Presenting the 58th edition of Intraskope’s Spotlight on Internal Communication Series featuring Silke Kramprich, Corporate Communication Manager at Lenze, Germany. She has twenty years of experience shaping bilingual technical communications and focuses on connecting the dots between culture and strategy through organizational storytelling, developing communication strategies, and managing digital platforms. She leverages language and technology to drive internal and external communications and has a background in International Technical Communication and including English, French, applied linguistics, mechanical and electrical engineering, and information technology for her work. Silke is passionate about deepening her IT skills and passed the Microsoft AZ-900 and AI-900 certifications.
In this interview, Silke explains how internal communication helps to align staff to the purpose and why it is crucial to the success of her organization. She shares an exciting campaign at her firm which celebrated 75 years of the organization and how internal communications integrated with other forms of communication to create a memorable experience and lasting impact for stakeholders.
Watch the complete video interview on YouTube or read the transcript below.
- What does internal communication mean to you?
For me, internal comms means advancing business goals through communication. We are working to provide our colleagues worldwide with the necessary background knowledge that puts their work in context. To do this, we take a strategic approach that aims at translating the company values and mission into a topic architecture and a coherent story that answers three questions:
1) The “why”. Why do we exist? What is our purpose?
2) The “what”. What is our core business?
3) The “how”. How do we do it? How do we work with each other and with our customers? What makes us unique?
By answering these questions, internal communication gives orientation to the employees. We explain the core of our brand, we shape the company culture, and we work to create the “glue” that makes employees proud of working for the company and motivated to perform their work in the best possible way.
- How is it practiced in your organization?
We have a global Corporate Communications team – of which I am a member – and this team is based in our headquarters in Hamelin and working closely with the management to align internal comms with their priorities and goals. In addition, we have 37 companies in the Lenze Group all of whom must of course be informed. To do this, we also work with our local marketing and communications colleagues to carry the key messages through the organization. And these local MarCom people also tell us what is happening at their location so that we can share it through global communication channels, such as the intranet, Lenze TV, our staff magazine, and if the news is interesting to external target groups, too, we also share it through the social media, and press or news releases.
- Please share an example/campaign that you are personally proud of working on and that made a significant impact to your organization.
in 2022, we are celebrating our 75th anniversary under the motto “The Courage of Change”. And an important goal of our anniversary campaign was to involve the worldwide #OneLenze family. For this purpose, we launched two quite successful join-in actions:
1) Number 1 was the #CourageForClimate action, where we invited employees, customers, partners, and everybody interested to move for the climate until we reached 75,000 kilometers. Many people joined in, registered the distances they ran, walked, climbed, skated, or whatever, and uploaded photos of it. We reached the goal, and our company donated 37,500 Euros to reforestation projects worldwide.
2) Our second join-in action was a singing challenge. My colleagues from the Corporate Communications team and I recorded a video singing “happy birthday to us” and nominated three other teams to do the same. After a couple of weeks, more than 30 teams from around the world contributed their videos. Several hundred colleagues composed and recorded their particular birthday song and joined in. Our R&D servo drives team even made one of our servo motors sing. All these videos are a colorful gallery showing who the people behind Lenze are.
These actions increased the feeling of belonging, the connection to the company, and the motivation of the employees. We decided to make the anniversary campaign and the actions public and launched a new website at https://thecourageofchange.com/en/home-en/ that reflects our history and company culture. The website aims at internal and external target groups; its purpose is employee bonding and employer branding. If you want to know more about the two examples of employee engagement actions, pay a visit to https://thecourageofchange.com/en/home-en/.
- What is the biggest challenge you face while going about managing internal communication?
Internal comms faces various challenges, but for me, the biggest challenge is proving our ROI. We know that we are adding value by sharing information, shaping the brand and the culture, and working to increase the motivation and productivity of the employees.
But evaluating the impact of internal communication and matching it to business outcomes is not easy. The questions are: What are the relevant KPIs? Which ones serve to evaluate and prove our impact? Even when you know how many members of your target group viewed a particular piece of communication, you still don’t know if and how it affects their mindset and behavior. Identifying and measuring the right indicators is a challenge.
- What according to you is the biggest opportunity that internal communicators have?
The heart of every organization is the people who work there. As internal communicators, we should listen to them, make them visible, and feel valued. By doing so, we can shape the culture and increase the motivation of our colleagues. When we share examples of how one employee lives the company values in his or her work, we can inspire others to translate the values into concrete actions in their daily work.
For example, one of our values is “partner”; in our internal communication, we write stories about employees filling this value with life. That can be people from our innovations team who are involved in a joint research project, a colleague who is sharing knowledge at a workgroup meeting of a professional organization, or a group of employees who built an internal community for exchanging knowledge about a particular topic.
Internal comms can and should provide platforms where we make employees and their contributions visible to the whole company.
- What is your advice for people who are keen to join internal communication and make a career? What skills must they have or develop?
For a career in internal communications, you need strong analytic skills to align internal communications to the goals and strategy of the leadership, good writing skills, and a basic understanding of digital communication tools and platforms. They play a major role in internal comms, and knowing how they work is not only valuable for your daily work. Understanding digital communication tools and platforms and how they interact helps you shape and further develop the internal communication ecosystem.
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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, Alfa Laval, BD, SITA and EY.
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