By Chris Izquierdo on January 24, 2022
3 minute read

Chris Izquierdo, CEO of Sparrow Connected, challenges internal communications professionals to embrace change, be more agile and measure outcomes as a step toward elevating the internal communications profession. 

Unprecedented. Yes, this word has been used (and overused) over the past couple years. And if you’re like me, you’re probably sick of hearing it. But I can’t think of a better word to describe the situation that internal communicators are navigating right now.  

The work environment we’re communicating in is unlike any other we’ve experienced before.  

  • The workplace is changing at a rapid pace. The workplace so many of us used to know is now a thing of the past.  
  • There is an attrition tsunami occurring around the globe. People are changing jobs at rates never seen before.  
  • A large percentage of the workforce that used to work in an office from 9-5 is now working fully remotely.   

While these unprecedented changes create many challenges for internal communications, they also create opportunities.  

The biggest opportunity I see for internal communications professionals is the opportunity to gain a strategic voice within their companies. An opportunity to truly prove its value and claim their place in the C-suite.  

Are you up for the challenge? Seizing this opportunity will require you to embrace change, be more agile and measure outcomes.  

1. Embrace Change 

Figuring out how to improve employee engagement is on every company’s radar right now. Primarily because varied work arrangements make it difficult to continue using traditional communication methods. 

Whether you’re at an international company with over 200,000 employees, or a smaller national company with 1,000 employees, you’re likely dealing with remote employees and/or in-office employees who are physically distanced from one another. Those casual water cooler talks and coffee runs that made employees feel connected and engaged just aren’t happening the way they used to.  

As an internal communications professional, you play a big role in keeping employees engaged. To do this well in 2022, you need to take a new approach. 

In this new world, how do you... 

  • Create culture?  
  • Encourage engagement between employees? 
  • Get employees excited about your business objectives? 

Some of the companies I’ve spoken with over the past few months have shared things they have tried in order to create the same (or close to the same) level of employee engagement they had pre-pandemic.  

The two that stood out to me most are: 

  1. Create moments of connection intentionally 
  2. Overcommunicate with your employees 

It’s important to note achieving a high level of employee engagement is a monumental task and results won’t happen overnight. Patience, creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and collaboration with other departments will be crucial to making any progress. 

2. Be More Agile 

If the pandemic has taught us anything it's that we need to be more agile, both professionally and personally. While I do believe that having an internal communications strategy is important, these days, I see strategy as more as a guiding light, rather than set in stone.  

This year, I think internal communications professionals need to embrace experimentation over extensive planning. Having the confidence to do something that may not be perfect for the sake of innovation and improvement is what’s going to make an impact for the internal communications field this year.  

How can you do this? Start by implementing something new this month with the transparency that you’re testing it. Try it out. If it doesn't work, try something else the next month. 

Using this test and learn method, you'll quickly uncover the communication tactics that are right (and wrong) for your workforce, and you can use this insight to adapt your strategy accordingly.  

If the idea of experimentation has you intrigued, I highly recommend reading this article on Forbes: How Full-Stack Experimentation Enables Google-Speed Product Development. 

This more agile approach to internal communications relies on measurement. How will you know if what you’re testing is working or not? You can easily collect anecdotal information about a tactic that you try, but having access to hard data will help you make more informed conclusions and decisions.  

This is a good segue into my next point on metrics.    

3. Measure Outcomes 

Internal communications departments have historically lacked data. This is still true for many companies today and it puts them at a major disadvantage.  

Internal communication professionals must move toward measuring impact on outcomes that matter to the business, not on measuring activities. It doesn't matter how many emails or Slack messages you sent out or how often you communicated, what matters is what the outcomes of these activities.  

How do you, as an internal communications professional, measure your impact on these desired outcomes?  

Take marketers for example. Marketers have ways of measuring their impact on outcomes like brand awareness and revenue. They have access to data that they can use to pull the right levers to dial up their performance. Access to data has helped marketers gain a seat at the executive table. I believe the same can be true for internal communications. 

If there’s one piece of advice I have for internal communications professionals right now, it is to seek out data and use it to show the impact that internal communications have on key business outcomes. This is your ticket to the big leagues.  

Final Thoughts 

With a whole new work environment, a tendency to do the status quo and a lack of data to measure outcomes, there are definitely challenges on the horizon for internal communication professionals. But they’re really disguised opportunities to transform, evolve and improve.  

By embracing change, being more agile and finding ways to measure outcomes, you not only have the power to create positive change in your company, but also to bring awareness and recognition to the internal communications field. Getting it one step closer to becoming a strategic function with a seat at the executive table.  


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