Presenting the 55th edition of Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series featuring Sushmita Bandopadhyay, Communications Leader at BD India and South Asia. With over 20 years of experience as a trusted advisor to leaders and adding value to brands in aviation, consumer goods, luxury, and lifestyle sectors, Sushmita currently has the mandate for advancing the world of health at BD. She is passionate about helping children achieve their potential through education and a better quality of life.
In this interview, Sushmita highlights why organizations must tap the power of internal communications to connect, inspire and drive the culture forward. She shares her thoughts on the key skills needed by professionals and what will make internal communications make a deeper impact.
Watch the complete video interview on YouTube or read the transcript below.
1. What does internal communication mean to you?
Internal communication is almost like a lifeline of an organization. Disseminating information and updates about key developments, and to offer a similar & uniform experience.
2. How is it practiced in your organization?
Internal communications hinges on several platforms to bring all employees together. Townhalls, Leadership Open House Sessions, annual off sites among others.
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.
As a healthcare company, we have the perfect opportunity to express our gratitude to healthcare workers. In addition, we wanted to also recognize employees, specially who were on the field to serve customers; even when we continued to work from home. We called them COVID Heroes. We wanted to salute their grit, attitude and commitment. We ran an internal campaign featuring one employee every day for a period of almost 5 months! Campaign was called ‘Celebrating COVID Heroes’ – I am very proud of it, as I spoke personally to 175+ employees to personalize messages for each one of them. It was a great experience as it instilled a great amount of confidence, pride and purpose in each one of us!
4. What is the biggest challenge you face while going about managing internal communication?
Most of the employees in my company are in sales and continue to be on field very often. They have limited access to the intranet or mails while they are traveling. Getting timely information from them for internal campaigns can become a bit of a challenge at times.
5. What according to you is the biggest opportunity that internal communicators have?
The biggest opportunity is to build employee pride, drive the culture of the company and create ambassadors of goodwill for the company.
6. How can internal communicators add more value to the business?
By aligning staff with organizational goals, reinforcing business strategy and advancing culture to inspire colleagues to contribute more. I believe internal communicators can bring company values to life by sharing employee stories of their professional success leading to business outcomes.
7. What skills must they have or develop?
Internal communicators must have the flair to genuinely engage with employees and leaders, across the organization and across geographies. Listening in very important. Having your ears to ground helps a great deal.
8. What is your advice for people who are keen to join internal communication and make a career?
Opt in only if you are interested in people and advancing the company’s culture. Don’t opt in as a springboard to popularity in the organization.
9. What is your advice for women who want to make a mark in this domain and what must they do differently?
Women have the inherent gift of bringing everyone in unison. Women should be role models in personally exhibiting the same behaviors that are expected from company employees. They should be willing to become vulnerable to learning and sharing anecdotes from their own personal experience.
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.
Recognizing our responsibility, we must develop a communications framework and series of supporting communications to recognize the contribution of people, businesses, and regions. These will continue to build and evolve over time, as the world continues to learn and respond to the COVID pandemic. At our company, we were consistent, open and authentic in the tone of our communication. It emanated from our global & regional leadership. There was an acknowledgment of the issues, the pandemic and tough times. Weekly messages and updates were disseminated across the organization from leadership – including blogs, videos and emails.
11. Can you share one trend that you spot with internal communications?
Leaders will become more accessible and real in sharing their own personal experiences rather than just talking about management theories. Bringing the company culture to life will be the winning solution.
12. If there is one aspect of internal communications you would like to change, what would that be?
It should not be treated like an HR agenda.
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 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, Indian automotive company, Uber, L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited, Microsoft India, Hitachi Rail, OYO and Alfa Laval.
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:
- Learn: Internal Communications Fundamentals Course on Thinkific
- 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
#culture #consistent #transparent #open #authenticity #listening #internalcommskills #skilling #ICskills #internalcomms #genuine #internalcommunications #employeeexperience #covid19 #covid19comms