10 Challenges All Internal Communicators Face At Least Once
Internal comms is a journey, not a destination
There are so many things I didn’t know when I started my internal comms career. Honestly, in what became my first internal comms role, I didn’t even know internal comms was a thing.
However, what I did know was my laundry list of expectations: start the company-wide newsletter, make the meeting for our managers “better,” launch the intranet, and so on. And that was just the beginning, because as any internal communicator knows all too well, every project opens the door to another.
I’m Sarah, and my internal comms origin story began 6 years ago at Magnolia, where I built internal comms and employee engagement functions from scratch. Since then, I’ve strategized, launched, and executed numerous channels of communication and employee-focused initiatives, and now at Local Wisdom, I support internal communicators (just like you) who are charged with the audacious task of increasing engagement within their own orgs.
I learned eventually that this work (that I didn’t even know was a prioritized function in orgs literally the world over) was—and continues to be—a journey. If I treated every program, event, and initiative as a destination, I was going to burn myself out. (Side note, if you’re curious about burnout read our post about it here.)
Had I known the challenges I was up against in those early days were common in the world of internal comms, I think I would have had more compassion for myself and paced myself better. A list like this one would have been literal gold in my hands—here’s hoping it’s gold in yours.
Solving problems and slaying dragons
Over the years—decades, actually!—Local Wisdom has helped internal comms teams of all sizes and all levels of maturity (more about that in a sec…) solve some of the most complex challenges within their organizations. And we love to do it, because core to our business is problem-solving.
We know what it feels like to be at your wit’s end. In those moments, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. But, we believe there is always a way forward. Personally, what I think sets us apart is our ability to meet you and your team right where you are during this process. If you need us to navigate from the passenger’s seat, we can do that. If you need us to drive so that you put your focus on other things, we can do that, too.
Which leads us to our list of 10 common challenges all internal communicators face at some point. We’ll identify why each quest is worth completing, and, ultimately, how to know if you’ve slayed the dragon.
- The benefit of completing this quest: A more proactive approach to company-wide communication (i.e., less scrambling).
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You have a standardized process for content production that lays out WHERE content is coming from, WHAT needs to be communicated, and WHEN it should be released.
- The benefit of completing this quest: A more static place where relevant updates and essential information can live long-term—a single source of truth for your company.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You made it across the finish line and launched your company’s first intranet and have integrated it as a new channel of communication within your process for content production. (That last part is huge.)
- The benefit of completing this quest: A more technologically advanced platform that’s easier for your employees to navigate and for you to update.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You have successfully reorganized and shifted all relevant content from one platform to another and managed the change within your org.
- The benefit of completing this quest: Increased trust between executives and employees.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You have created a steadfast rhythm for leadership comms outside of, or in addition to, established cadences for creating and publishing content.
- The benefit of completing this quest: Your team has more bandwidth to meet the growing comms needs of your company.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You have a clear understanding of the areas of strength and opportunity for your team and there is more headspace to focus on other important business initiatives.
How mature is internal comms is within your org?
Our Internal Comms Maturity Model will tell you and provide a clear path for growth. It’s FREE and only takes five minutes!
- The benefit of completing this quest: Comms that are more inclusive of all employee types, ensuring everyone is informed and able to focus on their work.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You have implemented (or optimized) a tool to further the reach of organizational updates, announcements, and other vital information.
- The benefit of completing this quest: A culture of recognition that celebrates individual efforts and stronger connections between employees and the company.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You have launched a program or initiative for recognition that clearly identifies the standard of excellence within your organization.
- The benefit of completing this quest: Prioritizing people team comms impacts organizational health in a positive way.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: Announcements, updates, and reminders from the people team are proactively collected and shared out as part of regular comms cadence.
- The benefit of completing this quest: High performers are retained because they see a clear path for growth in your organization.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You have launched a program, initiative, or campaign that emphasizes talent development and supports employees during their tenure.
- The benefit of completing this quest: An internal comms function that is closely aligned to the current needs of your audience and organization, and yields higher rates of satisfaction, productivity, and retention.
- You’ve slayed the dragon if: You have set aside time to assess all channels of communication and identified specific updates or upgrades that will directly impact engagement in a positive way.
So… How’d you do?
You made it to the end of our list of common internal comms challenges! How many have you completed? Full disclosure, I scored 8/10, and still feel like a total rookie. I guess that’s because we never slay the same dragon twice, but I digress. More importantly—
Is there a challenge we mentioned that’s looming on the horizon for you and your org? Or are you dealing with something we didn’t touch on at all? Either way, we are here to help. Take action today by scheduling a quick, pressure-free discovery call with one of our team members to continue the conversation.
One last thing
Thank you for giving us your time and attention—two things we never take for granted. If you want more wisdom from us, follow us on LinkedIn or listen to our brand-new podcast, Why Does It Feel So Wrong To Be Human At Work?, available on all major streaming platforms.