The Shift from reactive to proactive communications

Dan Spedaliere

By Dan Spedaliere
Account Manager

The Shift from reactive to proactive communications

Local Wisdom CEO Pinaki Kathiari moderated a Rapid Fire panel at this year’s Advance Learning Institute’s Strategic Internal Communications Conference, held late January in San Francisco. Together with the panelists, Kathiari tackled three of the biggest questions facing internal communicators today.

Couldn’t make it? Never fear! This blog series will break down the top tips from panelists Jessica Brubaker, Initiative Communications Lead, McDonald’s USA; Simon Liang, Internal Communications Manager, PagerDuty; Sarah Wice-Courtney, Director of Communications and Public Relations, St. Elizabeth Healthcare; and Lindsey Blakely, Senior Manager, Internal Communications, WalMart Media Group.

The first question posed was:

How would you recommend a company move from a reactive to a proactive communication strategy?

Here’s what the experts had to say.

Lay out the framework


Get the whole year on paper or a shared online calendar. Include events, important meetings, announcements — everything. Then, figure out how messaging can remain consistent.

Stay connected

Meeting with department leadership as needed (every week or even every month) can help internal communications teams stay on top of what’s happening — and anticipate any fires before they start. Share the editorial calendar so everyone is on the same page.

Get the data

If the HR department is sending out five emails a day, and you think that’s excessive, having the data to back it up can help them change their ways. Show them that reactive communications don’t move the needle by demonstrating that x percent of employees don’t even open the emails when they receive that many.

Be patient

Not everyone is going to be on board with the shift from reactive to proactive communications. Track the comms to illuminate trends. Get people in the routine of planning ahead, and then stick to that routine. It’ll pay off in the end.

This is the second in a series. Check out our first post: When Employees Are “Too Busy” For Internal Comms.