The boardroom table: the strategic role of internal communications

Written by
Oct 30, 2023
Internal Communication

Internal communications serve as the connective tissue that binds together the various departments, functions, and levels within an organisation, shaping everything from purpose to productivity, to culture and wellbeing, and ultimately employee experience and engagement.

The evolution of the boardroom

Historically, boardroom decisions were often based on financial data, market trends, and other external factors. In the last decade, especially since the COVID pandemic, organizations have come to recognize the significance of a motivated and aligned workforce. The dynamics within the boardroom have evolved, bringing stakeholders such as HR and internal communications to the table.

Getting a seat at the table

No longer relegated to the realm of company newsletters and memos, internal communication has the potential to become a key player in the strategic decision-making process. Here's how it can take its place at the boardroom table and contribute to the organization's success.

1) Aligning mission and vision with action

Effective internal communication can bridge the gap between the organization's mission and vision and the daily activities of its employees. By consistently conveying these core principles throughout the organization, internal communication ensures that everyone is moving in the same direction. When these concepts are well understood, boardroom decisions can be more closely tied to the overarching goals of the company.

2) Promoting employee engagement

Engaged employees are an organization's secret sauce. When employees feel informed, valued, and connected to the company's purpose, their commitment and productivity skyrocket. By actively engaging with employees through various channels, internal communication cultivates a sense of belonging. This heightened engagement not only boosts morale but also ensures that valuable insights and perspectives from the frontlines reach the boardroom's ears.

3) Fostering the employee voice

Gone are the days of one-sided communication. Internal communication paves the way for a two-way dialogue between leadership and employees. Encouraging employees to voice their opinions, concerns, and suggestions creates a culture of collaboration and feedback. The IC function is responsible for channeling the relevant feedback to the board, so that they can make informed decisions that account for a broader range of viewpoints. When the boardroom is privy to the real-time pulse of the organization, decisions become more grounded, realistic and inclusive.

4) Change management

In times of change or crisis, such as mergers, acquisitions, or reorganizations, internal communications play a critical role in managing employee expectations, alleviating fears, and ensuring a smooth transition. Having a strategic role means that the IC function can work with the leadership to disseminate pertinent information quickly. This agility ensures that employees are well-informed and prepared to navigate change, be they technological advancements or global crises. The board can rely on well-informed employees to execute strategies effectively.

5) Risk management & insights from the trenches

Employees on the frontlines possess a wealth of insights and ideas that often go untapped. Internal communication acts as a conduit for these valuable nuggets of information to reach the boardroom. Employees who engage in daily interactions with customers, products, and processes can provide unique perspectives that inform strategic decisions. By encouraging employees to voice their concerns, organizations can proactively address issues before they escalate, mitigating potential damage.

6) Innovation and ideas

Employees throughout the organization often possess valuable insights and innovative ideas. A robust internal communications strategy encourages the sharing of these ideas, potentially leading to breakthroughs that can be brought to the board's attention for further exploration.

7) Showcasing ROI

Internal communication is no longer an abstract concept; it's a measurable force. With modern communication tools, you can track engagement levels, sentiment, and the impact of various initiatives. This data-driven approach allows internal communication to demonstrate its tangible contributions to the organization's success. When the boardroom sees the numbers backing up the strategy, they're more likely to embrace its role as a key player.

Bottom line

As the business landscape continues to evolve, the boardroom's dynamics are shifting towards a more inclusive and collaborative approach. Effective internal communications play a pivotal role in shaping these dynamics, ensuring that decisions are well-informed, aligned with organizational goals, and sensitive to employee needs.

Organizations that recognize the strategic significance of internal communications are better positioned to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and drive long-term success from the boardroom table.

By strategically aligning its efforts with the organization's goals, fostering engagement, encouraging dialogue, and delivering real value, internal communication can become an indispensable asset for decision-makers. When the boardroom and internal communication work hand in hand, the entire organization benefits, paving the way for informed, agile, and impactful strategic decisions.

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