In an era of doing more with less, HR professionals are increasingly assuming responsibilities beyond their traditional roles, including managing Internal Communications (Internal Comms). With the luxury of standalone Internal Comms roles becoming scarce in many organizations, the burden often shifts to those in people-centric roles who are deemed effective communicators.

You’re a Generalist. Generally, do this well too, thanks!

The rise of remote work has added complexity to existing areas that a people team is generally already dealing with – being adept with labor laws for multiple states, new processes for I9 verification for example. It’s also added demands on new policies (hybrid work policy and remote onboarding) that just wasn’t something the whole company had to think about previously.

And now, I’ve been seeing the trend of Internal Comms responsibilities creeping into the job function as well much more noticeably. Demand for strong internal communications from leaders and organizations remain high but budgets and roles to enable this are getting remixed and mashed together. HR personnel and related professionals find themselves orchestrating the deployment of new corporate initiatives, handling communications from executive leadership, and overseeing change management for policy, personnel, and even technology for the organization.

For example, an HR professional might be tasked with leading the rollout of a new technology system across the company. This responsibility often lands on them not just because of their role, but because they are skilled in crafting messages that engage and resonate across diverse employee groups.

Identifying the Accidental Internal Communicator

Have you ever been roped in to do any of the following?

  • Take a couple of bullets from the CEO or leadership team and convert them into a communication for the management team and then another one for the employee-base at large.
  • We want to plan a company off-site. Can you make it happen?
  • Can you be the emcee for our next all-hands meeting?
  • Great job on our last all-hands meeting! Can you take them over going forward?
  • Can you field Q&A for our all-hands meetings now and share answers with the team for topics we didn’t have a chance to get to live?
  • That last message we sent out around our hybrid policy – do people get it? Can you make sure that everyone understands it and shares feedback around it?
  • We’re thinking about rolling out a new policy. You’re the beloved company OG…can you get a sense of what folks would think of this?
  • You always know what’s going on. Have you heard any great stories from throughout the organization that we should be talking about/sharing internally?
  • People call you the heart or soul of the organization.

 

If you find yourself taking on tasks like these and your title is Executive Assistants, HR Generalists, People Operations, and even Chief People Officers, you may have just become an accidental internal communicator! Congrats?

To be fair, some of the role, when it doesn’t exist full-time, is getting pushed into Operations departments. So Sales Operations may be doing some of the work to ensure that the sales team is feeling connected and aligned. But at the company level, it’s been these folks I mentioned above or the leadership team directly who are doing this work.

You are not alone and are probably ready for it

If any of this sounds like your experience — I’m writing this primarily to say that you are not alone!

Moreover, you’re probably the ideal person to do this and adding internal communications skills to your toolbelt is broadly useful. Whether you’re an Executive Assistant suddenly tasked with drafting emails for the CEO, an HR Generalist coordinating new employee benefits, or a People Leader orchestrating a company off-site, the expansion of your role is a testament to your capabilities and the trust your organization places in you.

If you find yourself pondering questions like “Can I manage this new company-wide program effectively?” or “How do I gather employee feedback on this new policy?”—these are signs you are stepping into the shoes of an internal communicator.

In our upcoming webinar session, we’ll dive deeper into practical strategies for navigating these added responsibilities and explore how partnerships with other departments like IT and Marketing can streamline your workflow and enhance communication effectiveness.

The scenario we’ve discussed is an opportunity to grow of course, but it’s hard to do when there is a lot on your plate already. If you’ve been with the organization for some time though you are well positioned to make an impact. HR professionals and those in similar roles often have a deep understanding of the organizational culture and strong relationships across the company. This positions them uniquely to communicate effectively without the typical apprehensions associated with more formal corporate communications.

Overall, embracing the role of an internal communicator, even when it’s not your official title, can significantly benefit your organization. It allows for more human-centric and responsive communications, enhancing both the employee experience and the company’s operational effectiveness.

As the landscape of Internal Comms continues to evolve, understanding how to effectively integrate these responsibilities can lead to professional growth and a more cohesive organizational culture.