Getting around as an internal communicator in organizations isn’t easy if the role is misunderstood, you haven’t spent time establishing your presence and making an impact. I invite you to reflect on Ramesh’s case as he faces challenges in his role as the internal communications manager of Growth Ltd, a pharmaceutical company that is ramping up plans to grow across the country and release new medicines in the market.
Ramesh, having completed his masters in communications abroad returned to India to explore opportunities and landed with a consultancy. He disliked the culture in the organization and left for Growth which advertised for a position in internal communications. With less than two years of experience he reported in to the head of corporate communications and his tasks included writing articles, churn out reports, conducting office events and updating the corporate intranet. Sometimes his manager would let his drafts pass by and sometimes would rebuke him for not understanding the audience.
Ramesh wasn’t sure if he was doing what internal communicators were expected to do but this is what his manager asked him to do. Here is an excerpt from a conversation which Ramesh had with his manager.
Ramesh: “Hi Vidya, I wanted to talk to you about my role and work. I feel with my experience and educational qualification I can do a lot more in internal communications but I am unsure of how I can add value. Can you tell me more?”
Vidya: “Look Ramesh – you have immense potential to grow in the role. You have the right attitude, you bring in fresh perspectives and you do as you are told. All these are excellent traits. You are doing just fine. Growth is on the right path to expand and we have a lot to do – even supporting the sales team and the CEO. The CEO recently told me that he wanted us to ghost write his blog.”
Ramesh: “What is the internal communications team tasked to do?”
Vidya: “That is a long discussion but in a nutshell we are supposed to be owners of all communications that goes to our employees. Sometimes we extend our reach to events and community work and marketing.”
Ramesh: “Where do I fit in? How do I know my final destination? How do I know when I reach there?”
Vidya: “Ramesh, you seem to be getting perturbed about trivial stuff. Our goal is to support the CEO and his team. They have their agenda and we communicate for them. Finally, they are the ones who evaluate us on how we fared. So in a way, their goal is our goal.”
Ramesh didn’t seem convinced. He felt Vidya was losing the plot.
Ramesh: “I guess then we will talk later. Got to complete that report Mani wanted me to give him.”
He left the room feeling disillusioned with his role and work. He wanted to get ahead of the curve with internal communications as he heard the function played a crucial part in driving alignment and commitment among employees. Right now he was stumped.
- How can Ramesh elevate his presence and that of his function?
- If you were in Ramesh’s place how would you guide him out of this situation?
- What can Ramesh do differently to get better at what he is doing?
- If you had the opportunity to coach Vidya what recommendations will you share to help Ramesh with his questions?
Have you registered yet? Less than 3 weeks to go. Register for upcoming full-day, hands-on workshop Internal Communications 201 – Driving Change and Elevating Your Presence on July 7, 2012 at Bangalore and get crucial answers to make you an effective internal communicator and leader. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org