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Video Interview | Purnima Sahni Mohanty | Creating a Sense of Belonging with Personalized Internal Communications

Presenting the 51st edition of Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series featuring Purnima Sahni Mohanty of Microsoft India.  Purnima is a senior communications leader with over 27 years of experience in the Industry.  She has experience in spearheading and executing world-class communications, corporate social responsibility and social impact programs for Fortune 100 companies. Apart from Microsoft, she has worked with DuPont, GE, Samsung, Alcatel and Oracle.

In this interview, Purnima shares the need for organizations to invest in understanding employees and personalizing communications. Having led communications teams at well-known brands she been at the heart of numerous change and transformational initiatives.
Watch the complete video interview on YouTube or read the transcript below.

Interview

1.What does internal communication mean to you? 

Internal communications has the primary charter of connecting with colleagues inside an organization. This charter focuses on inculcating a sense of belonging amongst employees by sharing organizational vision and values along with building culture. Leadership plays a crucial role in this area by rallying teams towards common goals. When employees are truly engaged, companies report improved employee retention, customer satisfaction, sales metrics and overall growth.  

2. How is it practiced in your organization? 

At Microsoft, we believe that our colleagues can be our true brand ambassadors. We have in place a regular cadence of communications aligned with our company mission outlining business priorities as well as key topics related to people development & culture communications. We invest in listening and feedback sessions with our employees on topics that are relevant and top of mind. 

Collaboration is the foundation for engaging employees as working together accelerates learning and problem solving, resulting in better decision-making and responsiveness. More engaged employees are willing to go the extra mile, rather than limiting themselves to fulfilling a role they were given, they want to succeed in the mission. 

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 

In the current WFH scenario, employees are working longer hours while taking care of personal and family needs. At Microsoft, prioritizing employee well-being is fundamental to our people-first approach. We recently launched a campaign around mental health and wellbeing of our employees, this is centered around destigmatizing mental health issues and actively promoting the significance of mental wellbeing.  

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

We live in an age of information overload. While leading employee communications, our endeavor is to ensure messages are simple, consistent and thoughtful on the frequency of outreach.  

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

Internal communicators play an important role in shaping organizational culture. I believe there is an excellent opportunity to create brand ambassadors through impactful employee engagement.  

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

Internal communicators have unique insights on employee sentiment and perspectives, these can be of strategic importance to the business and evolution of an organization.  

7. What skills must they have or develop? 

Strong interpersonal skills, ability to listen, understand and distil diverse views, a creative and learning mindset.  

8. What is your advice for people who are keen to join internal communication and make a career? 

Internal communications offer excellent career prospects for someone who has the aptitude and desire to grow in this area.  

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

Employees are key to organizational growth and reputation; engaging talent is critical. Internal communications offer an interesting opportunity to build a career. 

10. 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. 

The pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges, let me share perspective on a couple of aspects:

  • With everyone working virtually, more flexibility has been built in as employees manage professional and personal priorities
  • We are mindful that each individual situation is different, we are adopting a more empathetic and inclusive approach which is reflected in our communications

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

Employee communications as a discipline is gaining in strategic importance. Especially in the current times, organizations and businesses across sectors are paying more attention to the safety and wellbeing of their teams. As we move into the next normal, I hope that this trend will strengthen. 

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 – Northern Trust, AXA Business Services, Subex,  global insurer, Standard Chartered Bank, BASF, Applied Materials India,  Microsoft UK, Times GroupSamsung, FalabellaCisco, 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, Indian automotive company, Uber and L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited.

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: 

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

#personalization #belonging #brandambassadors #connection #employeeengagement # #internalcommskills #skilling #ICskills #internalcomms #creativity #internalcommunications #employeeexperience 

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