What do you look for when recruiting internal communications talent?
As an interim internal communications leader for businesses across multiple sectors, I’ve often had to build or rebuild internal comms teams. Here are the skills I look for when recruiting an internal comms professional:
1. Commerciality and Business Acumen
CEOs and leadership teams want communicators who are on their wave length. That means people with strong business sense who can tap into the leadership team’s view of the organisation, its strategy and priorities. To earn a voice at the top table, today’s IC managers need to be able to link internal communications plans intrinsically with the business strategy – actively supporting delivery of business priorities.
2. Strong people skills – at all levels
Of course internal comms specialists need to be able to work confidently with leadership teams and be a trusted advisor…but they also need to be equally adept at connecting with the front line and staying in touch with their issues. A key part of our role in IC is to improve connectivity between leadership teams and front line employees so an ability to relate to all levels is essential.
3. Brilliant writing
It should go without saying that an Internal Comms Manager must be able to write well. So I’m frequently amazed by the number of people in the industry who lack this basic skill! From key message development, drafting announcements, telling business stories and blogs, the ability to create accurate, compelling content is fundamental to the role. And the first ‘red flag’ is often a poorly written CV…….
4. Expert channels management
A great IC pro needs to be able to develop and manage an effective suite of channels. It’s no longer simply about face-to-face, email and intranet, but in the digital era we have a much broader spectrum that now includes platforms such as Yammer and Workplace. Making them work together is a key skill. And creativity is key – particularly with millennials who respond to creative, engaging comms.
5. Great planning and organisation
Internal comms managers need to be great at pulling together communication plans, in particular for change programmes. This means factoring in multiple and diverse audiences, cross-geographical teams, resource availability and timing around other business activity, giving the comms maximum chance of a successful landing.
If you’d like some support building or rebuilding your internal comms team, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.