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HR says no to internal communications


A survey of communications professionals has revealed that 87 per cent feel internal communications should not be part of HR.

The poll, run by the monthly ezine (electronic newsletter) of the British Association of Communicators in Business (CiB), also asked for comments.

One respondent said: “Communications is better when it’s not associated with any particular function, but rather is viewed independently and objectively by employees. It also requires a different skill set, and representatives from communications should be in attendance with HR personnel, not represented by HR.”

The consensus appeared to be that communications should exist it its own right, as a separate discipline.

Another respondent wrote: “Internal communication (IC) needs to be as close to the top as possible. The art of IC is giving a voice to management that can be heard and understood by employees. IC as a profession is distinct from human resources, although both have the same audience.”

Others felt that the rightful place for communications was within the marketing function. “It should be aligned with marketing or strategy,” said one. “The skills of an internal communications professional are essentially the same as a marketing professional, only their audience is internal rather than external.”

But there was a minority view backing communications within HR. One respondent said: “At my company the internal comms function has just moved to become part of HR. I’ve found being part of this team has been incredibly useful – I am kept much more up-to-date on what is happening with the company, and when HR starts work on a new project for staff I can get involved from the beginning to make sure they are thinking about how to communicate the project. I think HR is the natural place for internal comms.”

The overall view was that wherever communications sits, its role is pivotal to the company’s success.

As one respondent put it: “We must not forget that internal communication is a core function of the business and, as internal communicators, we must be driven by the tasks under this heading, and not by those within the team it is placed.”

Says CiB chairman Suzanne Peck: “Organisations are experiencing an unprecedented scale and pace of change. Effective internal communication makes a difference in how business deals with these new opportunities. Done well, communications reinforces vision, connects employees to the business, facilitates change and drives business results.

“Communications professionals are increasingly being called on to shape or influence the business landscape from the start – in their own right, not as an after thought. Value is placed on us being able to apply creative thinking to not only delivering communications, but also in helping organisations to ‘walk the talk’ and take advantage of those opportunities.”

One Response

  1. but surely the strongest communication is the people?
    I’m a bit bewildered by this. Internal communication is not just about whizzy ways to sell management decisions, it’s about the facilitation of information among the workforce. In addition, internal communication is rarely “objective” – it needs to sell management philosophy and is therefore naturally biased. Finally, the biggest communication is not what’s SAID, it’s what’s DONE – and while this may not be solely the province of HR, it surely should have some relevance to it!

    Good to see that IC is seen as pivotal, however – the next step is to make it as honest and authentic as possible!

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