Apart from navigating leadership styles, internal communicators also need to periodically review and curate channels that leaders use. Leaders’ channel preferences (email, face-to-face, social or video) often vary by their personality types.
As a leader’s communication matures over time and audiences express different expectations of what they prefer receiving, there are opportunities for the internal communicator to revisit, renew, relaunch and revitalize existing channels. Irrespective of the channel used, the following guiding principles can help re-shape objectives and outcomes; inclusive, timely, measurable, engaging and meaningful.
Here are some ideas to make your organization’s leader channel more relevant and in tune with the times.
1. Voice of the employee: Give visibility to staff who engage on the company’s strategy or key initiatives. Cover success stories of employee ambassadors and how they feel about being part of the organization. The leader can choose to interview an individual or a team and feature it in the channel.
2. Dialogue with managers: Once a fortnight (or whatever frequency works for the channel/staff), you can have managers talk of work they are most proud of and how they are living the values each day. Have a chat show, an online interview or a podcast based on the level of comfort your leader has with available formats.
3. Spotlight on families: Make the channel a vehicle for recognition – going beyond the workplace. Be it how families play an integral role in the organization’s contribution to the community or staff on the front-lines who win new customers and provide great service – there are always winners to showcase.
To take the channel to next level you can consider:
4. Flipping the format: Make your employees the channel hosts! Run a contest to select the presenters. Have them interview the leader in a freewheeling conversation. Or have a focus group live on your channel – be it on a enterprise social network or face-to-face, these formats can be very engaging.
5. Having an outside-in view: You can decide to ‘invite’ a set of industry experts, say from the same domain or a completely different occupation and get the leader to engage them. Reference a recent survey or a study done and what do these polls mean for real customers. Invite customers to the show, if it is allowed. These options can generate a lot of interest.
6. Inviting stakeholder viewpoints: You may want to empower the leader to capture photos and snippets during ongoing conversations with stakeholders – be it a visit to a charity that your organization supports or a client whom your business recently won. A message recorded (with relevant permissions) and played back with some context added in for good measure, will be appreciated.
As the channel matures and there is a wealth of content available, create a repository from which internal teams can draw leadership nuggets and insights. These come in handy for integrating new hires or while creating recruitment marketing kits.
Making leader channels sticky over time needs creative ideas and thoughtful execution. The goal is to sustain interest among your audiences and drive connection in ways that matter.
How have you refreshed your leader’s internal channel of communication? Share your ideas here.