As organizations continue to evolve and transformation becomes a key business agenda, hiring the best talent in communication is increasingly becoming crucial. It is also becoming a lot harder for companies to identify and attract talent. According to a McKinsey study, a significant percentage of organizations (82%) don’t believe they hire highly talented professionals and among those that do, just 7% believe they retain them. Post the pandemic, the role of internal communicators is heightened – with increased awareness of the value and repeated requests for the function to step in and contribute. It also means, the best internal communication talent is sought after, more than ever.
For internal communications professionals, providing line of sight for staff on business goals is a key priority. Also, they are expected to lead and be valued as trusted advisor. Therefore, what must be done to hire the best talent and how can we be sure we are doing it right?
To gauge the right talent, there are three key areas to address: critical thinking, clarity and conscience. Apart from having the fundamentals of communication, the internal communicator needs to be a self-starter, have clarity of purpose and be able to take an ethical stand on issues that matter.
Have they ever challenged a status quo or just appeased stakeholders? Have they stood up for actions which impacted the community beyond the workplace? Are they aware of the evolving landscape of work, workplaces and workforces?
No amount of interviewing, face to face or online, can help hiring managers gauge these aspects. The traditional interviewing method can only do so much. To gauge the capabilities and the mindset, assessments need to go further. Smart organizations create interventions that uncover these aspects using simple tools and even technology. And take the bias away from hiring.
Testing candidates on scenarios, inviting discussions on real-work situations and also opening up the workplace for them to visit and ‘see’ for themselves and appreciate the culture, can help.
What must you look for?
- Flexibility to work in a hybrid mode
- Adaptability to engage even when there is limited or no support
- Creativity when resources are unavailable
- Self-motivation to get stuff done
- Willing to go over and above, even if the role doesn’t demand it
It is also not about asking candidates questions but, also being open to listening to how they perceive the brand, what better ways can be adopted for the organization to change and how can communication be done differently.
What potential questions will candidates have?
More often than not, prospective internal communicators who want to make an impact will be keen to know if they are joining a stable workplace, an environment where they are safe, where they can do their best and be supported – not just with words but sincere action. Also, that the organization and leaders live the values. The bigger the gap between what is communicated about the role and what is actually done at work, the sooner they will exit the organization with a poor impression.
Therefore, what must you avoid?
- Overcommitting and setting wrong expectations
- Painting a rosy picture when the reality is different
- Making promises you can’t keep
What must you share?
- The work dynamics
- How the team is run
- The culture
- What makes you stay on
- How are you adding value to the team and yourself
- Honesty about the ways of working
Assessing for internal communication roles is very different from hiring talent for other departments. Yes, there are common factors to hiring like writing a thoughtful and exciting job description, designing the process and inviting your staff to also have the opportunity to refer strong candidates. However, hiring the right internal communicator is one of the most important decisions an organization, that values its brand and reputation, can ever make.
Liked the article? Share your thoughts. Have other ideas? Interested to know what you think.
Here are Internal Communications resources you can use:
· Learn: Internal Communications Fundamentals Course on Thinkific
· Internal Communications Series: https://forms.gle/KcqmPzLwq7NQi5Km6
· Internal Communications workshops: https://bit.ly/2zdBRl1
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