Have you ever wondered what others in your organization think about the Comms function? It’s okay to admit it and in fact it’s a good thing to know how your business partners view your contributions to your organization. Having this knowledge gives you a better sense of your strengths and weaknesses and as such allows you to improve on your weaknesses and find other areas where your strengths can be utilized to assist your partners.
The CEC’s major research initiative this year is focused on turning the comms function into a consultative business partner by catalyzing behavior change. This may sound like a difficult task, especially when considering your current workload by keeping up-to-date on the latest tweets and Facebook “likes,” company messages, speeches, employee engagement, and the list continues. However, we at the CEC wouldn’t recommend this change if you couldn’t handle it and, more importantly, if it didn’t add value to the function.
Let’s take a look at one of our surveys to see what comms functions around our membership are working on and how they feel their business partners value their efforts.
Getting back to my previous point, we asked in our survey, what are the 3 main focus areas of the comms function at your organization? And as you guessed it, our top 3 responses were supporting change, creating positive perceptions, and channel management. While these are undoubtedly the traditional go-to’s for communicators, we believe you can add even more value to your firm by being consultative partners and driving behaviors. Hopefully you can see how improving upon your consulting skills is value added and keep this in mind, 14% of our respondents said that driving behaviors was a top 3 focus area and nearly 25% of their time each month is devoted to consulting business partners.
Another question that you may be interested in pertains to how regularly your business partners seek your help to solve a specific business problem. The good news is that 80% of respondents said that they are “sometimes” or “always” sought after. While this is positive news for the function, it should be noted that our results are skewed toward only “sometimes” being asked to assist our partners. We want this to change from sometimes to always and we believe it can by improving your consultative skills and driving behaviors.
So now we know how often we’re sought after and what we can do to increase our chances of having a seat around the table, but what do our business partners think about our efforts? We asked a couple of questions to gain a better understanding and here’s what we found. When we asked, “How do you feel your business partners rate the service you provide?” Only 54% responded that their business partners thought highly of their services while the other 46% said business partners thought there was much need for improvement. Furthermore, we asked, “How do you feel your business partners rate the business value you create?” Again, we see results that need improvement as only 29% thought business partners felt highly of comms’ business value and the remainder felt “neutral.”
We can clearly see a gap between actual and potential results as we know that there are comms teams within the membership that play an integral thought leadership role within in their organization. What sets these teams apart is their ability to comprehend their business partners’ concerns and understand how their skills as communicators can be put to best use to help their business partners achieve their goals.
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