The next step is to present the value of internal communication activity in as efficient and attention-grabbing manner as possible to senior leaders then wider management levels.
Outlined in the preceding section were a number of suggested indicators of value. The four value quadrants of the model provide a simple and concise structure to any report or presentation undertaken by the internal communication function to show its value.
These should be presented visually through selective text and graphical description. No one value quadrant is over-represented. The way in which measurement data is displayed is a key means of helping to achieve its purpose but this should not eclipse the main value outcomes that the report or presentation seeks to demonstrate.
Stake a claim: Part of the real problem for internal communicators is arguably self-made. They are unwilling to claim links with outward business performance because they feel that the influence of internal communication is too indirect to be credible. But isn’t corporate success a team effort?
The value of communications may be indirect but it is present and contributory nonetheless. Internal communicators must not be afraid to show how their function has contributed to the collective success of a particular project or a specific performance outcome.
Many operational functions are taken for granted in organisations because they are deemed ‘non-core’. This classification is a matter of perception. Facilities management or IT support may not directly contribute to the bottom-line but they would soon bring a business to a grinding halt if absent from day-to-day operations. Like every other operational function, internal communication must demonstrate its worth to the rest of an organisation in a balanced and professional manner. Crucially, it must strive to move from being a necessary operational function to one that is seen as pivotal to success. Demonstrating a measured array of value-adding activities and visible outcomes in the context of a wider team is a necessary step to achieving this objective.
Figure 10: Present the value
Quarterly reporting: Presenting the value must be a regular and standard procedure. A quarterly frequency of reporting is recommended. Internal communicators should produce a concise performance report for the senior executive of their organisation. This should be presented to the Board as part of the organisation’s strategic performance and incorporated in middle and senior management briefings as a standard quarterly practice.
It may be a truism but any balanced approach to performance measurement needs to be used and updated regularly to be fully effective. Balanced scorecards fail when, having developed strategic goals and identified relevant performance measures, an enterprise does not use the information provided to drive changes in the way the organisation works (Schneiderman, 1999). The same is true for this value framework. If communicators do not persistently demonstrate the value of their activities and actively improve the way they work they will not have a sustainable foundation with which to take their discipline forward.