Employee of the month – notes from PRIA’s internal communications seminar

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Coffee or tea?

Coffee or tea?

Whether you’re a sole trader with multiple personalities or a multinational organisation with thousands of employees, you’d be lost without internal communications.

Given the importance of internal communications, I thought I’d share some notes from PRIA Victoria’s recent internal communications seminar with Rupert Hugh-Jones from Scaffidi Hugh-Jones, Sarah Makris from NAB and Anthia Galanis from Telstra.

Internal communications means something different to every communicator and every organisation. For some organisations it’s about circulating a monthly staff newsletter, while others focus on building personal relationships across the organisation.

With this in mind, Andrea Davies from NEC kicked off the discussion by asking the panellists to define internal communications.

Anthia defined internal communications making sure people have the information they need to do their job. We should all ask ourselves if people need the information the next time we’re promoting the office jumper party!!

Rupert said there are two approaches to internal communications: a transactional approach designed to get the information out and a strategic approach where you focus on creating a shared story and helping employees understand the bigger picture.

The panellists agreed there is a blurring line between internal and external communications, and both need to work side by side.

With definitions out of the way, the discussion moved on to some tips for good internal communications.

Rupert reminded everyone that you can’t leave face-to-face communication out of your internal communications activities. He also suggested pulling staff aside after meetings and asking them what they got out of the meeting and if they had any major questions.

NAB’s Sarah Makris talked about the importance of using informal and formal networks. She encourages her team to pick up the phone and ask their contacts across the organisation what their questions are.

And then we were onto one of our favourite c-words – conversations. Rupert talked about the importance of conversations to internal communications and the importance of having a well-developed road map of your activities.

Anthia said a key role of the internal communicator is helping people across the organisation find the gold in their stories. This is particularly important if you want people to respect your communication channels.

The panellists also talked about the importance of measurement. Sarah talked about NAB moving their videos online with a better ability to track what people are watching.

After an extremely interesting discussion, here are s0me tips for internal communications:

  • pick up the phone and ask your colleagues what they need to know
  • don’t forget face-to-face communication
  • keep your internal stories interesting and relevant
  • measure your internal communications activities so you can demonstrate the value to the organisation and also show the importance of best practice internal communications activities.

Cheers,
the c word

PS. Here’s a clip from the movie “Employee of the Month’!

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