As we enter the new year, we are bracing ourselves for remarkable ways in which we communicate. It’s not just our means of communications that are evolving but also our stakeholders, and their expectations from us. Specifically for reputation management professionals, it begets a crucial question – What does 2020 hold for PR Professional in connecting with their internal Stakeholders? So, we asked three experts of Internal communications to enlighten us on this topic.
This activity was a part of our Learning Month, wherein we have dedicated the month of January each year to encourage continuous learning within the communications fraternity. In our first week we focus on the topic – ‘How to Connect with Stakeholders’, and here is what we discovered:
According to Krusha Sahjwani Malkani, Regional Business Manager, APAC at Sociabble –
2020 is going to see a lot more millennials in the workforce, and calls for a change in communication methods, too.
Some of these will include the ability to ensure the vision of your company is properly communicated to every employee, as employees are looking to be associated with purpose more than ever before. Another important factor will be the systems and processes used to communicate. Millennials are born into technology, and thus companies will have to learn to effectively use technology to communicate, which means moving to internal communications applications from static newsletters and bulletins. Lastly, measurement of internal communication programs is going to increase as well. A lot of companies have already started on these trends, but there is still a majority that need to take the leap on this transformation.
Resham Chhabra Head – Communication at Nestaway Technologies Pvt Ltd says, “The best internal communication strategies do more than simply manage and distribute information. They are core and are relevant irrespective of the period. The basic underline communication is always honest and transparent.” She also adds, “The vital components of any internal communications plans are – Analysis of the current state of the business, What the internal communications plan is going to accomplish, Who your audience is, What your message is, How you will share your messages, When you will send your internal communication, How you will measure internal communication performance
Shubesh Ravindran is a co-founder at Thoughtcom, Also says “Content – Quality and Packaging – is the key.” He explains this by saying that, ‘People are our greatest asset’ – time has come for companies to practice what they say. Employees celebrate and respond to relevant and well packaged content.
“Also, Invest in technology. Adopt tools like Office 365 which helps enhance enterprise mobility. This is applicable for even smaller organisations who often restrict themselves to email interactions only. An agile working environment is critical to running a successful communication strategy; be it internal or external.” He also, adds that, “A clear evaluation and re-purposing of internal channels/ tools is important. It is not ‘how much and how many’, but ‘how distinct and how engaging’ that should be the factors of evaluation for internal communications.”
Krusha says,”I foresee empathy to be a big one, with increasing work-life integration and a focus on mental health. Tech savvy will be an important skill too, to meet the employee where they are. The ability to also move towards a more hierarchy-free communication structure, encouraging transparency and two-way communication, beyond the traditional top-down methods will be crucial.”
Resham adds,”A strategic internal communications plan can help unify employees in different offices or functions through a shared vision of company goals and a sense of its values. I believe that a well-designed program should engage the workforce, increase employee retention, and enhance productivity.”
According to Shubhesh – there are 3 skill sets –
“Empathy and observation. Communication is a very human domain especially when people are spending most of their waking-up hours at their workplace.
Workplace has almost become people’s identity. Tread cautiously. Dive deep. Generate your own insights. Identifying clear goals for every stakeholder group through FGDs (face-to-face/web conferencing) is highly imperative to determine a sound approach that will give you the desired outcomes. THINK engagement NOT dissemination –One size does not fit all. Any communication strategy today needs to clearly establish the expected engagement or response from the audience determine its effectiveness. While measurability is still a challenge in an internal context, the potential of your communication triggering the right response is a crucial deciding factor to evaluate its efficiency. and Simplify, Share & Seek – Use a more instantly accessible media to share results and seek prompt feedback.”
Krusha shares her experience saying, ” As my role in leading my team in the APAC region, I try to mirror a lot of what is followed in my head office in Paris. I think our management at Sociabble has been one of the early adopters in open, tech-empowered, and empathetic communication. Of course, being in the internal communication industry probably gave us that edge, and this is exactly the vision we try to take through our platform, strategy, and work with other companies across the globe.
I feel motivating your team is one of the most important tasks. After all, motivation boosts productivity, workplace morale, and reduces turnover. That’s a win-win-win if you ask me.
One of the most overlooked ways to motivate your team is through communication. Through effective communication, your employees feel more empowered. It also gives them a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and responsibility.
Shubesh shares his approach, – Direct conversations. Groom the leader in them. Motivate the team members to invest in themselves. Learn about their values, their own contradiction and strengths. Conversations on subtle nuances of communications. Qualitative analysis of the domain. Sharing our knowledge on our team groups facilitates active learning. Recurring Goal Setting & Review Model: Evolve. As communication across internal and external channels have become intensely dynamic, one needs to track and review the goals more frequently. Quick 30-minute reviews every week help monitor progress and mitigate factors that can cause any deviation. Research Don’t restrict research to internal communications domain only. External campaigns tend to give you a broader perspective of people’s interpretations.”
Thanks to our contributors for these insights:
Krusha Sajhwani Malkani started her professional journey as early as when she was 19. She has worked in Public Relations, followed by Social media, in Mumbai, during her initial years and then went on to pursue her Masters in International Business in Singapore; after which she worked with Sociabble as a business developer in France for the English speaking European market and then brought the company to India in 2017 and has been leading the APAC operations for the company ever since. When she isn’t involved in turning the region’s employees into an engaged workforce, you will find her writing. She has a recently launched Instagram page called @write_the_world_pink and has launched her first e-book on Amazon, a few months ago, called ‘A Steaming Cup of Tea‘.
Resham Chhabra heads the Public Relations and the Internal Communications teams at Nestaway. At NestAway, Resham designs the communications strategy for the company for both internal and external audience. She was a key team member in strategizing and implementing the #HomesThatDontDiscriminate campaign, which won global Effie Awards and gold at Abby awards.
As someone who has always been drawn towards start-ups and strategy since the beginning of her career, Resham was one of the early employees of Advanced Idea Mechanics, which aimed at introducing an Electric Vehicles Ecosystem in India. Resham is very passionate about giving back to society and was involved in managing CSR partnerships in her previous stints as well. While she was a part of Accenture, she managed the company’s partnerships with NGOs like Rockefeller Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Resham was also involved with GPower which works to re-admit schoolgirls into formal education, address cases of missing children and prevent child marriages and also presented a case study on it in the UN.
Shubesh Ravindran is a co-founder at Thoughtcom (earlier BLAQ), a 12+ year old communications agency specializing in the domains of Brand & Marketing with a keen focus on Internal Communications and Employee Engagement. He leads the group creative division for key verticals – print, digital and events.