I think measurement is how communications will continue to earn a seat at the table. It’s hard to get budget or authority when you don’t have data. Communicators I think have always known that internal communication is critical when it comes to things like alignment, understanding business goals and objectives, driving culture throughout the organization. But if you have no way of measuring that, you can’t prove that. You can’t get resources or budget or headcount to support those efforts.
TE: In your position at Dynamic Signal, what do you communicate internally and externally?
HANNAH: There’s so much! We want to make sure our employees know how to enroll in the 401(k) or go see the doctor. We want them to have those sort of basic, HR communication functions, but it can also be the lunch menu for the week or our holiday schedule.
We have things like Women of DySi and Pets of DySi and DySi Cares, which is our CSR group. So we have these employee affinity groups that people can choose to join and connect with other employees around issues that are important to them. We have this whole internal channel of people who submit photos of their pets. It’s been fun to see these other sides of your colleagues’ lives that you wouldn’t normally see.
We also want our employees to be very well-informed about what our company goals are. Our CEO sends video messages saying, “Great Q1! Here’s what happened and what we’re looking to accomplish in Q2.” We also host all-hands meetings with an AMA [Ask Me Anything] session. We’ll send out that notification to all of our employees through different channels — whichever channel works best for them — and we let them know that this is coming up and they can submit questions that they want to ask the CEO. I think our objectives are always ensuring that employees feel celebrated, connected, aligned, know what our goals and objectives are and that they feel valued as people.
On the external side of things, we’re sharing what we’re doing in the industry, our thought leadership and some of our research externally, but it’s not enough for us to just share that from our own branded channels. In my role as far as public relations and media relations go, it’s exciting to get to go speak to communications professionals and share all of this, but it’s really important for us that our employees feel empowered to be storytellers, too.
We are very careful about who we hire because we want every employee to feel empowered to be a brand ambassador and an employee advocate. We push a lot of our news out to our employees to share across their own networks, in their own voice. And different employees share different things. That’s perfect because everyone brings a unique and diverse perspective to the company, and we use our communication tools to empower them to tell those stories externally. We believe that external storytelling success begins with internal communication.
TE: For smaller companies that might not have the funds for an internal communication role, who typically owns this, and what advice would you have for them?
HANNAH: Internal communication is a non-negotiable. Someone has to create alignment. Your employees are your most-valued asset. You do not have a company without your employees. And employees who don’t know what your goals are as a business, don’t know who you are as a company and what your values are and what your mission is, they can’t function and you will not be successful as an organization if you ignore the fact that employees are your most-valued asset. Whether it’s an executive or HR or someone in marketing, communicating with your most-valued asset — the people who truly represent your business to the world — is a non-negotiable.
I think you just have to start, even if you have nothing in place. Someone has to say, “Our employees are important; they need to know what’s happening in the company; they need to know what we’re driving to as a company; they need to know that we value them because we recognize we don’t have a business without them.”
If all you have is email, start with email. If all you have is an open space where you can gather people together, go face time. If you’re a small company and can get everybody in one space, great. Or use Skype or Google Teams or whatever digital tool you need to get people together.
My advice is to start doing something. And sometimes asking forgiveness is better than asking permission. We all have a phone in our pocket with video and camera capability. You can start a free social media account and start to take photos and video of your employees and what their day-to-day looks like. Celebrate the people who make your company what it is. Highlight and showcase them. Create a sense of pride and loyalty. Start to empower them to tell their story on social media. That doesn’t cost any money.
This article originally appeared on talenteconomy.io