Companies with a large number of employees may struggle to keep their workers informed about issues that affect them. Many turn to internal communications professionals to help get their messages out to employees and to keep workers engaged in company initiatives. While public relations professionals focus on the company's customers and/or the general public, internal communication see employees as their key audience.
The internal communication manager often serves as an advisor to company leaders. She may suggest what information should be presented to employees, the methods by which it should be delivered and the timing for the information's release. She should be prepared to defend her suggestions to the company's decision makers and support her ideas with research or experience. She should be willing to speak up when she feels her advice is needed, even if it is not requested by the firm's leaders.
The internal communications manager should know how to prepare a strategic communication plan for the company. This plan should include goals for the company's communications, the methods the company will use to achieve those goals, and the time frame in which the steps will be executed. The plan should be consistent with the company's mission, vision, values and external messages to its customers.
A professional in internal communications should possess excellent writing, spelling and grammar skills. She should be comfortable writing speeches, newsletter articles, short messages for electronic signage, blog entries, Intranet pages and other materials.
The communication specialist should continually seek information on trends and techniques in internal communication. He should read trade journals and books, attend conferences and participate in web-based forums with other corporate communication professionals. He should be able to evaluate which new ideas and technologies would be appropriate and successful in his company.
The internal communication leader must have the skills to determine whether her initiatives are successful. She should be familiar with techniques for measuring the results of her communication efforts (including surveys and focus groups) and know when to use these techniques. She should be able to take the information gained through measurement and use it to adjust her communication plan as needed.
Teamwork and Coaching
The internal communication manager may be asked to cooperate on projects with the company's external communication team. She should be willing to share ideas and listen to the suggestions of others. She should be an effective mentor to those she supervises and/or to line-level workers who write departmental news for company publications.
The internal communicator should also be able to coach executives, helping them prepare for speeches, develop executive blog entries and complete other tasks.
Education and Experience
Companies expect an internal communication manager to bring five to 10 years of experience to the job, as well as a bachelor's degree in communication, journalism, marketing or a related field.
The ability to use Microsoft Office products is a common job requirement. Graphic design skills and experience with QuarkXpress and Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and/or Illustrator may be required. Communicators may need to be proficient in Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe Dreamweaver or other software used to maintain the company's Intranet site.
Experience in writing and/or editing video presentations for employees may be needed.
- Photo Credit corporate building image by Vitaly from Fotolia.com
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