Connecting people whose main work is to communicate with employees and facilitate communication between employees and management
Where is the Internal Communications function housed in your organization?
November 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm #173805
Although public affairs is an organization with which everyone is familiar and understands its importance to citizen engagement, agencies often don’t put as much effort into engaging their own employees. Research shows that employee engagement can have up to a 30% impact on an organization’s performance by any measure, and internal communications should be leveraged as a key employee engagement enabler.
But maybe I’m missing something. Does anyone else’s agency have an Office of Internal Communications or an Internal Communications Team? If so, where do they fall in your organization? Are they a function within public affairs, or are they their own distinct operating unit? How is this office or team structured? This inquiring mind wants to know!
November 28, 2012 at 6:19 pm #173821
Here at the USGS, Internal Comm. is a distinct team in the Office of Communications and Publishing, which is in the Directors Office.
And I think that’s where it has to be — if internal comm. isn’t aligned directly with the highest levels of leadership, you’re not really taking it seriously.
November 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm #173819
At Customs & Border Protection it’s in the Commissioner’s Office coordinated with Public Affairs. Cross office representation. The big offices have their own internal comm function.
Comptroller of the Currency – Communication w/ Chief of Staff.
Usually partners include HR and EEO
November 29, 2012 at 2:48 am #173817
When you say it is coordinated with Public Affairs, does that mean it is a team within Public Affairs, or is it an informal group coordinated by Public Affairs? And if the big offices have their own internal communications functions, what does the internal communications team coordinated by Public Affairs do?
November 29, 2012 at 2:51 am #173815
I agree 100% Dave. Alignment with the head of the agency is a must. It’s the only way to help the head of the Agency clarify his vision and promote shared ownership of that vision with staff.
Out of curiosity, how many people are on the team at USGS, and how are they organized?
November 29, 2012 at 11:58 am #173813
Re the function at CBP, here is my best understanding, based on 7 years of working there and staying in touch afterward.
Internal Comm is written into the charter of Public Affairs so to speak – meaning the web copy that appears on the Intranet describing the PA function. It is a function, but not a standalone function. Here is the division of labor in practice:
* The Commissioner and his advisors decide what he is going to say to employees. These are the executive messages that go out, primarily by email. I don’t recall that there were a lot of those.
* Public Affairs handles the distribution of outreach campaigns aimed at employees. One of my most exciting projects at CBP was an intensive security awareness campaign where we “branded” it. We also did an internal project for the Training Division aimed at recruiting more executives to leadership training. (Public Affairs did NOT handle HR or Diversity announcements where a standalone internal comm function might do this.)
* The major offices (Border Patrol, Field Operations, Air & Marine, and Trade) are very tightly run, have specialized cultures and do specialized work so they have their own internal communications apparatus. These include newsletters, employee bulletin boards, memos to the field through the chain of command, etc.
Overall there are cross-cutting structures to ensure coordination:
* Commissioner’s Senior Staff meetings
* Every office has a web representative to contribute to an overall governance board for both the external web and the intranet. Public Affairs moderates web copy.
* Not least important is coordination with DHS Headquarters which was not much of a factor in 2005 but which became more and more important beginning approximately with the last election.
You may want to look at the Federal Communicators Network group as a lot of the folks there do internal comm. There are some points of contact I can share with you offline as well.
November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm #173811
We have a grand total of two — a chief (me) and a specialist. We will also be looking to fill another specialist position soon.
We are always trying to find ways to look bigger than we are (like you do when you encounter a bear in the wild). That includes working with/helping folks on other teams (pub. affairs, congressional affairs) in our office to carry out internal comm. roles, and getting the staff of the execs we work with to do the same. This is in addition to student hires, details, etc., that we can pull off.
November 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm #173809
This is a great discussion and something we have been struggling with and pushing at our organization. For us internal communications is a self-defined function of our Communications Team, which sits in our Directorate for User Services. I would also be interested to know if those who have Internal Communications Teams use social business tools within their agencies.
November 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm #173807
Just because Internal Comm sits in a certain place in the organization or does certain things…doesn’t mean that is the right place or that it’s doing the right things.
Here is a neat article: “Internal Communications Is Boring”
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