I'm talking about a subject matter expert in the art of communications tools and technology (the "weapons" of a communicator), such as your intranet, enterprise social media, and other tools that enable the rest of the team to focus on communicating.
Ten years ago, your communications team needed to be the best writers in the building. They were focused on writing the flawless email or article, painstakingly crafting every sentence and scrutinizing every word to ensure the tone and message were perfect.
But those days are in the past.
Employees don't have the time (or the attention span) to read pages and pages of prose from business leaders. They want short, concise messages, preferably with bullet points that they can jump to and read to get the information pertaining to them.
Therefore today's internal communicators need to be snipers, delivering messages with concise precision, through the best channel available for reaching their specific audience.
The days of blanket emails to the entire company (or large swaths of employees) that only have meaning or require action from a select few are over. Employees are more sophisticated now and expect their internal communications to be personalized, targeted and, most importantly, directly relevant to them. Their online experience at work must reflect their personal experiences with popular consumer sites like Facebook or Amazon.com.
That's where the communications technology and tool specialist comes in.
Enterprises need someone (or in some cases, a small team of people) focused solely on the the tools that internal communicators use to communicate to employees. This includes:
- intranet management issues like publishing governance, content management, updating news feeds and changing layouts.
- identifying systems and processes for identifying your audiences (such as PeopleSoft or SAP HR), that are kept up-to-date by another team who has a business reason to do so, such as HR.
- determining content distribution models to ensure efficient and effective management of communication vehicles. (For example, where does content originate? How is it distributed?)
- measuring effectiveness of these vehicles.
- researching and implementing new tools and vehicles.
- working with IT to discuss functionality improvements and troubleshoot technical issues.
Having a communications "weapons" specialist ensures that the next time that "weapon" is needed, loaded and waiting in the team's arsenal.
Does your organization have someone in a role like this? If so, does he or she have additional, traditional internal communications responsibilities? If so, is that model working?