What channels do you use for your internal communication?
Is the prospect of internal comms (IC) leaking externally viewed as a risk by your senior stakeholders?
Is your internal communications strategy only engaging small pockets of your total employee base?
Laura Jameson, (pictured), Director, Internal Communications, Ruder Finn UK is my guest writer for Day 13 of my All Things IC Countdown to Christmas series. She’s here to share the results of their recent survey.
If you’ve missed any of my advent series, just search the tag to catch up.
I’ll hand you over to Laura…
The questions above are some of the key challenges voiced by respondents to our recent survey of 100 internal communications (IC) professionals.
The research, conducted in summer 2016, IC professionals from a variety of industries, geographies, organisational structures and job functions.
What our findings have shown is that despite their best efforts, communicators are operating firmly within their comfort zone when it comes to IC.
All too often, we tend to play the safe, tried and tested card and shy away from more risky, impactful strategies that can make a positive impact on employee engagement – and most importantly, overall business success.
When questioned on business attitudes to employee engagement, only 20 percent of respondents said their organisation effectively involves IC in strategic planning.
60 per cent also flagged that the prospect of IC leaking externally was viewed as a significant risk by senior stakeholders.
This doesn’t mean that communicators are naturally risk-averse. They are however subject to organisational pressures and conservatism that sometimes push them down the path of least resistance.
So, why do we need to be bolder when it comes to IC?
Technology, globalisation and dramatic changes to the working environment are causing flux and insecurity within employee bases.
With this in mind IC has a pivotal role to play in inspiring employees to go the extra mile as their organisations work to overcome these challenges and drive future growth.
As communicators we need work together to overcome these barriers effectively, to push our organisations out of their comfort zone and produce truly strategic internal communications.
Good internal comms and employee engagement are at the heart of this dynamic and taking a risk comes as standard.
We’re not talking about subject matter here but about challenging norms, changing misconceptions, and switching up approaches.
Our research found that communicators are in fact ready to experiment with channels to reach staff:
- 85 per cent said they still rely on email heavily for communications
- but 61 per cent want to start experimenting with more interactive two-way communication such as employee-generated content.
Respondents also emphasised the need to switch up IC to engage global employees.
Only 20 per cent said their organisation effectively engaged employees outside of key markets – in fact 39 per cent said their organisation was not effective at all at this.
Clearly, getting IC ‘right’ is high on the agenda for many global organisations.
What we now need to focus on is moving away from the tried and testing and focusing on an approach pushing the boundaries of communications.
Those who adopt a more open-minded, innovative and dynamic approach will be much more likely to reap the benefits of long-term employee engagement and focused IC.
The full report Taking internal communications out of its comfort zone, is available to download via the Ruder Finn website.
You can also find them on Twitter @RuderFinnUK.
Post author: Laura Jameson.
What do you think of their findings? Do you agree? You can Tweet them @RuderFinnUK or comment below.
I’ve written many times about the need for strategic internal communication. If it’s something you’re interested in finding out more about, sign up for one of my All Things IC Masterclasses.
These are day-long courses designed by and for professional communicators.
Masterclasses start from £399+VAT for a Writing Skills Masterclass in February with Helen Deverell @helendeverell.
See the Masterclasses website for full information and to save your space.
On 1 December I ran a Strategic Internal Communication Masterclass.
Jane Shaw, International Employee Engagement Director at NBC Universal attended and said:
“I found the Strategic Internal Communications Masterclass exceptionally useful as I plan our strategy for 2017. What an interesting and diverse group of IC leaders and I love Rachel’s learning style. Definitely worth attending and I look forward to joining future All Things IC masterclasses.”
2017 dates are live. Choose from:
- Internal Communication: 24 January 2017
- Writing Skills Masterclass: 22 February 2017
- Strategic Internal Communication (for senior-level practitioners), 23 March 2017
- Internal Communication, 27 April 2017.
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Thank you for stopping by,
First published on the All Things IC blog 13 December 2016.