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Why are Internal Communicators Always on the Ball?

Internal communicators are often a small tribe in organizations and are expected to juggle multiple responsibilities and relationships. These range from driving small initiatives to leading large companywide campaigns. The responsibilities can also include maintaining infrastructure or communicating periodically. The assignments can vary in their intensity and impact and most of the time internal communicators are always ‘on’ – either thinking up insights, mulling over lessons from the last campaigns or contemplating the next intervention. From their vantage point they are also privy to how the rest of the organization functions and sometimes it can lead to simple comparisons to dramatic asks. Here is a case of one internal communicator – Prakash – who notices that ‘others’ are having a good time while his team is always on the go.

Prakash completed his second year as an internal communicator with Graph Ltd., a well known manufacturing firm and as he reflected on his daily tasks he couldn’t help compare his job with his peers in other departments. They always seemed to have loads of time to spare, enjoy copious amounts of tea and coffee, take leisurely strolls around the campus and had very relaxed deadlines for their projects. He felt that staff in the IT organization had it really good since their projects involved developing a product and that took long and they could pace their lives. He wanted to clarify this with his manager and get a clear understanding of why some teams had a great time while the internal communications team slogged it out.

Prakash: “Raju, I had a topic my mind for a while and wanted to talk to you about it. Can we speak now?”

Raju: “Sure, let’s talk. What’s it Prakash?”

Prakash: “I am not sure if I am in the right job but our internal communications work seems never ending. Also, I notice other staff from the IT and other teams in the company always in the cafeteria catching up over beverages. It gives me a feeling that we are either overloaded or that other teams don’t have enough to do!”

Raju: “Hmm. That’s an interesting observation. Why do you think we are overloaded? How are you sure that the other teams don’t have enough to do?”

Prakash: “We either have some campaign running or maintain communication just to keep staff connected. There isn’t really a lag time for us. We are always on the ball. I am not saying less work is better but it makes me feel that things aren’t fair across the board. I can’t say for sure that other teams don’t have enough to do but in my casual conversations with other team members I gather that they have enough lead and lag time. So am wondering if we are really doing it right?”

Raju: “Well, the internal communications function is usually small as a percentage to other teams and the overall organization and that means that we aim to make a bigger impact with the resources available. So everyone does stretch and make things work. You are measured on what you do finally. Does that clarify?”

Prakash: “Well…hmmm….I am definitely interested in what we do…but…..anyway thanks for sharing your thoughts.”

  • How can you help Prakash make sense of what is happening around him?
  • What advice will you give him?
  • How can Raju, his supervisor handle his demoralized team member?

2 thoughts on “Why are Internal Communicators Always on the Ball?

  1. Hi
    Personally, i have not faced this kind of situation till date. There are months when i am loaded with work and then there are times when i have to look out for work:) ( though I have my daily tasks to be performed). Every morning, he should make a to do list and at the end of the day he should check whether the tasks have been completed or not.He should dedicate each day of the week to certain activities and tasks. Prakash should start organizing and prioritizing his daily tasks.For eg: if he is running a campaign, he should send communication or conduct roadshows one at a time. If he plans to send teasers before the launch of the campaign, he should send them at a frequency of 2 per week. As a result, he will not be loaded with too much work and also the audience will not be bombarded with communication. Since Prakash has a team, the work load can be divided as per the skills. This will help the team save time as it will avoid duplication. They should also develop a Communication calendar which covers aspects like: Type of activity, audience, owner, time of the year, frequency, channel of communication. The calendar should also include HR and Organizational initiatives where in the team will be extended their support.

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