In News

Leah Mandeltort
Internal Communication Specialist, Regis Aged Care

1. Can you tell us how you started your career as a communication professional?

My first role out of Uni as a Media & Marketing Graduate was as an Internal Engagement Assistant for a multinational automotive software organisation. The best part about this role was that its purpose wasn’t clearly defined, so I was able to transform the role in such a way that added value to the organisation.

This led to researching, becoming more active on LinkedIn, joining IABC, finding a mentor and meeting with senior communication professionals to build a clearer understanding of Internal Communications and the significant role it plays in successful organisations. That’s where my passion for Internal Communications began and flourished.

2. What does a typical day working in Internal Communication look like?

From experience, it depends on the organisation – where internal communications sits, how well established their Internal Communication function is and their purpose or direction.

Generally speaking, a typical day consists of liaising with a range of internal stakeholders – managing their expectations and identifying a clear purpose for their requests, briefing third-party creatives to produce collateral, sourcing stories and managing a multitude of digital platforms to increase exposure, measure performance and understand end-user needs.

 3. Since you began working in Internal Communication, what changes (if any) have you observed over the years?

  • The relationship between employee engagement, user experience and Internal Communications:

I strongly believe that social media dictates how people like to consume their information, which is ever-evolving and changing. Much like any other digital native, I too enjoy short sharp bite-sized chunks of information in a variety of formats depending on my mood, and the ability to view it when and where I want at times that suit me. This is truly reflective of the evolution of Internal Communication. I also think in time, as interest increases in customer experience (CX/UX), there will be an equally greater focus on employee user experience, as both work hand in hand with each other.

  • Employees as our best advocates:

The healthier an organisation’s internal relations and knowledge share is, the stronger it reflects in their external relations and performance. Therefore, it’s great seeing organisations like Telstra leveraging employees as their greatest advocates and creating employee-centric programs like Telstra Ignite. I am excited to learn more about innovation, developments and forward-thinking that further empowers employees in correlation with business needs.

4. Do you think organisations focus enough on Internal Communication? What do you think are some of the current issues Internal Communication is facing and how do you think it can be improved?

I think organisations are starting to focus more on Internal Communications, especially those who’ve experienced a Royal Commission (the highest form of inquiry on matters of public importance issued by the Australian government), but more can be done in terms of technology, user experience and recognising employees as their most valuable advocates.

  • Relationship between internal and external communications:

I believe Internal Communications is much like a healthy body – the more you look after yourself internally, the more it shows externally. We already know the importance of Internal Communications working closely with external communications, but I believe it will become increasingly more important.

  • Technology:

When it comes to Internal Communications, technology plays a significant part in facilitating and improving employee engagement, productivity, knowledge and experience through collaboration and exposure. Technology also provides a great insight that we, as professionals, can leverage from.

I would love to see more organisations invest in exciting new technology that improves User Experience both internally and externally, i.e. gamification, bots, apps, interactive choose-your-own-adventure educational type videos, etc. Also, more organisations to invest in employee-centric programs that educate and train people how to be the best advocates for the business internally and externally.

5. Reflecting on your career so far, what advice would you give emerging communication professionals interested in working in Internal Communication?

  • Find a role which gives you room and freedom to explore the many facets of Internal Communications.
  • Since Internal Communications has great visibility, be prepared for critique – listen, but understand that everyone has an opinion. Every interaction is a learning opportunity.
  • Find time to invest in your career, make a habit of it early on and keep up to date with new technology.