In the course of my career I've dabbled in the discipline of internal corporate communications. My experience has been that within this discipline more emphasis is often placed on communicating the date/time of the annual toy-drive [worthy as it may be] rather than engaging employees in a meaningful conversation about the business. Surely corporations [big and small] must realize that their employees are [or should be] their greatest advocates. And advocacy starts with information.
It's with that opinion that I embrace the growing trend of internal corporate blogs -- blogs written by senior executives intended to bring the C-suite to the masses. They are usually for internals only. Encouraging. But the practice is not without its pitfalls. Here are six tips to those executives who've taken the plunge:
- Quantity counts: Of course the quality of the communication is paramount, but there's also something to be said for frequent communication. It shows commitment to the process.
- Don't forget to reply: The medium is intended to be a two-way communication vehicle. Use your blog to not only disseminate information, but also to engage those employees who care enough to comment on your posts.
- Don't vet your entries via legal or PR: You are CEO for a reason. You are smart. You are qualified. You are a strong-minded individual. And you are politically-savvy. Have faith in those qualities ... you know what you can and can't say.
- Write like you speak: Be genuine. Your blog should reflect your personal and management style.
- Don't use it as a substitute for Management By Walking Around [MBWA]*: Nothing can replace the human touch.
- Information - even that marked 'For internal distribution only' - will leak.
As I typed that list I realized that I learned many of those lessons many years ago during my time at Electric Artists. I think I'll send this post to their CEO, Marc Schiller and goad him into weighing in on the topic on his blog [my guess is that he's got a strong opinion].
Click here for the history of MBWA as told by Hewlett Packard.