Focus on where you can have the most impactIt’s hard enough to do everything when you’re part of a team, let alone the only IC person in your whole organisation. So, be realistic about what you can achieve and focus your efforts where you can best support business objectives and have the biggest impact.
Align your activity to areas that are important to leadership and demonstrate the value it’s adding. Get that right and it’s much easier to paint a picture for them of what you could achieve if you had budget and resource.
Identify influencersFind the influencers in your organisation who can champion communication, support campaigns, share feedback from colleagues, and provide insight into your various audiences.
If you want to make it a formal group, you’ll need to set out a clear description of the role and what’s expected of people before asking for volunteers. It’s also important to remember they’re an extra group of people for you to communicate with and engage. So, ensure they feel valued, are asked for their input and are communicated with regularly.
If you want to have a more informal network you can call upon when needed, spend time away from your desk and in the business getting to know colleagues and spotting people who are natural communicators and leaders, people who are quick to volunteer and enjoy learning new skills.
Think of your influencers as part of your extended team, helping you to get a far wider reach and a better understanding of your organisation and its people.
Schedule a weekly editorial meeting to discuss upcoming communications and where there are opportunities to collaborate. You could also include representatives from other parts of the business so that you have a broad picture of what’s going on, enabling you to be proactive rather than reactive, and spread the load across several departments.
Working closely with other teams can also help you measure the impact of your communications more effectively, as you can agree together what success will look like and use their data to help demonstrate the role internal communication played.
Help people to help themselves
Not having to create everything, frees us up to do a lot more of the strategic side of our work, so if you’re a solo IC pro, encourage people to create their own comms – with your support of course.
Provide internal communication toolkits that include tone of voice guidance, templates, channel matrix etc, and be prepared to invest some time up front coaching people and editing content. It will pay dividends in the end, helping you work in a much smarter way.
Lean on the network
Become a member of a professional body such as CIPR, IoIC, IABC or PRCA and gain access to their members and resources. There’s also an active network on Twitter – just search #InternalComms to join in the conversation, or if you have a specific question tweet @theICcrowd and they’ll share it.
We’re also on LinkedIn, there are plenty of practitioners writing blogs about internal comms packed full of useful advice, and throughout the year there are industry events where you can learn and meet fellow IC people.
Being a solo internal communicator can feel lonely, but you’re far from alone. There’s an enormous amount of support, resources and ways of working, both inside and outside your organisation, that can help you make a real impact. So, what are you waiting for?
By Helen Deverell for Alive with Ideas