The intersection between internal communications and anthropology


You already know that internal communication and employee engagement are critical to any organization’s success. You know that getting employees to connect and co-create may be part of your job as a communications professional. But you may not have realized that to do that effectively, you may also need to be a dedicated creative anthropologist as well.

Anthropologists study culture, right? And it’s vital to appreciate that understanding an organization’s current internal culture—and how to shape it differently as needed—is essential to the communicator’s role. It’s part of your job to deliberately create an internal culture that enables employee communication to flourish.

Elements of internal culture you’ll need to consider, both critically and creatively, include:

  • The way in which meetings take place
  • Styles of interpersonal relationships
  • Patterns for email writing and distribution
  • The form and function of strategic planning sessions; and
  • The way in which the organization responds to challenges.

Creating a culture supportive of healthy internal communication can’t be done overnight, and it can’t be done in a piecemeal way; it’s got to be a long-term collaborative exercise. The place to start is by conducting a thoughtful, open organizational development exercise to assess current functioning and better alternatives with respect to the five areas of internal communications culture noted above. Then use that information to form an Internal Communications Strategy.

And once you’re done, feel free to add Communications Anthropologist to your job title!

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