I have a marketing background. I specialize in “external communications.” Now I’ve been thrust into the world of “internal communications” and could use some advice.
This week I was called to manage the announcement that our CEO is stepping down. The news was sudden and we rushed to compose the right messages for our key external audiences: donors, funders, partner agencies, community supporters, and the press. As a courtesy – so I thought – I helped the CEO edit an email to the staff.
I was sure the newly formed transition team of the Board of Directors and the newly hired transition consultant would handle any further employee communications. “Not so fast,” my boss said. “You’re the Director of Communications,” she said. “You need to send a weekly update to staff on the transition.” I started arguing about how I was hired to do external communications, I’ve never had training in employee communications, etc. To no avail.
I wrote a short email that thanked people for the feedback we had received so far, asked them to keep talking, and told them who to talk to. I explained the next step of the transition in simple terms. I promised to write to them every Friday about the process.
Going forward, I’ll need some professional advice. Ragan Communications is probably going to be a good source. I liked this quote from them:
Many organizations plan tirelessly for how to best engage their external audiences: customers, investors, media, analysts, and community members. Often, they forget their most important constituency: their employees, the people who have the most control over the future of the organization.
Feel free to recommend other resources. Short articles would be best. Please don’t recommend books unless they are very short – I was overworked as it was!