Organisations know how important communication is and over years this hasn’t remained a support function, but one that is integral to overall performance. Whether it is streamlining processes, searching for ways to boost quality, strategising to increase market share or developing new products or services, communication for a business is a requisite.
A few days ago, after chatting with a peer, I paused and asked myself, ‘How can communication professionals of the future adapt to become strategic thinkers and advisers when the walls between the inside and outside of a company have all but disintegrated?’
A vital link I believe starts with the Communication Business Partner. Although the designation may not be quite as ‘fancy’, as most of us like to believe that communications do more than HRBPs, the role of a Communications Business Partner role has evolved to be a strategic and tactical partner to the business, securing communication strategies and implementation of business communication to diverse audiences.
Let’s take a closer look at the job description of a Business Partner:
- Identify key business topics within the organisation’s strategy and messages
- Assess business needs and develop communication solutions to meet those needs
- Lead content planning and development for all major meetings during the year cycle
- Coach and support leaders and co-workers in communication
- Oversee the development of a total information landscape including all channels
- Contribute and deliver global strategic actions for communication
- Lead and/or support any external communication within the Business Unit regarding corporate information and crisis communication
- Develop and contribute to a shared communication agenda across the organisation
So while the foundations and fundamentals remain the same, these change-agents must then possess three essential inter-playing skills:
- Curiosity – a strong news sense and storytelling skills are top of the list
- Curating ability – select, screen, evaluate, elevate and amplify
- Conversion – achieve desired returns on key objectives
They should be able to do this continuously and consistently.
Since this is an integral role to business, one must work towards bringing about change with the help of communication, by creating a culture of open communication, cultivate relationships with key stakeholders within and even outside the organisation, and develop the communication competency of leaders and key spokespersons.
3+1 = DEAL – Disrupt, Engage, Align and Lead
- Be a champion of communication and a champion communicator. Use that decision as a compass to regain footing in today’s high-pressure workplace.
- Be confident yet friendly and maintain a consistent communication style to enhance credibility.
- Sharpen your listening skills to hone in on people’s meaning in conversations. Lead a collaborative conversation. Be a leader your organisation wants to work with because of your own communication skills and help to improve communication throughout your organisation to build strong relationships.
- Evaluate your progress and if you are an individual contributor or even leading a team, anchor your ideas and seek a popularity vote.
Communications business partners are the voice of the organisation and its leaders. When senior leadership makes communication an important value, a shift will take place throughout the organisation.
To act as the link between communications teams and policy and operational colleagues and to become a more effective partner to your line leaders, you need a good understanding of the whole mix. The ability to keep a cool head in a crisis also comes in handy!
The role communication business partners play is also likely to change in the near future, or sooner, so look at the value of your role in building reputation and winning trust.
The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Reputation Today or the organisation that the author belongs to.