We’ve spoken a lot in the past about the close links between marketing and L&D. As Bray Leino Learning is the offspring of a B2B marketing agency, it’s no surprise that ‘think like a marketer’ is one of our most repeated mantras!
But there’s another closely related area of the business that you can benefit from getting closer to: your internal communications team.
Perhaps most often (and unfairly) thought of as the team responsible for sending internal newsletters, the challenges facing internal communications teams are remarkably similar to those facing L&D teams.
Communicating to a mobile and agile workforce, engaging employees, measuring effectiveness – all will be familiar to L&D professionals.
That’s why your internal communications colleagues could be your biggest asset.
Here are three ways you can use their expertise to sharpen your messages about learning.
The workplace is now filled with five generations, leaving offices filled with an unprecedented mix of age ranges, from seasoned ‘traditionalists’ (born before 1945) to fresh-faced Generation Z (born after 1997).
And, although this combination brings a healthy contrast of skills, perspectives and approaches, it presents a major challenge to communicators.
Why? Because each generation will have its own preferred method of receiving messages; while email might be effective for Generation X, mobile or social may well be the choice of Generation Z.
This is where your internal communications colleagues can step in. One of their biggest obstacles will be communicating initiatives organisation-wide in an engaging way. For them, getting buy-in is all about telling employees what’s in it for them.
To do this, they must know how this varies across the organisation, depending on age, role and length of time with the company.
So, while it may not have all the answers, by working closely with your internal communications team, you can better tailor your messaging to ensure it’s personalised and relevant to employees across the business.
On a broader level, by working closely with internal communications, you can reinforce each other’s messaging.
This is best illustrated with an example. Let’s say you work for an organisation undergoing a series of change initiatives, part of which is rolling out agile working. Internal communications would take the lead in developing a campaign to support the changes, putting together a channel distribution plan to target colleagues at all levels with clear messaging that tells them how the changes will affect day-to-day roles.
But adding what marketers term the ‘call to action’ – something employees need to do as a result of the information – would give these messages added impetus.
This is where L&D can step in. Any organisational change initiative brings the threat of uncertainty – what will this disruption mean for employees? Will they have to reskill or upskill to adapt, possibly at short notice?
Here’s your perfect opportunity to offer your people upskilling opportunities, to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to adapt. Partnering with internal communications, you can integrate your messages about learning into broader change communications – this could be as simple as having a link to your learning portal at the end of an internal email.
By partnering with internal communications, you can make sure your messages are heard and become a crucial voice of reassurance in navigating people through change.
The content of your learning offer can be as good as you like, but if it isn’t targeted strategically to achieve maximum impact business-wide, it will count for nothing.
Your internal communications colleagues should have strong links with key stakeholders across the business, and it’s their links with line managers that offer the most potential for L&D.
Managers are an underused resource. We often hear about the importance of managers in spreading messages about learning and generating enthusiasm; while a significant number of employees would take a course assigned by their manager, very few ever hear about learning from them.
It is, therefore, essential that we get managers on board with learning, as they can reinforce its importance in one-to-ones with their team members.
Your internal communications team is perfectly placed to do help you do this.
Use it to introduce you to key department leads and managers, and to understand how it targets managers effectively. Getting managers invested in learning is such a big step towards creating a wider sentiment of positivity towards learning in your organisational culture; I can’t stress enough how important it is!
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To me, this strategic alignment between L&D and internal communications into one cohesive business unit is what L&D in this transformative era is all about.
Find more practical marketing tips that can boost learner engagement in your organisation in our handy guide, 'Marketing like an L&D Champion'.
Daniel Pullin, Marketing Executive, Bray Leino Learning
A creative content writer with an analytical eye, Daniel enjoys immersing himself in the world of L&D as it navigates a rapidly changing digital landscape.
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