10 brilliant things we learnt about internal communication this year

Which do you recognise from your organisation?

This year’s virtual Internal Communications conference was hosted by Woodreed’s Charlotte Dahl. The conference saw IC’s superstars, from Virgin Media, the BBC and Facebook share their expertise, insights and projections for internal communication. The speakers all agreed that as horrible as the pandemic is, we are seeing a silver lining – the dawning of a new age for IC.

During the crisis our IC teams have risen to the fore. The new realisation our organisations simply can’t grow, prosper or even survive without a knowledgeable, engaged and aware workforce. A challenge made all the greater by our newly dispersed workforces. Internal communication is key to all this.

Here’s what we learnt from the day. Do you recognise some of these from your own organisation?

  1. Trust is key. Trust in your people, your peoples’ trust in you. In the wake of Covid-19, trust in the workplace has literally become a matter of life or death. Trust is the vital underpinning to successful, productive outcomes and to individual well-being. But, beware, “trust arrives on foot and leaves on horseback”*. It has to be built
  2. A new and welcome authenticity
    Leaders stepped out from their offices and showed us who they really were; kids, pets, partners, kitchens, the lot. We’re demanding organisational authenticity across the board – from the board, to values, purpose, tone of voice, the lot
  3. We’re breaking down barriers in so many different ways “leadership are listening” **
  4. Keep investing in your digital workplaces
    Our hybrid workforce is here to stay. How are you keeping your people properly connected? Adapting your culture while staying true to your values and behaviours (check out Charlotte’s interview with Head of IC at Facebook for her take on this – link below)  
  5. Agility was a skill we unlocked.
    Once we’d got over the initial shock (which had inevitable impacts on our productivity) oh my, did we get stuff done. Let’s make sure an agile workplace is here to stay
  6. Creativity was also unlocked.
    We realised that you don’t have to be the Beeb or Virgin to think laterally and creatively
  7. Home working has forced a new and welcome shift from inputs to outputs. While the new flexibility has many advantages, workplaces need to make sure opportunities are equitable for those who choose not to go back to the office full time
  8. D&I should be front and centre.
    Inclusivity has an even wider meaning now with our dispersed workforce. Encourage ‘employee activism’ and remember organisations are at very different stages. A D&I strategy is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach by a long shot
  9. Wellbeing matters Wellbeing matters more than ever as our people continue to adjust. Keep reminding your senior leaders of that
  10. This marks the dawning of a new age for internal comms. Our future is bright, let’s retain (or keep demanding) our newly earned seat at the top table as IC has transformed from necessary business function to business critical organisational priority

Plus, find out what Facebook’s Head of Internal Communications, Inara Pilatti had to say when Charlotte interviewed her about IC past, present and future from both a Facebook and wider perspective.

Click here to watch Charlotte’s interview

To borrow from a famous ad campaign from a now extinct brand, the future for Internal Communication’s bright. It may not be orange but let’s make the most of it.

* David MacLeod in Woodreed’s thought paper http://woodreed.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/The-Trust-Issue_2020_Final.pdf

** BBC Virtual Internal Communications Summit 2020

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