#BreakfastVP Internal communication: the new challenges of a “liquid” tool that was key in the pandemic

VALENCIA. Two years ago the pandemic put almost all companies in this country in check. Forced to reinvent themselves in a context full of internal and external uncertainties, many of them resorted to internal communication, which in some of them went from being a complement to a strategic element. At a breakfast organized by Valencia Plaza and DIRCOM, six directors and a communication director and a university expert reflected this Monday on the changes experienced in these convulsive 24 months and on the new trends and the future of the sector. The talk was moderated by the director of the newspaper, Xavier Alfonso, and was attended by conchita lucas from Plaza Editions,

At the opening of the meeting, Esther CastellanoPresident of DIRCOM CV and Region of Murcia, in connection with her article ‘Employees as brand ambassadors’ pointed out that the “internal public” must be considered as “priority” by companies with the double challenge of “management” of their employees but also of the brand’s own “culture”. On the one hand, “the pride of belonging”; on the other, “aligning employees with the company’s objectives”.

The impact of covid-19

It was difficult not to start by analyzing the effect of the pandemic on internal communication in companies. There was agreement that it caused fundamental changes in the message and in the tools to transmit it, but also that it reinforced its value. “The uncertainty helped make it so important,” he recalled. Pilar Boixdirector of communication of Balearia. “He was an absolute catalyst”, confirmed Carolina Beguerits counterpart in the Gimeno Group. From Grefusa, Vicky Casañits person responsible for people and internal communication, opened the focus. “Our audience are people who have changedthe scale of values ​​has been changed, we cannot tell them the same as before”, he stressed. “For the first time, people have been put at the center and that has valued internal communication,” he reflected. Susana MiquelVice-Dean of the Advertising and Human Resources degree at the Jaume I University of Castelló and co-author of the “Internal Communication Manual”.

In a more practical approach Majo CastilloCEO of Zeus and COO of Sesame, he assumed that confinement served as “forced training” for new ways of working. “Now we stream everything because there is always someone outside, it’s super natural and it wasn’t before,” he said. The changes, noted Carolina Beguerdirector of corporate communication of the Gimeno Group, have had a “democratizing” effect on internal communication “regardless of where the workers are and their work”. Andrea Villafanedirector of marketing and communication at Nunsys, pointed out that for technology companies like hers, it has meant accelerate “five years the process of digital transformation”. In addition, he put on the table a problem that has not yet been sufficiently addressed. “Cybersecurity is now super important. Now we are more vulnerable, companies must focus there, ”she warned.

Benjamin Marincommunication director of À Punt, and Natalie Garciaof Communication and External Relations of SPB, recalled how the fact that their sectors were “essential” entailed a series of obligations that they later wanted to recognize. “We did a thank you campaign for being at the foot of the canyon”pointed out the ‘dircom’ of public radio television. “We did not miss a single worker. It was vital to recognize that work and reward commitment and that clutch has stayed,” said Garcia.

Risks and opportunities along the way

After analyzing the situation, Alfonso pointed the meeting towards the “risks and opportunities” that arise. García (SPB) warned of the need for “communication professionals” to direct it and to organize the channels. Villafañé stressed the need for communication to be two-way. “You have to know what is happening and without listening you are not going to achieve it”assumed. Marín (À Punt) agreed that “active listening” is an opportunity but also “a risk” if it is not used afterwards. “Sharing power is one of the keys”highlighted. Castillo (Zeus and Sesame) warned of the mistake of believing that what is communicated “outside is useful inside”. “The focus must be centered on the well-being of the employee”he affirmed and criticized that it is done with the idea that the company is well spoken of. But he went further and pointed out that “massive” communication is easy and that individualizing it is “an enormous challenge” but necessary.

In this sense, to segment information, Beguer (Grupo Gimeno), García (SPB) and Boix (Balearía) reflected on the complexity of generational, cultural or linguistic diversity, but also on the need for cross-cutting work. “We must build the story together”pointed out Beguer, who warned that the inmate “may be the most grateful and the most critical public.” Along these lines, Casañ (Grefusa) insisted on the importance of not falling “into a lack of coherence” in the message and even in the tone. “External and internal communication is different but it cannot be antagonistic”emphasized. Boix recalled that companies must invest and that it is profitable to do so because the employees “are the first ambassadors”. Lucas agreed on that. “We are talking about prescribers and the team, the person who is part of the team is a speaker of the company”summarized. Miquel recalled that professionalization is essential, but also “raising the discourse”. He pointed out that the first thing to do is to listen to the general director to understand why he wants the communication, but that he must work with all the departments. “We must avoid being channel managers”warned.

From digitization to AI

These channels are increasingly digital and that was another point of debate. “Digitization is not the end, it is the means. You have to maintain physical contact”, pointed out Marín (À Punt). “It helps us connect but we have to know what we want to tell,” Beguer said. “The goal has to be to get closer,” said García (SPB). “It has to be a lever for other thingsMichael recalled. “It should make it easier for employees to participate,” added Boix. “It’s yes or yes, the nuance is to humanize it,” added Casañ. “It is the absolute key, whoever does not use digitization to improve their processes is already late but this is not going from word to softwareit goes much further. This software is no longer important for payroll but for the employee experience. That takes internal communication to another level”, Castillo (Zeus and COO) shot.

The generation of belonging in the employees and the retention and recruitment of talent enlivened the breakfast even by its own statement. “It’s not capturing and retaining, it’s attracting and staying“, affirmed Casañ (Grefusa). “It is not how we tell them things but how they live them”, Beguer (Grupo Gimeno) assumed. Flexibility, conciliation…the battle is not minor. “There is a real war for talent, not only in technology, there are kicks for the engineers, you have to attract them with other things”, explained García (SPB).

Breakfast time was drawing to a close and it was time to move on to lunch. Where are we going? “Towards Artificial Intelligence”answered confidently Villafañé (Nunsys), who boasted of an internal communication tool that uses it and extracts data “to be able to apply actions to retain talent or ‘engamenent’”. Castilló pointed to the need to communicate the company’s culture quickly and also through “managers and directors”. García (SPB) applauded the innovations but recalled that “before doing the bridge handstand you have to know how to walk”. Marín (À Punt) said that the trend should be for “the protagonists to be the collaborators (employees). “You have to do things that interest them and they like, he pointed out. Beguer spoke of the need for all people to have “skills” in communication and Casañ applauded transparency. “We have partners, not children, more information can be shared”he claimed.

headlines and more

Each one, rather each one, of the dircoms left their headline of what internal communication should be. Garcia spoke of “glue that binds everything together” and at the same time of “a lever”. Castillo that one must “live and breathe” and that it is liquid” since it runs through the company. Miquel recalled that it will only be strategic if it helps the company’s objectives and that if that consideration is given “it should be provided with resources”. Beguer pointed out that it is not “counting things but the way of doing things”, Boix insisted on “align messages to avoid inconsistencies” and go in the line of business. Villafañé spoke of her as “the loudspeaker that all employees must use. Marin noted that “Without internal communication there is no humanistic company” and Casañ highlighted the double opportunity that it implies for “unite and give voice to the employee”.