Role Of Influencers In Internal Comms

The Role of Influencers in Internal Communications – more crucial than you would think

A little less than a week ago, Internal Communications expert, Mike Klein, published an interesting and inspiring article, discussing the findings of the eight annual edition of Gatehouse’s State of the Sector.

In his short analytic piece, Mike made several great points, including how “practitioners these days are focused on “digital,” channel management and event management” and that the concept of employee engagement is still lacking the support it would rightfully deserve and so desperately need.

However, what really resonated with what we at OrgMapper believe in, was that Mike seems to agree that it is absolutely crucial to identify and focus on “high-value and high-impact individuals and audiences within their organizations”. We could not agree more.

These “high-value/high-impact individuals”, or influencers, as we like to call them, are essential components of an organization’s internal networks. Without them, the flow of information and communication, in general, is likely to become significantly less effective. Therefore, identifying them should be a top priority for every organization.

However, just finding influencers is far from enough. They need to be involved and empowered, so that their influence is utilized to ensure the success of the organization’s initiatives, whatever they might be.

As Mike so rightly highlighted, internal communication is more likely to follow a 3% – 90% rule, as opposed to the famous 80-20 principle. What this means is that 3% of the employees is able to initiate, drive and influence conversations that reach 90% of peers. (For those of you interested in the scientific background of a concept similar to these rules, we recommend you to read this paper on Scale-Free Networks, by our Co-Founder, Albert-László Barabási.)

Influencers Reach More

So who are these influencers?

It is important to outline, that they will be present at all levels of the organization. With OrgMapper, the identification of influencers is based on:

  • Capabilities – measures the number of times an employee was nominated by their colleagues for professional capabilities, including strategic thinking, energy and motivation, initiative and innovation, and knowledge and expertise
  • Connections – measures the number of times an employee is nominated by their colleagues for their social connections, including formal and informal communication, cooperation, trust, advice, and feedback

Our methodology uses the scores on capabilities and connections to categorize Influencers into three profiles:

  • Role Models are employees who are acknowledged for their abilities to motivate, inspire, and voice the opinions of others
  • Social Hubs are the most well-connected employees whom many coworkers seek out for help, advice, and information
  • Champions are both role models and social hubs. They possess strong influencing capabilities and are also well connected

Influential Employees

As mentioned earlier, identifying influencers is not enough. They have to have active roles in the comms (or change) process. Influencers tend to be autonomous and ambitious employees. Therefore, they must not be used merely as mouthpieces. Their insights, ideas and suggestions can mean the difference between a successful initiative and a complete organizational disaster.

With OrgMapper, influencers are peer-elected (through a comprehensive survey), which ensures that they are motivated, willing and eager to fulfill their roles in their organizations’ initiatives, and this is not the only benefit. Via the very same survey, organizations can pinpoint the areas/departments, most critical to the success of their communications.

Involve your influencers to maximize the effects of your initiatives

Combining our tool, OrgMapper, with Leandro Herrero’s Viral Change approach, enables organizations to capitalize on influencer involvement by maximizing the positive effects of their initiatives. Inclined to learn more? Watch our recent webinar on this topic, co-hosted with Leandro Herrero.

Learn More

Are you interested in increasing the effectiveness of your internal communications via influencer identification and network-based organizational diagnostics? Get in touch with us at so we can show you more.

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