During my agency days, I was heavily involved in internal communications and other corporate communications work for clients. In fact, we even won an industry award for a 4C glossy in-house magazine we revamped for Prudential.
I also earned Creamer Dickson Basford’s Champion of Change award for an underground employee newsletter I had created. It eventually was adopted as the firm’s official internal newsletter and served as a popular vehicle for helping shape the corporate culture while sharing news and information about the business.
When I became that agency’s Director of Marketing, a significant part of my job was ensuring that employees in all of our offices and departments were kept informed and motivated. In fact, my official title was Chief Cultural Officer. And not only did I establish and leverage internal channels to share information, but I also used them to mine news and information from the various departments, offices, and the Havas network as a whole – much of which I then used in both internal and external communications.
I was also responsible for creating and implementing the new employee indoctrination program, helping teach new staff everything from best practices and procedures to understanding and embracing our corporate culture and value proposition. And not only did I create the firm’s first formal in-house professional development program, but I was also responsible for recruiting in-house volunteers to teach classes as well as getting the staff sufficiently interested in taking the time to attend those classes.
The importance of internal communications became even greater when we created Magnet Communications, through the merger and acquisition of several different agencies. I was tasked with helping bring together employees from different companies, scattered in offices around the country, and getting them focused on and committed to the same corporate culture, priorities, and practices while keeping them informed, engaged, and motivated. It wasn’t easy, as change rarely is, but the right mix of messages and tactics soon brought everyone on board.
At Asphalt Green, much of the internal communications effort involved in-person presentations to different teams and departments as well as regular meetings with staff at various levels to share and exchange information. But I also made a habit of regularly walking the 5.5-acre campus to speak with as many individual employees as I could. This not only enabled me to share information directly, but it also helped me build relationships and gain valuable, unfiltered feedback from staff at all levels.
I think one of the reasons I have enjoyed such success with internal communications over the years, particularly when I am working in-house, is because of my personality. I am known for my integrity and exceptional work ethic, which has helped ensure that the information I provide is viewed as credible and worthy of consideration. And my sense of humor has proven useful as well, in that it ensures that stakeholders are more likely to listen to what I have to say.
For example, my internal weekend supervisor reports at Asphalt Green became widely circulated and read for the amusing anecdotes I often included. This was a calculated decision I made after learning that no one had been reading these reports, causing the information and recommendations – and the time executives spent in the weekend supervisor rotation – to be wasted. Sometimes it pays to include a little sugar with the medicine!