corporate communication department

How to Evaluate Your Corporate Communications Department

Blog Post16 Feb, 2018

The corporate communication department represents the shoulders upon which the CEO – and the reputation of a company – stands or falls. The potential impact of this department and the executives who carry out a company’s reputation initiatives (brand, culture, and public persona) cannot be denied in 2018’s dynamic market landscape.

Beholden to rapidly changing trends and mounting pressure from intangible, yet highly controversial, influences—fake news, gender pay equality, workplace sexual harassment, CEO activism—the role of corporate communicators is increasingly paramount.

And yet, the success or failure of a corporate communication department often only enters the spotlight in the event of a crisis. Everyone, for example, has an opinion on how Equifax managed (or failed to manage) their massive 2017 data breach.

Self-Assessment for corporate communication success

What if there was a way to proactively measure the level of excellence of a corporate communication department; a data-driven process to understand what works and what opportunities exist?

Here’s what we know: there is no one size fits all when it comes to corporate communication. Different organizational structures work better in different environments. There are no catchall solutions.

While our corporate communication self-assessment tool (now in beta) helps you get to the heart of what matters for your corporation, we’ve collected the following go-to best practices to guide corporate communication professionals to excellence:

Step 1: Identify your organization’s structure.

Divide your organization’s structure into three focus areas:

  • Specialization – Determine who and what skill sets are needed to complete the prioritized tasks.

  • Centralization – Understand how departmental results are reported and to whom.

  • Formalization – Recognize the way in which common starting points and consistency is attained and communicated.

Step 2: Identify the resources necessary to succeed.

Excellent communication departments need five sets of key resources in order to thrive. These include:

  • Sufficient budgets

  • Qualified and ambitious professionals

  • Cutting-edge market intelligence

  • A positive work environment

  • Access to new and innovative technologies

Step 3: Pursue and maintain a positive working elationship with the C-Suite.

These C-Suite decision-makers must buy into the immediate relevancy of the corporate communication team. Only more recently has the role of the Chief Communications Officer (CCO) come to prominence and only in the last few years are CEO’s taking notice of the very real returns on communication investments.

Corporate communication can no longer be siloed to internal messaging. While crucial, the role of corporate communication has evolved to take additional, far more public-facing initiatives.

Being aligned with the C-Suite is an essential step toward corporate communication excellence. It is in the best interest of both parties to acknowledge that the stronger the reputation of a company, the more likely that company is to achieve greater ROI.

Dr. Cees van Riel, PhD. Co-Founder The RepTrak Company [email protected]

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