Making your Christmas wish list is so much harder as you get older, or so declares a meme I spotted on social media this week. It’s like: What do I want this year? Hmmm… more sleep? Financial security? Or at least a new bra. Children have no problem reeling off an endless list of dream gifts, but it’s somehow much tougher as the decades slip by. But, as someone who loves my job, how about my internal communications wish list? Is that any easier, and how can we help it to actually come true?
There are actually more similarities than you might think between your festive most wanted and internal communications must-haves. After all, the job of an internal communications professional is to work out what people need to make them feel valued and to give it to them in the simplest, most accessible way possible. Not unlike the perfect Christmas gift.
So, with that in mind, here’s my internal communications wish list. A guide to finding inspiration and that little bit of magic, at any time of year.
1) Time to create
According to Harvard Business School research, yes creative teams can perform under tight deadlines, but the end result can fall short of the truly inventive and inspirational ideas they’d have developed in a longer timescale.
More time would always be at the top of any internal communications wish list. But, in an industry where it’s normal to be working on multiple projects, with fast turnarounds, it’s often in short supply.
So protect your thinking time at all costs. If you can’t physically build more minutes into a project, bring in more heads to achieve the same principle. Choose who inputs wisely (I’ve found the best ideas can come from unexpected sources) and recognise the importance of iterating to achieve the best results. Essentially, place tangible value on the creative process, because it’s the foundation upon which your work will rise or fall.
2) Room for listening
Obvious, right? In at number 2 on our internal communications wish list – the simplest way to find out what someone wants is to ask them. Well, in a 2018 report by North American consulting company A J Gallagher, 12% of respondents didn’t measure their internal communications at all. And even if you have metrics and data, you need to make sure they’re of real value. Analytics have their place, but there’s a limit to what can be learned from click-throughs and bounce rates if they don’t connect to people’s real experiences of engagement or behavioural change.
Just like Christmas gifts, quality is more important than quantity when it comes to measurement of impact. Be clear about your objectives, and revisit them continually to ensure your work is hitting the mark. Then – and this is the important bit – take action to reflect what you find. Only then will your evaluation programme be really meaningful.
3) A big (or little) thank you
Small acts can make a big difference to a company’s culture. Which is why opportunities to make people feel valued and recognised come so high on my internal communications wish list.
Great communication isn’t just about giving information. Sentiment says just as much as the message itself. Make it personal and make it sincere, and you’re onto a winner.
The simplest thank yous are often the best. Things like a personalised card from the CEO, or a well done name-check at a town hall event all work wonders to build a culture where recognition is part of the DNA. And, maybe most importantly of all, they make individuals feel special and appreciated.
4) Valuing yourself
One of our value commitments is to embrace what makes us different – not only as an agency, but as individuals too.
Accepting and celebrating who you are can be a long road for many of us (me included), which is why this final item on my internal communications wish list is particularly important. It encourages us to introduce a bit of self-care into the way we approach our work.
Know your own value, because when you recognise what you bring to the table, others will too. Go against a lifetime of British self-deprecation to shine a light on the value you add, because that can only make you a more useful resource to any team. And surely there’s no better time than Christmas for giving a little more of yourself?
Have you got an internal communications wish list we can help you with? Get in touch to tell us more.