In this section, we are meeting with internal communication professionals across the globe, to share their best practices and vision for the future!
Victoria Twigg is the Head of Internal Communication and Employee Experience for a leader in the aerospace industry. Based in the UK, she has been working in the world of communications for the past twenty years, across various industries.
She kindly agreed to share with us some of her extensive knowledge in the space.
1 – What are the key aspects for a successful internal communication strategy in your opinion?
Victoria: Actively and genuinely involve those we’re seeking to engage. Too often, communication is done ‘to’ people and not ‘with’ them which is often the reason why people fail to participate as enthusiastically as we’d like in our latest campaigns/initiatives.
It should go without saying that ‘know your audience’ is essential, however, whilst comms pros will instinctively know this, not everyone in our respective businesses may understand the importance of tailoring content to a specific audience. This is where our coaching skills and oodles of patience are needed to diplomatically let people know, ‘No one cares about your slides as much as you do.’ I’ve never actually said that, of course. Still working on that one.
Planning and measuring success are also vital components in any comms strategy. It’s easy for creatives to get caught up in the excitement of a creative tactic, but without having a clear plan of how and why we should execute a particular task, the activity will probably bomb.
Oh, and accept at least one person is going to grumble at your fantastically creative idea. Most likely more than one.
2 – What is your main challenge in terms of internal communication in your organization?
Victoria: I’ll answer this is a very general sense based on my 20+ years’ experience in comms.
The main challenge has always been trying to overcome the misconception that comms is ‘nice to have’, and an ‘optional extra’. As every single thing we do in work, and life, is based on communication, it’s a viewpoint I struggle to understand. The words we share with others, written or verbal, can make or break a relationship, convince or dissuade a customer from buying our product or service, or simply affect whether someone has a bad day or a great one. How can any of things be seen as optional? But, as we’re often (wrongly) seen as ‘in-directs’, it’s a tough mindset to challenge.
Secondly, too often people are promoted based on their skills and time in the position, with very little/no consideration given to how they manage people and how they communicate with them. For me, you simply can’t be a good manager, if you’re a poor communicator. And as comms professionals, we need to do all we can to ensure our managers have the skills they need to not only flourish in their roles, but to ensure they know how to effectively communicate, coach and inspire those around them.
3 – Which media have been the most efficient in your experience to reach the employees?
Victoria: That depends on what message is being communicated. Teams became our go-to comms channel when coronavirus swept the world, and whilst it’s not the most elegant, it’s super simple and works.
Workplace, by Facebook was a great platform to help foster a collegiate feel in work.
An intranet has its place, but needs a social, reward and recognition element, to prevent the platform becoming another way for the business to communicate ‘to’ people and not ‘with’ them. Which is probably why so many intranets becomes corporate comms’ outposts.
4 – With the increase in remote working due to the pandemic and the ongoing evolutions in terms of working habits and employees’ expectations, what should companies do to adapt to those changes?
Victoria: I hope we see a replacement of top-down communication with bottom-up, employee generated content to improve engagement and belonging. Our role as IC professionals will hopefully be to mirror and coach best practice, rather than generate company comms and be seen as the go-to ‘writer person’.
I also hope we’ll be able to demonstrate ROI more clearly, as sometimes it’s a tough one to demonstrate. So, 70% of the workforce read our article on the intranet. So what? What does that mean to the business and what does that mean to our employees?