Learning and Internal Communications: Collaborate!

Discover the benefits of collaborative working between your internal communication and learning & development teams.  

Historically, the Internal Communication function of a business has existed independently from Learning and Development - different reporting lines, teams, ways of working and objectives.  At Limehouse we’re fortunate enough to work with clients on both sides of the divide, and feel like we have a pretty unique perspective on the potential for much closer collaboration.  

In short, we think there are plenty of reasons why working more closely and cohesively is beneficial for both functions.   

Where Internal Comms seeks to effectively engage employees to give their best at work every day, Learning focuses on enhancing employees’ knowledge and skills.   

At first glance, the two don’t seem to have too much in common, and that’s probably why they’ve traditionally been kept apart.  But the reality is that the objectives of both functions are far more closely aligned than you might think. 

What do they have in common?  

Typically operating under the HR function of a business, the two departments have the shared aims of engaging their audience, delivering information and driving change in thought or behaviour. 

Across both departments, the purpose of this information is to better convey the ‘whys’ of the business, build a great culture and motivate development. Both IC and L&D are familiar with the challenges of engaging a multigenerational organisation. With the additional consideration of a remote workforce, it’s more important than ever to know how best to communicate with teams.   

What can they learn from each other?  

In terms of connecting with a multigenerational workforce, both teams should hopefully have some employee insights and feedback on how best to connect with each segment. Sharing these insights can not only support how each generation is reached in the future, but create a more united messaging framework for the business as a whole.  

When IC share updates, surveys and forums, the subsequent conversations and responses can be fed back to the L&D team. These insights can inform new training ideas and opportunities, as well as how the sessions are held.

For example, an internal survey on employee learning styles may show that over half of all staff are kinaesthetic learners. From this, the L&D team can start creating more interactive sessions to cater to them whilst IC consider their channel mix.  

L&D are always told to think like marketers to get a message across. That's what IC are great at: business comms are told by storytellers. These storytellers can shape how L&D direct sessions to improve the effectiveness of their content, as well as the learner’s experience.   

How might they work more closely?  

More collaboration between these internal teams could include cross marketing. IC can reference L&D and L&D can play back key messages from IC campaigns, in an effort to create more impact. In addition, if learning and development can incorporate some of the company’s key internal terminology, you can cement your brand language in the professional growth of your employees.  Likewise, while training ensures short-term impact, effective internal comms can help embed and remind employees of the key session takeaways in the days and weeks following.   

A combined effort between these two teams can also help some of the key business metrics: 

1. From awareness: Internal comms boosts employee awareness around progression opportunities that they may have otherwise been unaware of.  

2. Comes development: More opportunities to develop leads to greater staff satisfaction and improved performance.   

3. And growth: With improved performance comes the hitting and exceeding of KPIs. Plus, satisfied employees who see a clear route of progression are more likely to stay with the company.   

In the long term, a collaborative content strategy between IC and L&D can allow you to develop powerful messaging campaigns with clear goals and outcomes. What does that look like practically?  While all of this information may be ringing true for you, you might still be wondering whether, or how, you can affect change. Here are a few ways you can get started:   

1. IC can liaise with L&D about the training sessions calendar and run content in alignment with it. For example, a session on mental health in the workplace could be followed up with comms exploring mindfulness tips.   

2. IC can provide their expertise to help make L&D more visual by creating key written and design assets to support sessions.  

3. L&D can start reviewing the feedback and comments on IC for insights into what employees want more of. For example, employees may be looking for more group discussion opportunities where they can feel heard.   

4. IC can get vocal about L&D to ensure everyone’s aware of the opportunities available. This could be a roundup of all the upcoming training sessions for the month, or editorial pieces linked to a particular topic.   

5. If IC have a message or initiative they’d like to push but are concerned the usual channels aren’t enough of a platform, L&D can create a session to support it.  

For more practical support, we work with companies to create impactful internal communications, digital learning and corporate communications. You can talk to us today or check out some of the work we’ve done.