Internal comms comes of age in a crisis

By Katy Gandon, Director of Communications at Tes Global.

Internal communications has become an even more critical part of business here at Tes Global since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Leading the internal comms response to these demands has seen a dramatic change in my role. Before the crisis my role was split pretty evenly between internal and external comms, at the moment between 70-80 per cent of my time is focused on internal comms.

The need to communicate the changes to our business and its 600 staff around the world on an almost daily basis has required some big changes in a very short space of time.

Streamlining our internal communications channels has been a priority.

Before the full impact of the pandemic hit in March we were using a lot of different channels to communicate with our staff. In fact, I think we were spreading ourselves too thinly with the result that our internal comms perhaps wasn’t as effective as they could have been. The emergency focused our attention on communicating regularly using a few tried and tested channels.

Like many businesses we had our company intranet that was used by staff but wasn’t really loved. With the pandemic we decided to use the intranet as a central point for all information.

Slack is great – we started using that application 18 months ago, but it has really come into its own in the past few months. It’s a really great way of sharing internal communications and use has rocketed.

We’ve also worked hard on the cadence of our communications during this time. Before the crisis we had monthly broadcasts involving the CEO and the executive board which were watched by about a quarter of our employees. Since covid-19 we have held these every Tuesday morning because of the pace of change.

Around 80 per cent of staff are now watching these, either live on Zoom or recordings available on the intranet. The executive broadcasts are complemented by a follow up information pack on a Wednesday and an internal newsletter on Fridays.

I’ve found that my role has been very operational during the crisis.

If you’re dealing with covid-19 comms it will feel like that because everything changes very quickly, and those changes have to be communicated clearly and quickly. The fact that all our staff are now working from home adds impetus to the need for regular comms. This operational focus will in fact help our strategy in the future because we’ve rationalised our channels and focused on the rhythm of internal communications.

Our internal comms have been going down really well during the crisis. We survey our staff fortnightly using a system by Peakon that measures employee engagement through an employee net promoter score (ENPS).

Our averages have shot up from 27 to over 50 – way above our benchmarks.

Katy Gandon is Director of Communications at Tes Global, an international provider of software enabled education services to schools and teachers.

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

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