The Artist Formerly Known as Internal Communications

Internal communications has always been important – but many didn’t realize how vital it was until the shifts of 2020 took the world by storm, forever changing how we work and communicate with our teams.

Elliott Bundy, CCO & CMO of Acrisure and Financial Narrative Board Member hosted three experts to talk about the evolution and future of internal communications:

  • Ann Dykman, VP of Executive and Employee Communications, American Express
  • Ethan McCarty, CEO, Integral
  • Kathryn Reichert, Head of Internal Communications, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York

In this interactive session, panelists and attendees discussed trends they have been seeing, as well as what has and hasn’t been working for their organizations during the last 18 months, and what they are focusing on moving in the future. 

Below we share a few of the high points and key take-aways from the conversation:

  • Empathy in your internal communications, especially in times like these, is crucial. Employees want to know they are being heard and someone has their backs. They, in return, are more invested. 
  • Trust and empower your employees to tell the story of your organization. If you earn their loyalty, they’ll spread a positive message about the organization. It’s smart to think of your team as earned media, not owned media.
  • Tactics that are successful for external marketing are also successful for, and can be applied to internal marketing. Treat your internal audience like you are marketing to them, because you are!
  • Measure engagement and audience response for your internal communications the same way you would for external – test to see what is working and what isn’t and adjust accordingly. Looking at something as simple as open rates and clicks on emails can help to tell you if you’re over- or under-communicating. 
  • Tools for measuring employee sentiment have truly evolved. From the traditional “annual employee survey,” there are now many ways to understand the needs and opinions of your team. Leveraging these tools can help to direct your employee engagement efforts. 
  • Segment your employees into different audiences for tailored communication to avoid non-relevant messaging or oversaturating your team with information.
  • Cascading messaging (having leaders in your team distribute internal comms messages) can be advantageous if managed correctly. First, it’s critical to ensure that the leaders who you are counting on are getting messages out to their teams. Next, encourage those leaders to translate the message for their teams rather than just send it out. Focus on what’s relevant for that team. 

Thank you to all our panelists, host for leading this conversation and to the members who shared their own experiences and insights with the group. 

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  1. Insightful discussion about the shift many companies are making to rethink how we see our internal stakeholders as a marketing audience. Great to hear from so many who tackle the same challenges our team does every day.