TL; DR (also known as takeaways): Your culture may be standing in the way of…
While your communicators have been carefully crafting messages from the CEO, poring over the line count in your employee magazine, and drafting benefits memos for the HR department, the rest of your company is communicating with customers, employees, and each other – and your communicators don’t know a thing about it.
- Many employees receive more than 200 emails a day, according to Les Paul in Computer Reseller News, Dec 2003
- “In 1900 the average person saw 1,000 pieces of new information every six months. In 1960 that same amount of information was seen each week. Today we see that amount in one hour.”—Franklin Covey
Your communications department cannot be the only ones communicating on behalf of your organization. Instead, they are the ideal ones to ensure that everyone else is communicating information that is accurate and positioned the way the organization wants it.
Managing, not writing
Rather than being only writers or even editors, the communications department has to become the organization’s team of managing editors – setting the schedules, developing and enforcing style, making sure that the right people are disseminating and receiving the right information.
Where does the web come in?
The existence of the web has created an invitation to publish more information, and enabled more people to push out more stuff. (No mailing, easy to post, easy to change…or so the mentality goes.)
And email! There’s no need to remind anyone about how much more we send out, how much more there is to read. Gone are the days of the desk drop and the water cooler – information travels faster and farther than ever, both inside and outside of organizations. Emails are written fast and go through no formal approval processes. They’re generated like water-cooler conversation, but received like official memos delivered to each person’s desk. This is a problem.
No more separation
Back in the days of print, we used to be able to choose our audiences. While this was convenient for those who generated information, since they could often go about their business without being scrutinized, it led to the publication of information that was not always accurate or consistent with other information from the same organization.
But online, information from each group inside an organization lives together. And if the facts don’t match, if the tone is not consistent, if the messaging is off-base, the entire organization looks unprofessional. And that is just not good for business.
Put the right people and supports in place
Your communicators need to be “people” people, open to coaching and guiding all employees in how to communicate and in the value of working together toward shared goals. They need to be able to manage managers as well as line-level employees. They need to be editors-in-chief, planning, assigning and overseeing rather than doing.
In order to do this, they need to have support from the uppermost levels of the organization. This is equally true – and equally challenging – at a five-person family business as for a Fortune 200 corporation.
Content Company can help build the business case for transforming your communicators. Contact us.