Covid-19 comms Employee Advocacy Employee Communication Trends

Video Interview | Anuroopa Pereira | Building Employee Advocacy Through Internal Communications

Presenting the 37th edition of Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication SeriesfeaturingAnuroopa Pereira. Watch the complete video interview on You Tube or read the transcript below. Anuroopa heads Corporate Communications at Applied Materials India and has over 15+ years of local and international experience in managing public relations campaigns and analyst relations programs for Fortune 500 companies in India and Asia Pacific and Japan. That apart, she has worked closely with senior executives and led communication, social media and media training initiatives for leaders. With her experience as a PR executive and managing global brands she can multi-task and manage diverse situations. Learn more from her in this interview. 

Interview

  1. What does internal communication mean to you?

To me, internal communications is the ability to communicate the essence of the brand to employees consistently.  It is a very critical role/practice in any organization. It allows communicators to use various tools and strategies to connect with the most valuable stakeholders – ‘our employees’.

2. How is it practiced in your organization?

At Applied Materials, internal communications is used to keep employees informed of what’s happening throughout the company and our industries, showcase best practices, and demonstrate our values. We use various ways to execute our internal communications, including All Hands (employee town hall/address), portals/apps, TV displays, posters and small group or one-on-one communication.

3. What is the biggest challenge you face while going about managing internal communication?

There is a common misconception that communications means event management. The challenge therefore is to showcase the actual value of communications and the entire gamut of tools and technologies used to communicate the messages.

4. What according to you is the biggest opportunity that internal communicators have?

By virtue of internal communications being a critical role in an organization, it brings a lot of opportunities and responsibilities. The biggest opportunity according to me is to be the voice of the leaders, convey core brand attributes, run campaigns that truly matter to the organization, and be the voice of employees at strategic forums. 

5. How can internal communicators add more value to the business?

Employees are the greatest asset of any organization. The role of an internal communicator is extremely important, especially in a large organization. In times when companies are undergoing business transformation or change, internal communications can help with change management, and serve as “change champions.”. As a communicator, it is important to put ourselves in the shoes of the leader, understand their communication agenda and implement strategies to accomplish them.

6. What is your advice for people who are keen to join internal communications and make it a career? What skills must they have or develop?

If you are a storyteller and ‘people’ motivate you, internal communications is a great place to be. For anyone who are keen to join internal communications as a discipline, should ideally pursue Mass Communication/Journalism/PR/Marketing or a similar degree. In terms of skills, soft skills are important. Skills including exceptional writing, interpersonal/social skills, public speaking, knowledge of digital and online tools, and business acumen are required. Additionally, an understanding or a knack to learn about the industry and the company’s business is imperative for the role. The person should also be willing to step out of their comfort zone and be willing to execute or take up adjacent roles as required.

7. What is your advice for women who want to make a mark in this domain and what must they do differently?

My advice wouldn’t be very different from what I’d give my own team. My advice to women is 1. Know your organization 2. Know your colleagues 3. Work sincerely, leveraging the available tools to communicate what the organization wants to communicate to employees.

In a world that is very transient and priorities are changing all the time, and the information we are exposed to is not always authentic, a lot of times, people will rely on the source of information. And if communicators themselves are genuine and authentic, then they will build trust with their audience and people will reach out to you for your authenticity.

8. With COVID-19 and other crises, how must internal communications engage? What has changed or will change? Examples of how your organization has helped reassure employees and navigate the crisis as it unfolded?

Internal communications is at the front and center of any crisis and COVID-19 is not different, except for the enormity of it. The intensity of communication and complexity has changed with COVID-19. However, like I said before, if communicators are genuine, employees will trust you as the source of information.

Applied Materials India started looking at all aspects of COVID-19 as early as January and we started planning for various scenarios. With the Business Continuity team being on top of the crisis, and with our country president involved right from the get-go, we have been working to reassure employees that 1. We are tracking the situation everyday including weekends 2. Our leaders make it clear that employee safety is the #1 priority and 3. We will do all we can to ensure safety and productivity of our employees.

Our employees hear from the leaders at regular intervals both at a global and local level, and our employees themselves have taken up several initiatives to help their communities and the frontline workers.

9. Can you share one trend that you spot with internal communications?

Two trends I believe that are important:

1. Employee advocacy

2. Use of mobile to convey messages

First, employees who believe in the company and are role models will and should be used to champion change within the organization. Second, employees are spending more time on mobile devices to do everything and using that tool of communication will be pertinent.

Liked the interview? Post your comments and share it with your network. 

Keen to contribute and participate in the ongoing series on Intraskope where we put the spotlight on thought leadership, great ideas, and practical solutions? Look up the previous stories from organizations featured on the Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series  here –  Microsoft UK, Times GroupSamsung, FalabellaBrillio,UAE Exchange,Apeland,M.H. Alshaya Co, Proctor & Gamble,Infosys, SOBHA Ltd., ICICI Securities, First Advantage, CK Birla Group, TVS Motors, GE,  Suzlon, Tata Sons, Percept, Knight Frank, TCS Europe, Vedanta, Oxfam, Danske Bank, Diageo, Pandora, Symantec, ISS Global Services,Telia,Thomson Reuters, IBM, General Motors,Intelligence India Software Solutions and Philips. 

Intraskope (www.aniisu.com) is the first blog on internal communications in India and among the earliest around the globe. Begun in 2006, the blog has over 1000 posts on topics such as employee engagement, leadership communication and employee branding and receives thousands of visits from across the world. The blog, receives over 1,50,000 visits every month from over 50 countries globally, offers learning resources for practitioners, academicians, and students including industry workshops, research reports, and checklists. 

Intraskope has been featured on leading global internal communication forums like Simply-Communicate, IC Kollectif and International Association of Business Communicators. It is hosted by Aniisu K Verghese, author of Internal Communications – Insights, Practices & Models (Sage, 2012). 

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] 

Here are Internal Communications resources you can use: 

• Internal Communications Series: https://forms.gle/KcqmPzLwq7NQi5Km6 
• Chat with Aniisu – Internal Communications: https://www.instamojo.com/intraskope/connect-with-aniisu-60-minute-personalized-d/?ref=store 
• Internal Communications workshops: https://bit.ly/2zdBRl1 

You can also visit my website www.intraskope.com and You Tube channel to know more about my work. 

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