Presenting the 49th edition of Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series featuring Ranabir Majumdar of Uber. Ranabir served as a journalist showcasing political and sporting milestones and moments before switching to the corporate world to highlight impactful business outcomes. At Uber, he leads internal communications for APAC, plans and runs multi-day events for executives and CEO-level forums while building a culture of transparency and engagement that has impacted colleagues and communities worldwide. In this interview, Ranabir outlines the value of internal communications in shaping corporate culture and leadership choices. He articulates the need to continually hone your craft and become better each day.
Watch the complete video interview on YouTube or read the transcript below.
- What does internal communication mean to you?
Three aspects that resonate are: Honesty, Transparency, Authenticity. Trust between employees and leadership is crucial; it can help create great culture, and high morale. Being as transparent as possible about decisions/outcomes, good and bad, and providing a safe space to share lessons learned shows we trust employees enough to share this information
2. How is it practiced in your organization?
We follow three principles:
- People should hear the news from us before they see in the press – we always strive to tell employees what’s happening and why before it makes headlines, however short that window maybe
- Connect the dots – It’s our job to ensure internal comms put our strategy into perspective, and to help leaders ladder up to that strategy.
- Think globally – a company at our scale requires remembering to always think globally We make every effort to make our communications globally relevant.
3. Please share an example/campaign that you are personally proud of working on and that made a significant impact to an organization in the recent past
I am incredibly excited about the journey so far and how we as a team have come together to build out the global internal communications function at Uber. Through this period, we’ve come through several incredible moments and challenges – including M&As, the IPO, and of course more recently operating in the ‘new normal’ and ensuring folks feel both empowered and connected while working from home in times of Covid-19.
4. What is the biggest challenge you face while going about managing internal communication?
Managing time zones – as a global company, it is incredibly important to plan for almost a 36-hour cycle for any global event. Quite often it’s a heavy lift that comes together through incredible cross-functional and cross-geographical support.
5. What according to you is the biggest opportunity that internal communicators have?
You have a seat at the table, which gives you an incredible ring-side view of the business. You can step into the dance and yet have a view from the balcony allowing to build a perspective that can shape leadership choices, and company culture. People will forget the words, but they won’t forget the way you make them feel.
6. How can internal communicators add more value to the business?
By building greater trust and transparency – leaders and employees must trust you to do the right thing
7. What skills must they have or develop?
The key skills are:
- A strong writing ability, relationship and stakeholder management
- Deep institutional knowledge and substance
- Business acumen and up to date with trends in the business
- Listening skills
- Good understanding of multimedia channels – video, slack etc. and of the news media – especially in the markets you operate in
Even though a lot of internal communications roles are independent contributor roles – they must be able to work alongside several teams and with senior leadership. They must be able to navigate ambiguity and manage tight deadlines.
8. What is your advice for people who are keen to join internal communication and make a career?
Be patient; listen more; and always keep working on your craft – writing, video editing, scripting etc. Take the time to learn the business – work with operations, strategy and planning teams. Often, you won’t be the smartest person in the room, but you should know who to go to find the right answer.
9. 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 unfolds.
I would think prioritize people – engage more often. Lead with empathy and compassion – more so than ever before. Flexible work from home policy and support to set up home office have helped. Also, it is important to let people prioritize and plan their day. Finally, over communicate and always have channels to listen.
10. Can you share one trend that you spot with internal communications?
A trend I spot is from a channel perspective – moving to more social channels like Facebook for Work or Slack – that allows ‘social’ sharing and reactions. More teams wanting to work with Internal communications to sharpen their messaging.
11. If there is one aspect of internal communications you would like to change, what would that be?
Internal communications is not about running intranets or shipping newsletters alone; it makes serious business sense to invest in good internal communications.
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Look up the previous stories from organizations featured on the Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series here – Northern Trust, AXA Business Services, Subex, global insurer, Standard Chartered Bank, BASF, Applied Materials India, Microsoft UK, Times Group, Samsung, Falabella, Cisco, Brillio, 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, Philips, Refinitiv, Mastercard, VFS Global, Ittiam Systems, Bridgestone India and Indian automotive company.
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