Internal influencers are people who do not necessarily occupy a hierarchical position, but they see and hear everything, they know everyone, and they are able to influence the working environment and decisions. Something like the “Donna Paulsen” of companies (have you still not seen the series Suits?).
According to research by Leandro Herrero, CEO of The Chalfont Project Ltd, an international company of organization architects, the 5 most influential people in a company can reach more than twice as many people as a 5-member leadership team.
The rest of the employees ask them for feedback, advice and ideas, or turn to them to find out what is really happening in the company. That is why they influence the morale of the teams, their spirit and their desire to support (or resist) the change.
Knowing how to identify these people is key for internal communication.
Where are they?
- Internal influencers are rarely part of the senior team.
- They are people with great interpersonal skills.
- Their network in the company is broad and reaches many areas.
One strategy to find these people is to launch an anonymous survey among employees with questions such as: “When asking for advice, who do you turn to?”, “Who do you respect most in the company?”, “Who do you think has a natural talent when relating to people? “.
Involve them in organizational changes
The best way to take advantage of internal influencers is to make them part in the transformation of the organization (cultural change, new norms, new work schemes, etc.).
Having them on the same page can help you to have a positive impact on the internal climate. They are vital to lead bottom-up decisions.
Yes, make sure they are happy and satisfied with their tasks and their working conditions,, because they can also be a double-edged sword.
Involve them in the planning, direction and execution of the agreed changes. Your support could pave the way for you much better than if the new decision “comes down” from the top.
Tell us about your experience with internal influencers!