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How mature is your internal communication?

If I asked you how mature your organisation’s internal communication is, what would you say?

What about your Comms team?

If you feel like you want to change things in 2021, do you know where to start?

Today I have news of a maturity model that I know you’ll find useful, it’s been created by Pinaki Kathiari and the Local Wisdom team over in the US.

The model and accompanying assessment tool will help you:

  • Plot where your IC team is now
  • Determine where you’d like to be
  • Help you chart how to get from where you are now, to where you want to be
  • Help you spot the gaps.

Through my work at All Things IC, I advise teams internationally to help them increase their skills, knowledge and confidence. As a trusted adviser to trusted advisers, I work alongside Comms Directors and Heads of IC to counsel them on their team, strategy creation, working with stakeholders and more.

I help senior practitioners restructure and refine their teams and know where the gaps are. I’ve used Pinaki’s maturity model with a client already, and found it incredibly useful. I combined it with the Profession Map from the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) to help me benchmark.

Further reading: These are the skills you need to be an IC professional..

All Things IC

How can we improve?

This morning I spent two hours supporting a Comms team remotely and planning 2021 together via a bespoke Masterclass, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

A regular topic of conversation when I work with teams is how to constantly improve and refine what we offer.

I advise checking your internal communication mindset. This means being crystal clear: who you are, what you stand for, how you show up in the business and how you’re structured for success. I often refer to these as your Comms Principles.

Why is this important? Knowing how you are and what you do (and don’t do) is critical. You need to align yourself to the business’ priorities to create clarity in terms of available resource, strategic priorities and levels of service.

Need help with this? Do get in touch and ask me to train or benchmark your team..

Let’s turn our attention to the maturity model. 

I met Pinaki in person in 2019 when we both spoke at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Employee Communications section conference, #PRSAConnect, in Phoenix, Arizona.

He’s the CEO at Local Wisdom and we caught up via a call this year while the maturity model was in development. I enjoyed hearing the thinking behind it and think it’s an incredibly valuable roadmap for Communicators.

I’d love to know what you think of the model, do let me know by commenting below or you can find Pinaki on Twitter @TheOnlyPinaki .

Pinaki Kathiari

Why was it created?
Pinaki says: “We created the roadmap for teams to see where they are, envision where they want to go, and plan a course to their ideal internal communications maturity.”

This maturity model helps you accurately identify where a Comms team is now. You can then use it as a blueprint to match the team’s aspirations. It not only helps them understand what good looks like, but provides a structured approach and steps to take. I know many Comms pros around the globe will benefit from having access to this insight.

Here’s a peek at the model (Select the image to open it as a larger file).

Internal-Comms-team

Let’s take a closer look.

What stands out for me when looking at the model is:

  • The rise of business outcomes against work volume.
  • How including a content strategist can help a team move from level 1 to  level 2.
  • The importance of consistency and standards creation.
  • How metrics are a key component of level 5 – I encourage you to include them throughout your planning.

This model is for people who are building, managing or overseeing communications in their organisation. Consider the levels outlined in the model as a map, allowing you to pinpoint where you currently are, envision where you want to go, and giving you a high-level idea of what you need to get there.

Five key elements define each level: 

  1. Workday – describes a typical day in the life and provides a high-level summary of the team’s wins and challenges.
  2. Achievements – lists seven high-level milestones to reach an effective and efficient communication organisation. In Level 1, the team has no prior achievements; but by Level 6, they have fulfilled all levels and then replicated them throughout smaller local communication groups.
  3. Team – lists seven roles that are key to the ongoing production needs of the maturing squad. Local Wisdom has combined the positions and full-time equivalent (FTE) indicators to help you gauge the minimum time commitments you’ll need from members of your team. Not every organisation will have these roles as individual people. In earlier Levels, we’ll find more generalists who encompass multiple roles, but towards the end of the maturity, individuals tend to lean towards specialisation.
  4. Work volume – visually depicts how much work, in terms of people-hours, is necessary to accomplish the achievements for a particular level to progress to the next. For example, the surge in work volume in Level 2 is due to the additional effort needed to redesign and launch evolved communication channels and platforms.
  5. Business outcomes – depicts a visual graph to remind us that everything we do needs to net positive results for the organisation at-large.


What level are you at? 

Check out this 10-minute assessment to plot your team’s maturity level.

Internal-Comms-team-structure

Employee experience has ascended dramatically
Pinaki says: “Without a doubt, employee experience has proven itself to be an essential need for a successful organisation. Internal communications enable employees’ voices to be heard and acknowledged by leadership.

“Employee experience and internal communications is a competitive differentiator in today’s landscape. That being said, internal communication is often an after-thought and typically on a tight budget; and this is why we created our internal communication maturity model for digital content teams.”

50% of HR and Business leaders ranked Employee Experience as their top initiative for 2020.

“Through the work, research, and involvement in the internal communications community at Local Wisdom, we’ve honed in on the core structures, skills, resources, and mindset necessary to evolve your digital communications and content production.”

I hope you find this model useful, I know I’ll be using it in my work in 2021 and beyond. Congrats to Pinaki and the Local Wisdom team, thank you for creating such a valuable resource to support IC professionals.

I hope you have a great week,

Rachel.

First published on the All Things IC blog 14 December 2020.

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