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COMING TO THE FORE...

The role of internal communications in the months ahead.

As a lifelong communications professional, there’s one pattern I’ve seen repeated again and again: comms as an afterthought. If I had a pound for every time I’ve learned about an initiative just as it was about to begin, I could have retired some time ago. Or at least enjoyed a really expensive holiday.
 

But we’re now in a place where businesses across the UK have realised the importance of their comms teams in a way they’ve never done before. And that’s because they’ve been experiencing an extraordinary need for consistent, clear, accurate communications across every function at the same time.

 

The first few months were a flurry of reactivity. Comms had to be done on the hoof because the situation was changing on an almost daily basis. But we’re gradually moving into a phase where we can be more considered. Where we can plan ahead. Where we can look to our comms teams to help lead the charge, not follow frantically after it.

LOOKING AHEAD

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, we can think about how we’ll get achieve this ‘new normal’ we keep hearing about. And while comms won’t help businesses decide their new structures or working practices, they’ll be crucial to introducing and embedding them. They’ll be an integral part of putting them in place. And they should be involved from the very beginning.

Line managers and team leaders across the UK — and around the world — have stepped up to adapt to new ways of working. To meet the new challenges facing their people. If they’re going to keep doing that in this latest period of change, they’ll need guidance and resources that actively support them.

That means clear, concise, strategic comms that tell them not only what they need to know, but what others need to know as well. Like how workplaces will be operating. How furloughed colleagues will be brought back. How everyone can stay safe. And how businesses intend to weather this particular storm.

There will be new rules. New standards. New expectations. And consulting with your comms team as those are developed, ensures timely, accurate, clear and strategic dissemination of information at every level. It makes sure everyone starts the new chapter on the same page.

NO GOING BACK

I’d really like to see a permanent change come out of this situation. I’d like there to be a new level of recognition and appreciation of the comms role as a strategic function of the business. The same kind of recognition given to functions like HR and HSE. Legal and finance.

Resilience and forward planning.

Because communication isn’t a ‘soft’ skill. It’s a discipline in its own right. It offers a unique set of skills and insights that can be of active use in protecting, supporting and developing a business. So now’s the time to let it come to the fore.

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