IC Team Story: The unifying power of a successful intranet

By Laura M. Balster
March 9, 2022
5 min read
Blog
Engagement
Thanks to internal communications, Laura Balster can work from Illinois

Unexpected changes

Picture this….

You have worked within the financial industry for nearly 30 years, from the front-line to backroom operations. Although there has not been a great deal of diversity in the workforce where you’ve spent almost three decades, you have gained much experience serving customers on many different levels. You plan to retire after a long career in banking, but then it is announced that your organization has been acquired by a larger financial institution.

A new start in the world of internal communications

Sound familiar?

I am guessing it does, to at least a segment of this audience, anyway. But the story continues.

You are no longer a fresh recruit. Still, you are too young to call it quits. An intriguing opportunity presents itself to work for an internal communications software company – a trusted vendor with whom you have developed a great working relationship.  However, you are offered a role that is perhaps a bit outside your comfort zone.

What do you do?  Are you willing to risk taking a different path than the one you had envisioned for so many years? Sure, there are other offers that would allow you to continue working in the financial realm, but could there be something more challenging (and possibly even more fulfilling) in an area you had never considered? If you have the courage to spread your wings, could you actually fly?

Remote work: the importance of effective comms

Internal communications and a solid intranet platform let Laura work for a Vancouver based company from Illinois.

Overcoming my fear of potentially plummeting to the earth instead of soaring high above mountain tops, in June of 2020 I took the leap. And after a year and a half of working for IC (transitioning from being an Account Executive to now serving as the Director of Customer Success), I will tell you I don’t regret this decision for a moment.

My situation is not a conventional one. I live and work remotely from my home in Illinois, but the rest of my team is in Vancouver, B.C. Can you imagine a scenario where effective internal communications would be more critical?  Without utilizing those tools and techniques we share with our own customers we could not hope to achieve success. There would simply be too many barriers. But we are making this work! In fact, I believe our team is the living embodiment of the internal comms strategy we promote; the one through which thousands of IC partners have flourished during the past 23 years. We “practice what we preach”, so to speak.

How are we making this happen? Leaders and team members are committed to overcoming any obstacles that may exist due to our new hybrid work environment.  In my view, employee engagement is the most vital ingredient to the success of our organization and is the basis of the SPICED acronym: simplicity, positivity, integrity, creativity, empathy, and diversity. I have learned that keeping employees engaged with these six core values not only increases retention but also improves productivity in the workplace. The importance of effective comms when it comes to sharing our company’s core values, and keeping everyone on the same page, cannot be overstated. Our software enables customers to achieve similar goals and celebrate their own accomplishments.

Thriving on diversity

The principle that perhaps stands out most to me here at IC is diversity; it is something rather new for me, personally – at least on this scale. Within my new role, I am allowed the pleasure of working with team members from around the world (from Canada to the UK, Brazil, South Africa, Jamaica and beyond). As a bonus, our customers are represented internationally, as well. Having the opportunity to interact with all these different groups of people is a truly amazing experience!  I am rewarded daily through learning about various cultures and making new friends from around the globe.

So, why is a well-constructed communication plan so important to us (and really, to everyone)? Because finding ways to help people connect with one another, to get to know and truly understand each other, is powerful. We can all contribute valuable ideas and insights based on our own life lessons, if given the chance to do so.  Collaboration can result in inspiration! Spending time, energy, and resources to bring a team together is a wise investment.

A solid intranet platform can be a unifying power, and ultimately the keystone to success.

During the speech delivered during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing on February 4, 2022, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach shared something that truly resonated with me:

In our fragile world, where division, conflict and mistrust are on the rise, we show the world: yes, it is possible to be fierce rivals, while at the same time living peacefully and respectfully together. 

This is the mission of the Olympic Games: bringing us together in peaceful competition. Always building bridges, never erecting walls. Uniting humankind in all our diversity.”

This speech made me think more than I ever had before about the Olympics, how they bring people together from all parts of the world, and how effective internal communication is absolutely essential to achieve success at these events.  Although most of us may never represent our countries at the Olympic games, I believe everyone could benefit by adhering to the philosophy described by Bach.  In our own ways, walking our individual paths, we can find ways to ‘unite humankind in all our diversity’.  I am happy and proud to have taken that leap of faith and am now working for a company that helps to bond people, each and every day.

With state-of-the-art internal comms software like ours at IC, we know that you too can embrace your workforce in new ways, and bring everyone together towards your common goals. And the best part is, you don’t have to be an internal communicator or an IT whiz to figure it out—our software needs no training, so you can dive right in and start building a connected workforce. But should you need help, my team is ready to guide you every step of the way. Ready to help build a bridge and unite your own team? Book a demo today! Not quite ready for a demo? Take our free assessment and discover which parts of your internal comms could use a bit of spice!

By Laura M. Balster

Laura is the Director of Customer Success at IC. Working nearly three decades in the financial industry, and having an extensive background in both writing and editing, she is excited to bring this experience with her as she explores a new career path. She loves meeting new people and the unique job satisfaction found when working as part of a committed team! Laura graduated Summa Cum Laude from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, with a BA in Political Science and History. She loves to travel, cook, cross-stitch, read, watch old movies, and spend time with family.

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