How marketing can help give employee communications programs an overhaul
Elizabeth Williams | April 22, 2019
A lot of my work, lately, has focused on helping to rescue sucky internal employee communications programs. The general reasons for the almost perpetual suckiness of internal communications is the abject neglect of most of the programs. This can take the form of budgetary neglect: just because you hired someone to manage it, doesn’t mean it’s solved. These folks need budget for design, programming, research, consultants and more. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, organizations turfed the communications function out of the C-suite, in an effort to flatten the organization. That they also flattened the efficacy of their communications teams by sending them off to marketing, operations or HR, is something we are still paying for. This is functional neglect; your communications team needs access to your leaders if anything helpful is going to happen. Beyond budget, communicators also suffer from resource neglect. Just like other functions, they need great technology (or at least great technologists who can keep the crappy stuff running); they need measurement tools, project managers, legal opinions, access to strategic information and ongoing training. In my experience, when the subject of sucky internal communications comes up, marketers can be particularly cruel about the whole thing. Which is an easy stance to take when you’re not quite as neglected. Sometimes, though, marketing is just as culpable in the neglect of employee communications as everyone else. Depending on where you stand, here are a few ideas about how marketing leaders can solve the suckiness.