Communicating to the field with one voice

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The bigger your company grows, the more this concept becomes a problem. Why is it a concern? In mid- to large-size companies, with more layers of management and more pyramidal departments, those who need to communicate with the field don’t necessarily communicate with each other.
For instance, Marketing communicates different messages than Compliance (perhaps) and Commissions, Management and Licensing all need to get information to those same field producers.
Here are a few ways larger companies have worked out the conflicts in this scenario.

  1. In this area of communication, they select one department that oversees all outgoing messages. That doesn’t mean the particular department writes all memos or notifications, but they do review other department’s information to make sure there are not conflicting ideas being expressed.

Often, this will be either the Sales and Marketing or the Corporate Communications folks. The idea takes consensus at the top to make sure everyone follows the procedure. The process takes a little longer, even if streamlined, so other departments must plan a little further ahead than before. The responsible department can not only reduce the conflict in messages, they may also be able to reduce the number of overall communications to the producer. Every producer will appreciate that!

  1. At least one company in the industry has reduced messages to the field to a weekly combined memo that incorporates all departments’ information. Again, the responsibility falls on Marketing or Communications to receive, write and compile all the pieces into a cohesive whole. Depending on your company’s relationship with producers, you may be able to reduce this to bi-weekly or monthly and use a little more expensive, impressive, and “slick” communications piece.

  1. Perhaps the most innovative use of technology to solve the “conflicting messages” problem is one company’s three-day approval process. When any department needs to send information to the field, the writer submits the memo to a pre-determined list of other employees within the home office. Prior to this process being adopted, lists of required contacts were drawn up for any given topic that might need to be communicated. These lists are across company and department lines, and Compliance is almost always included.

Those other employees have three days in which to send comments back to the writer – either agreeing, disagreeing, modifying or vetoing the message. If the writer hasn’t gotten any feedback in three days, or has modified the message and received agreement, then he or she is free to send it out.

These are only a few ways companies have solved problems related to field communications. If your company has used another method and you’d like to share it as a Best Practice, please direct your email to

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