How can internal communication create more value to the business? What will empower leaders and employees to deliver better results?
Delighted to share that the 15th edition of Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series comes from Denmark featuring Ulf Fensten Madsen of Danske Bank. In his interview, Ulf talks of the growing importance of internal communications as a function and the role communicators play in engaging the workforce. Also, the skills that are needed to be successful in the role.
Ulf (39) has worked with internal communication, change communication, leadership communication and corporate communication for the past 15+ years. He has been an advisor of executives in leading global businesses in the medtech, utility and financial services industries. Most recently, he worked as the Head of Internal Communication at Nets from 2015-18, a leading provider of digital payments infrastructure and solutions in the Nordics, which was taken public in 2016. Today, he works as a senior consultant at Danske Bank in Copenhagen.
- What does internal communication mean to you?
Big question. In short, I’d say it is by far the most exciting discipline within the field of communications that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. It’s also a discipline undergoing rapid development and becoming increasingly more mature and appreciated in businesses globally. What I like about it in particular is that you get to interact with so many people in almost every part of an organization. So you need elaborate people skills in addition to your professional traits as a communicator.
- Please share an example/campaign that you are personally proud of working on and that made a significant impact to your organization.
In my view, the value of internal communication ultimately lies in its ability to help a business or organization deliver the results it is after. In order for a business to be able to deliver results, you need to set a clear direction for the people working in it. A couple of years back, my team and I were tasked with the challenge of launching a new 3-year strategy to the entire organization. While we put a lot of hard work into preparing the launch, we were surprised to see the awareness levels and the belief in the new strategy our work had helped secure. We surveyed the launch amongst nearly 800 leaders and employees scoring in the high 80’s and 90’s with regards to awareness, understanding and belief in the strategy.
- What is the biggest challenge you face while going about managing internal communication?
If managing refers to the role of heading a team of highly skilled internal communicators, I guess one of the bigger recurring challenges is being able to put your team priorities and the projects you’re working on into a bigger context. This applies especially when you’re working in companies undergoing massive change, which I’ve had the pleasure of doing for many years now.
- What according to you is the biggest opportunity that internal communicators have?
Move closer to the business.
- How can internal communicators add more value to the business?
Similar to discussions amongst HR professionals, that appears to be a question we’re constantly asking ourselves as internal communicators. Personally, I don’t believe there’s any one answer to that question. But coming back to what I said before, internal communicators can add value to the business by helping to engage people in the businesses and organizations we work for around the delivery of business results. Exactly how we do that will differ from company to company and the situations they are in.
- What is your advice for people who are keen to join internal communication and make a career? What skills must they have or develop?
Besides their professional skills as communicators, I’d say that excellent social skills, empathy and integrity will get you far. A high degree of curiosity won’t hurt either.
Missed previous stories from organizations featured on the Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series? Look them up here – Infosys, SOBHA Ltd., ICICI Securities, First Advantage, CK Birla Group, TVS Motors, GE, Suzlon, Tata Sons, Percept, Knight Frank, TCS Europe, Vedanta and Oxfam.
If you are an internal communication leader working in a firm or a not-for-profit anywhere in the world and have an internal communication case study, campaign, research insight or a guest blog post to share please contact me on [email protected]