will become the organization’s
By fostering an internal culture of trust, these competencies will extend to customer relationships and communications.
The Internal Communications team must develop and maintain proficient competency in several dimensions of trust, including: the principles of trust leadership and communication; ethical culture; pro-relational management strategies; empathetic listening; and crisis readiness.
Internal communicators support myriad priorities in the organization, from senior leader communications to HR messaging and employee engagement. Business leaders rely on Internal Communications (IC) to disperse messages, live the culture, and inspire employees.
Because managers view IC as the mechanism for influencing awareness and behaviors internally, IC is almost always in demand and is rarely sufficiently staffed. Several groups from HR to legal and PR lobby to “own” IC and theoretically gain influence for their critical strategies.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that IC departments often struggle to gain a strategic seat at the table.
However, organizational change is afoot. The hierarchical pyramid-based structure is flattening out as businesses are forced to become more nimble and develop stronger customer relationships.
Trust is rapidly becoming a critical business competency – for internal efficiencies and customer engagement, at the very least. By nature of their alignment in the organization and their communications skills, internal communicators are most aptly suited to fill a growing need for experts who understand a company’s culture, business strategy, and the psychology of trust.
How Shifting Values Influence Internal and External Norms
The Traditional Cascade of Information
Communicators have long cascaded messaging strategies through a series of “rungs” on the organizational ladder. The process is intended to empower managers to communicate a “line of sight” between employees’ contributions and the organization’s mission and strategy. Unfortunately, the implied message is that employees cannot handle direct information.
The Edelman Diamond of Influence
Although derived from international trends, this is nonetheless an impressive guide for leaders and communicators. In the words of its architect, Richard Edelman, “The traditional pyramid of authority, with elites driving communications top down to mass audiences, is now joined by an inverted pyramid of community – employees, action consumers, and social activists involved in real-time, horizontal, constant peer-to-peer dialogue.”