Blog: internal communication myths – your shouts

Internal communications myths - part two

October 27, 2015

Internal communication is surrounded by plenty of myths, it appears.

Our Head of IC Strategy Jane Revell named her top five internal comms myths in this recent blog post – and it struck a chord with the IC community, who named a host of other ‘myths’ they face in their daily roles.

Here’s some of our favourites:

Myth: This message is relevant to ALL staff.
Submitted by: @klathigra via Twitter, who said: “Treating staff as a homogenous group especially in global, complex organisations is a quick route to inefficient internal communications!”
Jane’s verdict: “Another classic for IC people from colleagues eager to get their message out but without thinking about who might really be interested and how the information can be targeted to reach people more effectively.”

Myth: Anyone can do internal communications.
Submitted by: @sarahrroberts via Twitter.
Jane’s verdict: “Internal communications has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years, from the days when the MD’s PA would put together a company newsletter. Internal communications is now a serious, strategic business function that requires multi-skilled professionals.

Jane Revell
Jane Revell

Myth: Social media is owned by iComms/IT.
Submitted by: Lesley Crook via LinkedIn, who said: “Enterprise business tools e.g. Yammer are intended to span the length and breadth of a company and should be positioned as digital internal DNA. So business processes, OD and KM should be part of it.”
Jane’s verdict: “Another common myth. IT often tries to ‘own’ internal social media and pulls the strings when organisations are looking into different options for ESNs. A collaborative approach across different teams is needed, helping to embed it across the organisation.

Myth: One size fits all.
Submitted by: @sarahrroberts via Twitter.
Jane’s verdict: “A blanket approach to internal communications will never be the most effective. To connect emotionally with employees, you need to understand your different people and what makes them tick or turns them off. Different messages, channels and content will appeal to different people.

Myth: Only IC are responsible for IC / internal comms function ‘owns’ internal comms.
Submitted by: @antashton1 and @wapurvis / @lisapantelli via Twitter.
Jane’s verdict: “Internal communications is everyone’s job. IC helps to create understanding and shared knowledge, and everyone needs to take responsibility for good internal communications, from leaders to people managers to frontline employees.”

Myth: IC is the magic formula to solve all internal problems in a company.
Submitted by: Saturnino Muñoz Gomez via LinkedIn, who said: “Consistent solutions to real staff issues cannot be replaced by IC campaigns.”
Jane’s verdict: “People often look to internal communications to wave the proverbial magic wand to fix cultural, deeply ingrained organisational issues. Problems need to be addressed organisation wide, taking a long-term strategic view, focusing on the business objectives rather than expecting internal communications to put a sticking plaster on things.”

Myth: When things go wrong in an organisation, IC can somehow ‘cheer’ people up.
Submitted by: Deborah Gogarty
Jane’s verdict: “Internal communications should provide an honest and transparent account of the company, empowering employees with the good news and the bad, encouraging conversations and input to consider ways to improve and work together to achieve the overall goals.”

Myth: Internal communications and employee engagement are the same thing.
Submitted by: Paul Harvey, who highlighted the complicated relationship between employee engagement and IC.
Jane’s verdict: Research from Engage for Success highlights the impact of engaged employees on an organisation’s bottom line and IC is just one of the functions that helps to enable employee engagement.”