Time to unite internal and external communications

Employees are people too. Employees are connected employees who through free will, use company and personal devices to read about anything they so please. Despite the strikingly obvious sentiment presented, why is it that many internal communications team operate as if somehow isolated from the connected world in which we all live?

You wake at around 7am to a series of google alerts on key topics, including one on your company. It’s here that you find out how your company’s actions, plans and people are received. Occasionally, you may even find out things about your company that have not been talked about on the intranet.

After email, you check your social feeds – twitter, facebook, linkedin (maybe you’re a sucker to see who’s stalking you) . From a corporate perspective, these are confusing spaces. The audience is incredibly fluid and diverse: from employees like you, to job-hunters, activists, journalists or browsers.

Finally, you’ll login and check the intranet. The news layer you get there is likely to be highly polished and has travelled through countless cycles of editing and approval before publication.  If you have a company social network, you’ll also get the news generated by employees.

Four news centres provide your corporate update: Google News, External social networks, Intranet News and internal social networks and the venn diagram audience overlap is ’employee’. The issue with this approach though is that many communications teams, with clear divisions between internal and external communications, are not structured in a way that reflects this reality. The result is often mixed messaging to the employee.

Internal and external communications cannot operate in isolation any more. Externally, companies are increasingly showing their human side by sharing the employee story; internally, employees need the radical transparency from the external world to do their job better. It’s time to break down the barriers as the differences are increasingly fragile.