4 Shared Services Communication Strategies Guaranteed to Work
Charting a strategy that delivers!
As Global Capability Centers (also known as Global Shared Services or Global In-house Centers) expand to newer markets to exceed business needs and gain a competitive advantage, it is critical for organizations to assess and chart a clear strategy for success.
In their effort to expand, organizations often miss the essential step of creating a consistent communication strategy and plan – leading to less than optimal outcomes for the business and brand. In this post, I share perspectives that leaders and communicators can benefit from while driving expansion plans with their Global Capability Centers.
Through audits and process integration, the communication strategy can be shaped for the new Capability Center. For example, conduct an audit of the ‘as-is’ situation. If it is a greenfield site there will be opportunities to establish ways of working right away. If the site is already functional, it might be valuable to gather insights on current practices to gauge their efficacy and impact. Either way, having clear ownership and timelines for local communication can help integrate employees sooner with other centers and with HQ. Questions you may consider asking: A) how do employees currently perceive communications? B) how does communication help them be successful at work? C) what do they expect more and better?
With the power of systems and people involved in the set-up of the new Capability Center, the site can be quickly integrated in the bigger picture. Apart from appreciating cultural nuances, it will be useful to synchronize communication channels that work. Get a sense of what channels were well-received in the past and what staff need more of. Identify your key influencers through network analysis. Understand more about the ‘integrators’ and the ‘connectors’ among staff. These colleagues will be instrumental in landing change and building a strong communication presence. Have conversations with influencers and articulate your communication vision. Questions you may consider asking: A) how can staff play a part in the organization’s journey? B) what systems will connect them best to the business? C) how do they prefer to be aligned?
Linking staff from the new center to the purpose and influencing them through visioning exercises can improve organizational identification. Connect the center with HQ and build a calendar for communication engagement. Consider the external environment at the new center. It may be possible that the industry is facing turbulence or there are competitors who have an upper hand in attracting talent. Prepare the local team to assess and benchmark their level of brand acceptability before conducting any interventions. Creating a basis digital presence can help drive engagement within and outside the organization. Questions you may consider asking: A) how do stakeholders perceive the brand? B) how can staff become brand advocates? C) what stories can they tap?
A seamless experience for the center will mean that staff ‘feel’ and ‘act’ as integral members of the organization. Through robust communication standards and governance the chances of success are higher while integrating a new Global Capability Center. The communication team can use insight-led analytics to ascertain stakeholders’ experiences. Likewise, by providing platforms for connection and communication, there are ways to benefit from knowledge management at the center. Finally yet importantly, running outreach initiatives that raise issues and challenges can help the center improve its communication experiences. Have a 100-day plan for communication including ways for the new center to collaborate across geographies and cross-pollinating ideas and solution. Craft opportunities for leaders to engage staff, outline initiatives that employees must connect to, curate channels that need attention and measure the value communication adds. Questions you may consider asking: A) is the experience consistent at all levels? B) do stakeholders know when and how to speak up? C) is there a transparent feedback mechanism in place?
Irrespective of where your employees work, the expectation is make them feel included and part of the larger team. Also, while it isn’t possible to integrate a new Capability Center in a short span of time, by phasing out the journey the outcomes can and will be more fulfilling.
Aniisu K. Verghese is an award winning corporate communications and social responsibility practitioner with over 18 years of experience in leading multinational organizations. He is the author of Internal Communications – Insights, Practices and Models, and is passionate about engaging communicators and students through workshops, speaking engagements, teaching assignments and blogging. He has served on the International Association of Business Communicator (IABC)’s South India Chapter Board, the SABRE Awards - South Asia Jury and the IABC’s Gold Quill Asia Pacific Award panel. Aniisu is the recipient of the 2015 PR Hall of Fame Award from the Public Relations Council of India. He can be reached on Linkedin.
Views expressed in this blog post are personal.