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Top 5 strategies any new comms manager should adopt at their new company

Discover top strategies for taking your new Communications Manager job by storm. Leverage tried-and-true methods to get a head start in your new role.

How to hit the ground running as a new Comms Manager

Stepping into a new role as a Communications Manager can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. The first six weeks are crucial for setting the tone, building relationships, and establishing a strategic foundation.

Explore the top five strategies that every new Comms Manager should embrace during their initial weeks. From understanding the organizational culture to building a robust communication plan, these tips will help you hit the ground running and make a significant impact right from the start.

Whether you’re new to the organization or moving into a more senior role, these tactics will provide a solid framework to guide your efforts and enhance your effectiveness.

Play to your strengths

Before we get into the strategies, a word of advice… The most effective way to add value in your first weeks as a new Comms Manager is to leverage your naivety to your advantage. Aside from the plethora of skills you bring to the table, one of the most valuable assets at your disposal is a fresh set of eyes. Lean into inexperience and don’t be afraid to ask the simple questions.

Five strategies for excelling as a new Comms Manager

1. Channel audit

A big challenge facing modern organizations is comms channel sprawl. Over the years, enterprises have introduced dozens of new communications applications in an effort to meet changing employee expectations and internal communications needs. Often these tools are brought in without enough consideration for how they fit together, resulting in a convoluted tech landscape that leaves communicators and employees overwhelmed and confused about where to go for what.

Conducting a thorough channel audit is a great way to establish value early on as a new Comms Manager. You will familiarize yourself with key applications while identifying quick-win opportunities to consolidate and optimize your comms approach.

Make a list of all the active channels and consider the following evaluation criteria:

  • Duplicate functionality: does another tool have the same features?
  • Reach: how much of your intended audience does this channel reach?
  • Silos: is this tool only used by specific segments of the workforce?
  • Satisfaction: do you have any data on how satisfied employees and communicators are with this channel?
  • Adoption and engagement: what percentage of your intended audience is using this channel and at what frequency?
  • Competitiveness: based on key analyst reports, is this tool still best-in-class? Forrester, IDC, and Gartner produce regular reports that are a great place to start.

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2. Business landscape

The best comms teams find strength in allies. In your first weeks as a new Comms Manager, relationship building will be at the top of your priority list. But, who should you be most focused on developing connections with?

There will be some established networks in place already, and understanding how those work will be essential to your early success. Identify current champions around the business and then work to fill important gaps. Communicators with strong links to HR and IT leaders will be well-positioned to hit the ground running.

Gaining an understanding of what’s being discussed at the highest levels of your organization is also critical. Communicators who fail to grasp big-picture organizational goals sacrifice strategic influence. In order to demonstrate value and craft a tactical strategy, you have to know what challenges and opportunities are driving the business at any given time. What’s top of mind for your leaders? Finding this out will give you the background you need to make an impact.

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3. Workforce zeitgeist

Being an effective communicator starts with understanding your audience. Learning what work looks like for different segments of your workforce is a vital starting point for any new Comms Manager. What are they interested in? What motivates them? What information do they struggle to find? How do they perceive the current employee comms approach?

Start with the data. Look at recent surveys and ENPS scores to get a sense of current sentiment and identify challenges and opportunities. Then turn your attention to platform analytics. Try to work out who your most engaged segments are and what they’re using different platforms for. Look out for common search terms, popular content, active social channels, and other trends that will help you to get to grips with workforce needs and wants.

Next, it’s time to hear from employees directly. Find ways to spend time with colleagues in different roles across the organization, whether that’s at company events, in the canteen, or as part of a virtual community. For a more consultative approach, organize focus groups, 121 interviews, or conduct a survey where you can dig into perceptions, pain points, and priorities.

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4. Mission statement

Does your internal comms department have a mission statement? Is everyone on the team aligned on the function's purpose? Often, employee comms teams suffer from a lack of clarity around what success looks like. The inability to articulate purpose and prove value leads to a lack of funding, which is consistently one of the biggest challenges facing corporate communication departments.

As a new starter, you have a perfect opportunity to align your colleagues behind a compelling functional mission, reset ways of working, and establish performance metrics that will guide your future success. Take time to review existing material, speak to colleagues to understand differing perceptions, and use what you’ve learned about current business priorities to construct or refresh your internal comms team charter.

Once you’re clear on your purpose, you can begin to plot measures of success. What metrics are being tracked today and how do they help you prove commercial value? Revenue-generating functions rely on management dashboards to surface key data points at a glance. Consider how you can develop your own dashboards to track and report important outcomes.

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5. Community

As an internal communicator, it's easy to get stuck in an echo chamber. Luckily, the global internal comms community is brimming with opportunities to meet like-minded folk, learn from other enterprises, and drive comms innovation. As a new Comms Manager, getting involved is a great way to get up to speed with the latest developments and meet counterparts who can act as an invaluable soundboard as you progress in your role. 

In a fast-paced business landscape, staying on top of the latest trends and in touch with communicators at other organizations keeps you ahead of the curve and resilient to change.

There are tons of simple ways to keep your finger on the pulse, but we recommend starting by signing up for Unily’s EX Insights Digest. Every month we'll send you a round-up of the latest Employee Experience and Internal Communications trends direct to your inbox.

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By signing up, you’ll also receive notifications about relevant events happening in your local area. Attending in-person events, like Unily’s flagship Masterclass roadshow or our annual Unite conference, is a great way to get embedded into the community and grow your network.

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Take your job by storm!

Embracing these five strategies will set you on a path to success in your new role as a Communications Manager. By conducting a thorough channel audit, understanding the business landscape, tapping into the workforce zeitgeist, crafting a clear mission statement, and engaging with the global comms community, you’ll be well-equipped to make a lasting impact.

Remember, your fresh perspective is a valuable asset—use it to your advantage. With these strategies in your toolkit, you’ll not only navigate your new role with confidence but also lay the groundwork for a thriving communications function that drives organizational success. Stay curious, stay connected, and watch your efforts transform the way your organization communicates.

Casey Farr - Communications Manager

Casey Farr

Communications Manager

As Communications Manager and our resident EX wordsmith, Casey supports content creation across the company from researching and writing thought-leading blogs, to creating compelling talk tracks for Unite speakers. Learn More

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The list that everyone wants to get on. Subscribe to receive the latest insights, upcoming events, and inside scoops.

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