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IoIC Live – this May in Bath – explores IoIC’s new movement, #WeMatterAtWork, and the role the internal comms team plays in creating positive working cultures. At the two-day event, Colin Archer, group head of internal communications at Imperial Brands, will talk about the need for IC practitioners to become trusted advisers.


In order to gain the best return on investment for the organisation, internal communicators must look at how to position themselves and provide the most fulfilling role. That means moving from postmen and women – doing little other than sending out messages – to coach: having the insight to spot what’s needed and being trusted to advise leadership.

For years, Imperial Brands had struggled to engage with a disparate workforce of 34,000 people spread across 100 countries.

At IoIC Live, Colin Archer will reveal how global internal communications was built to deliver different results.

“Our team has only existed since July 2014,” he says. “Before then, internal communication was carried out ad hoc by different departments. Since then, we’ve established a strategic approach of coaching, consulting and supporting senior and middle managers to enable them to take responsibility for their own communications.”

The team’s progress was highlighted with an IoIC Award for Best Corporate In-House Team.

 

Becoming trusted advisers

“We’re a small team,” says Colin, “but we work as key members of senior teams in the organisation so we can drive these aims with a single-minded focus.

“By acting as consultant or coaches, our managers and leaders now own and share messages with their people, while our group channels provide the wider context.”

Another outcome of this approach, of course, is that the internal communicators become trusted advisers. Their stock rises as they are in a position to affect change and add real value – and that visibility for internal communicators is key to future success.

“This provides you with a licence to operate – you have a clear role in the organisation, which is demonstrable,” explains Colin. “And working so closely with our stakeholders allows us to continually seek information from the business about our work, and to change and adapt our approach according to the feedback we receive.

“As a team, we believe that this is fundamental to our ability to provide world-class communication support. It’s also a much more fulfilling role because of this and the fact that we regularly seek feedback and adapt what we’re doing to help our stakeholders to be the best they can.”

Hear more from Colin and Imperial Brands’ IC story, as well as insight from a host of other IC professionals, at this year’s IoIC Live, in Bath, 9-10 May. Book your place here.

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