Deal in facts, knowledge is power... how to make bosses value internal comms more

Three panelists for PRWeek's must-attend Strategic Internal Communications conference discuss getting internal comms up the c-suite agenda.

Strategic Internal Communications: book your tickets now for 2019 event
Strategic Internal Communications: book your tickets now for 2019 event

The conference takes place on 5 and 6 December at Hilton Canary Wharf - click here for more information and to buy tickets.

One of the sessions looks at the 'breakthrough moments' when senior leadership teams are persuaded to drive the internal comms agenda. The three expert panels share their views on the topic below, and also discuss how they are re-shaping internal comms in their organisations.

Stuart Williamson, director of communications, Nationwide Building Society

Q: What do you think is the most important element when trying to getting the value of internal communications recognised by senior leadership?

Deal in facts. Everyone has a view about what we need to communicate internally, but does anyone actually know for sure? It’s can be a subjective world. Having real insight to show the understanding, belief and likelihood of colleagues to take action is hugely effective in understanding where to channel communication efforts and building credibility.

Q: What is one thing you are currently working to improve in your internal communications?

We’re adopting agile methodology to assemble ‘squads’ across the team, which respond to insight and changing business needs with greater agility and pace.

Q: What are you looking forward to at this year's Strategic Internal Communications conference?

Celebrating the ongoing growth, confidence and success of Internal Communication as a discipline that sits at the heart of business success.

Ellen Hudson, executive communications senior specialist, SAP

Q: What do you think is the most important element when trying to getting the value of internal communications recognised by senior leadership?

A lot of it comes down to sustained and clear evaluation of the programmes you’re executing. Like any relationship, a level of trust needs to be established and that takes time. However if you can show in tangible terms the impact of what you’re doing, the advocacy will follow.

Q: What is one thing you are currently working to improve in your internal communications?

A risk at many organisations is encouraging what I would call an echo chamber environment, especially if a brand has a particularly strong culture or positioning. It can become too inward looking; a critical element of successful internal communications is to adopt a more ‘outside in’ approach to the content you’re producing, to make the message more relevant to the challenges and opportunities that employees are experiencing from their external stakeholder groups.

Q: What are you looking forward to at this year's Strategic Internal Communications conference?

Meeting like-minded peers and learning from what others are doing to ensure I can maintain a fresh and broad perspective of what best practice is.

Max Puller, employee and change communications director, Sodexo

Q: What do you think is the most important element when trying to getting the value of internal communications recognised by senior leadership?

For me, it’s a case of ‘knowledge is power’. What is on your senior leaders’ minds, and how can you help? From what keeps them up at night, through to what their strategic business priorities are, it’s about understanding this, and articulating; doing so in language that resonates with them; how internal communications helps achieve their goals.

Q: What is one thing you are currently working to improve in your internal communications?

I’m embedding a new business partner approach within the function, with specific team members owning relationships with key client areas in the business. Doing so will ensure we have a deeper understanding of the business and their needs, positioning the team as trusted advisors, and helping drive greater efficiency and effectiveness in our output.

Q: What are you looking forward to at this year's Strategic Internal Communications conference?

I’m always interested to hear the latest thinking around the future of internal comms – particularly the opportunities that technological innovations, such as AI, might bring. I’m also looking forward to the chance to network that conferences like this afford.

Click here to view the full line-up for the Strategic Internal Communications conference and to book tickets.

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