In simple terms, a mandate is explicit authority to do something. The implication is that whoever has given the mandate has also given their trust and the means needed to do it.
An internal communications mandate explicitly confirms the political will exists for the function within the organization and confirms support in achieving a set of goals.While one might assume that the presence of a designated internal communicator implies a mandate, the harsh truth is that without an explicit mandate, internal communications professionals can have a hard time taking a strategic seat. There’s no rule for what a mandate looks like – different organizations can have wildly different expectations and goals, thus wildly divergent mandates. Regardless of the structure, setting out a mandate for the get-go will inform your function and relationship towards the leadership team. Instead of getting caught in the crosshairs of countless side projects, you will be able to move forward towards the bigger picture.
Do you see the difference between these two examples?
1. Internal communication is responsible for ensuring that all employees have the necessary information they need to fulfill their roles and contribute to company objectives.
2. At [organization], our internal communications support the work and wellbeing of our team. It is the responsibility of our internal communication team to ensure that not only do our employees have the information they need to do their jobs but that they feel connected to our company purpose and culture, and are supported in their goals both in the workplace and in their lives as a whole. The internal communication team has the support of marketing, HR, and management functions to gather and disseminate relevant information. The team will also report weekly on their progress to leadership to discuss further resources.
While the language of a mandate can evolve to meet the organization’s needs, it should start with a clear definition of priorities, support, and expectations.
This tool is a questionnaire to take to the leadership table. Each question includes an explanation of what you’re looking for and why it’s essential to guide your stakeholders to useful responses.