It's been raining in Barcelona. And raining hard. But the event that I am attending, the Internal Communications Forum, has been filled with some very challenging questions.
- How do you manage culture change? Particularly when you are merging businesses.
- Where are the middle managers in the communication process? Why is it that they always seem to be the broken link?
- How can you increase your credibility as communicators and the credibility of our channels?
- How can we better use measurement to bolster our communication?
But today we had a rather loud conversation about whether HR or Corporate Communications should be the home of Internal Communications. Some people said that aligning internal comms closely to the marketing function is the only way to increase your stature and prospects in a company. Others volunteered that corporate communications was a more strategic function and therefore a better place to be. Internal comms must be connected to the brand, said another.
The many people here (there are almost 100) are aligned to their HR department, and I could see a few people I know were sitting on their hands.
So, what is it?
So let's ask a few more questions:
- When there is major organisational change (M&A, downsizing, etc.) who has the most important internal role?
- When there are labour issues, or issues with works councils, who tends to have to deal with those?
- Where is the employee survey commissioned from?
- Who manages the direct 'hygene factors' for most employees?
I am guessing most companies would answer 'HR' to at least 3-4 of these.
Does that mean IC has to be in HR?
Does it mean IC can operate in exclusion of HR?
There are great companies doing really interesting internal communications from both corporate comms & HR. I have personally moved an IC function from corporate communications to HR. and back again.