In this edition of Ask the Expert, we interviewed Denise Remund, CEO of Remund Communications, a business consultancy with a focus on internal communication. Denise tells us the importance of a defined strategy when it comes to tackling the internal communication in an organization.
Denise, who are you and what is your relation to internal communication?
I am an upbeat, open person with a lot of energy and a zest for life. Corporate communications is my passion, which I have had the privilege of shaping formany years in a wide variety of companies.
With Remund Communications, I focus on consulting companies in internal communications. In my past jobs, including as Head of Internal Communications in two large companies, I have seen that employee communication at eye level can make an immense difference. A difference in employee satisfaction, loyalty and commitment, in the acceptance and support of management decisions, in change processes and, for example, in the area of employer branding. That is why I have made it my mission to accompany and support companies on their way to sustainably effective internal communication.
What importance do companies in Switzerland attach to internal communications?
Generally speaking, I would say it has a relatively high priority. Of course, there are enormous differences - depending on the size of the company, the industry, but also the culture and structure that prevail in a company. The economic pressure in many industries, the shortage of skilled workers, and the Corona pandemic have all played an essential role in making internal communications more relevant in recent years. However, there are still many companies that allocate few or no resources to this area. The problem is certainly also that it is difficult to demonstrate the direct and very concrete benefits of internal communications and the associated expenditure on, for example, an intranet or an employee event. But as already mentioned, I am convinced that strategically positioned employee communications can bring many advantages and great benefits, especially in the long term.
Virtually all companies have a corporate strategy and a mission statement. What does it look like in terms of internal communication strategy?
The strategy in corporate communication or even in internal communication is unfortunately not present in many companies. But especially when we talk about the issue of resources and accountability of spending and its benefits, a clear and detailed strategy helps. It helps to set the focus, be it in defining the appropriate communication channels, addressing the target groups or generating content. Furthermore, it forms the basis for making decisions.
An important part of the strategy is also the definition of key figures that measure the success of the implemented measures. This aspect in particular also helps the communications department to justify expenditures and the use of resources. Therefore, I recommend every communication department to define a strategy and to act and decide according to it. This includes a strategy for internal communication.
What does a good internal communication strategy look like? What elements and aspects does it cover?
The most important thing is that the (internal) communication strategy is based on the corporate strategy. After all, the defined communication measures should correlate with the achievement of the company's goals.
Other elements that need to be recorded in it are, for example
- the target groups (and no, in most companies the employees are not to be regarded as a single, homogeneous target group)
- an analysis of the current state in terms of communication channels, content, etc.
- the strategic target definition and related measures to be taken for the next 1-3 years
- the budget and the measurement of success
The defined strategy also serves as a kind of guideline for internal communications employees when making decisions and setting a focus.
Why do you think companies should invest in the topic of internal communication strategy?
I don't think you should spend hundreds of hours on theories and strategies, but simply tackle things, try them out and realign them if necessary. Nevertheless, it's important to have a certain foundation for this, otherwise you'll get lost in the abundance of possibilities. What good are the coolest internal guerrilla activities if they completely miss the target group? What good is an intranet for all office staff if it doesn't reach the production staff, who make up 60% of the workforce? To ensure that this doesn't happen, it's important to understand who you want to address, how they want to be addressed, what resources you have available and in what context, and what corporate culture you're aiming for in the future.