How Internal Communications Can Scale Talent Development Training

Photo by @josedibattista

Our brothers- and sisters-in-arms on the internal communications front work in Human Resources.

  • HR relies on IC to get the word out about all kinds of things employees need to know and do to stay informed and keep their job — programs, benefits, organizational changes, and so on.

In large companies HR can’t be everywhere for everyone, especially when it comes to bespoke and intimate training sessions.

That’s where Internal Comms can step in for a win-win collaboration. Let me give you an example.

Outside In

Talent leadership team members at one company I worked for were prolific in publishing articles for HR trade journals and blogs. The content was accessible (i.e., wasn’t academic in nature) and generally focused on how to increase the skills of mid-level managers who were on an upward trajectory in their career.

An idea occurred to me: What if they took the same content, added a company spin, and published the articles on the intranet? I made a proposal.

  • The material would be tailored for the company (using specific examples and our cultural jargon)
  • Content would be internal-only, so they could be frank with their advice
  • The writers could then spin the content externally, after excising sensitive information

By publishing articles on the intranet, HR Talent Development could easily extend its team training to leaders without traveling the globe. Moreover they could fill “dead” time between online webinars and training courses.

The Lead

We created an editorial series (a dedicated column, if you will) that had the following attributes:

  • A catchy name (The Lead)
  • A unique graphic (logo)
  • HR Talent Development decided on the topics
  • Once per month publication
  • Cross-promotion across several internal channels (e.g., newsletters, digital signs)

After a story appeared on the intranet and internal comms did all we could to promote it, the HR team took up the baton to promote the article even more by:

  • Creating a dedicated and easily searchable archive
  • Adding the latest article to the team’s internal email signatures
  • Pushing the content to managers around the globe
  • Adding the articles to coursework for managers

In a short while the HR team was fully running the editorial calendar for the series, including writing and editing the content and getting global team members to regularly contribute.

  • All internal comms had to do was manage the distribution on our channels!

Some Results

After 26 stories we ran the numbers and saw that the articles garnered 36,061 views from 11,000 employees. Meaning…

  • Employees read each article on average three times
  • Employees found enough value in the material to refer to it multiple times

Managers represented a third of the readership. Meaning…

  • Individual contributors — 67% of the readership — were interested in learning how to be better managers too, perhaps in anticipation of one day becoming a leader

Content and analytics from The Lead were used to devise new leadership programs and were repurposed in manager training sessions.

The table flipped, too, on where content first appeared. When we started the editorial series, HR wrote for external sources and then created an internal version of the article. Soon the internal version was written first and then an edited version was published externally as “thought leadership” pieces.

  • Talk about a return on investment for internal comms articles!

Win-win

By many measures the series was successful, but what it boils down to:

  • HR scaled its teaching without much extra effort
  • IC gained subject matter experts, contributors, and content

The ability of both teams to collaborate in this fashion increases their optimization.

Both teams are able to do more with less.

This bottom-line effort added immense value to the organization. In just a couple of years, an entire curriculum had been created and distributed globally to current and prospective leaders in the company.

How do you use Internal Comms to scale your training? I promise you that Internal Communications will be happy to take your call!

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Mister Editorial

Mister Editorial

Many internal comms teams don’t have an editorial strategy. I’m here to fix that. Newsletter: https://mistereditorial.substack.com/.