• Scott McInnes

#03 | Where should Internal Comms and Engagement live?


In some companies it sits in Corporate Communications ('It's important that you're aligned with media and external comms'); others in Marketing ('it's important that you're aligned with our brand and values'); and in some it's in the CEO's office (because our CEO should be at the heart of everything we say').

Each of those has its merits but for me, the Internal Commutations and Engagement (ICE) team should always sit slap bang in the middle of HR.

ICE is all about people. And having great people In the workplace is down to great leadership. Which - while driven by leaders across the business - rests on a foundation of support from HR.

As a function, Internal Communications can write all the intranet stories, emails and team talk packs we like. We can plaster values all over the walls, run competitions and tell people about 'Mary in Mullingar branch who held a coffee morning for ISPCC' but that's not going to have the impact that ICE can (and should) have.

For me, our role as practitioners isn't about US always 'doing' things. The bigger part of our job - and where we can make a real and lasting impact - is in helping leaders to change the way THEY do things About helping them to be better communicators and more engaging, authentic leaders.

And if we do it really well, maybe organisations won't need a central internal communications team like those that exist today. Because exec teams know what to communicate to their leaders and when. And leaders know how best to communicate that on to their teams in a way that REALLY resonates. Something that is almost impossible for central communications teams to do - we simply can't work the context or personalities of every team Into a single campaign.

So we need leaders to act as our voicepieces. And it's only when we're in HR that we can really do that - by being linked into how we find, nurture and support those leaders.

There's no doubt that sitting in other functions has some benefit, but for me, what you gain from being in them is FAR outweighed by what you lose by not being in HR.

  • Corporate Communications - I agree, we need to be aligned - but we can do that by staying close to each other, having open, honest dialogue and sharing plans.

  • Marketing - Yes, it's key to be true to our brand internally so it comes out externally. We can do that by agreeing values that are aligned with the brand and ensuring they are woven into all communications (very obviously in the beginning) to really bring them to life for staff

  • CEO's office - There's no doubt that solid, visible, engaging and human leadership from the top is key to communications and engagement success. However, a CEO can't know every staff member and every team, what floats their boat and how to land a message in 100 different contexts - that's the job of leaders across the business.

I'm not saying that organisations who put it elsewhere have gotten it wrong.

Actually, you know what, I guess that's exactly what I'm saying.

But hey, that's just me!


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