally approach these meetings with a draft comms plan which shows the various mechanisms which we already have in place. I find that the team members are quite responsive towards this and together we go through each action discussing the benefits. I find that it’s also very helpful to take along some stats (from any internal comms audits) that may show that staff generally don’t have time to read numerous newsletters. In a recent meeting with a team a couple of months ago, who were quite adamant that they wanted a newsletter, I went along with a mock up of how they could utilise their intranet page and make it more interactive rather than a static newsletter. They loved it. If teams are determined to have a newsletter than I ask them to do a quick focus group/telephone survey to see what other staff say. If it goes ahead then we monitor the readership by our regular audits – almost 100% of the time you find that staff are not reading this additional newsletter and the team do end up following the original comms plan that was initially presented.

    Really looking forward to the next post.

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