This week I booked my ticket for the annual Internal Communications (IC) Conference hosted by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Taking place on 6 October in London, it will be the CIPR’s 10th annual IC Conference and is called Face the change – Employee Engagement in Turbulent Times. It promises to be an interactive full-day event capturing the evolution of internal communications to the current day practices of tackling the big issues facing enterprise, revealing the results of up-to date research that makes the link between internal comms and employee engagement. I’m particularly looking forward to what’s billed as a thought-provoking session on what the future holds for the profession. Tickets are still available, check out the CIPR website for more information

It will be Chaired by Sean Trainor, Chair of CIPR Inside, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations‘ (CIPR) professional network for employee communications and engagement professionals, and I asked him to write an article for my blog.

Sean is the founder and Managing Director of über engagement, a consultancy that “goes beyond” the normal approaches to employee engagement. Providing pragmatic solutions to organisational issues that are focused on business outcomes and based on employee insights.

A business consultant who has spent the vast majority of his career in-house, his work has crossed most sectors including energy, media, transport, financial services, manufacturing, telecoms and professional services.

My approach to Sean was part of my continuing series of sharing diaries and thoughts from other Comms professionals. If you’ve got an idea of an article you’d like to write, do get in touch:

Over to you Sean on the topic of IC in Wonderland…

IC in Wonderland

We’ve heard it all too often – “our profession is at a crossroads” – and, just like Alice, Internal Communications (IC) never seems to know which way to go or much care where it wants to get to.

So, guided by the consultants, the profession has taken numerous routes over the years; from Storytelling Street and Internal Marketing Mews to Coaching Close and Wiki Way.

Unfortunately, most of these routes turned out to be cul-de-sacs, dead ends or blind alleys but they all had one thing in common – they took us straight back to another crossroads where the external experts were waiting with Cheshire cat grins on their faces.

Philip Tetlock in his book “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?” concludes that people who appear as experts, advising businesses, writing books and participating in guru groups and advisory panels are no wiser than the majority.

When consultants are proved wrong they rarely admit it and put it down to the internal politics, organisational constraints or lack of tenacity on the client’s side. They have a familiar repertoire of “If only they had walked long enough along the road they would have got somewhere” Sound familiar?

So, which way ought we go from here? One thing is for sure, economic circumstances have forced those fat cat consultants who haven’t expired their nine lives on a diet of skimmed milk. They’ve had to adapt or die, managing to maintain a modest smile as they provide practical road maps and hold a torch to light their clients’ paths.

But how have the in-house practitioners adapted? have they become more street wise? or are they still blissfully ignorant of where they want to get to as long as they get somewhere? I believe it’s time for in-house practitioners to step-up and take more of a leadership role, taking control of their own destiny and finding their true North. That way they might just end up in Wonderland.

Thank you for your article Sean. What do you think of what he has written? Do you agree with his thoughts? You’re welcome to comment below and thanks as ever for stopping by, Rachel.

Post author: Sean Trainor.

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