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All change for internal communications?

What will be the role of Internal Communicators to maintain a sustainable business? On Tuesday 24 January an event was held by the London Communicators and Engagement Group to discuss what sustainability means for companies, what it should mean, and the central role Internal Communicators play in this debate. During it, some Visual Artists captured the conversations (pictured). If you click on the image it will take you to a write-up where you can explore it in detail.

Sonsoles Lumbreras attended the event and has kindly penned a guest post for my blog to let you know how it went, what she thought and to leave you with her lasting impressions.

This continues my series of guest writers, I’m always on the lookout for reports back from comms events to share with other communicators, do if you’ve been to a conference, talk or event recently, do get in touch with your proposal if you’d like to write about it afterwards: rach@rachmiller.com 

Over to you Sonsoles…

As part of wanting to improve my knowledge about Internal Communications (IC), I attended a really interesting event organised by the “London Communicators and Engagement Group” (many thanks to Matt O’Neill for allowing me to come along). 

Under the title ‘All change for Internal Communications?’, Deborah Hulme, from dhc group,  led a debate about sustainability. According to Hulme, sustainable does not always have to do with environmental issues but it also refers to how companies are performing in front of their customers and employees, and how the latter perceive the former.

However, many organisations do not really pay attention to that aspect of sustainability. The speaker pointed out that businesses have now a higher impact in our communities and people are more and more interested in how organisations are operating and why, so stakeholders groups are coming together to survey what they are doing, “a fact that Internal Communications professionals should also pay attention to”,  said Deborah.

Deborah said that there are four points which are important to look at the future of Internal Communications professionals:

  • their function itself
  • how companies should be organised around IC departments
  • the role of Internal Communicators as more experienced professionals in this field
  • the important role of customers for organisations 

So IC professionals will have to work to control their behaviour; and the function of younger generations in the organisation’s landscape, who will demand the use of social media as a means of collaboration within their companies since they are used to doing it in their day-to-day lives.

During the subsequent debate, one of the interesting views that was raised was that it will be fundamental for Internal Communications practitioners to have engagement skills and act as facilitators to invite employees to collaborate within organisations. But a fear was stated among the audience regarding the lack of leadership support in order to achieve this goal. The establishment of a clear business goal when encouraging that employees’ collaboration could be the solution to get that support. 

What do you think will be the future role of Internal Communicators to maintain a sustainable culture within companies?

Thank you for your thoughts Sonsoles. You can leave her a comment using the boxes below to share your thoughts. There is also a write-up online about the sustainability event, including a short video, which you can see here.

Comments

  1. Sean Trainor says:

    Since the conception of sustainability, it has always been about the triple bottom line, and not just about environmental issues. I was involved in with the National Stakeholder Dialogue process initiated in the nuclear industry in the late 90s which was at the forefront of this thinking.
    I’m sorry I missed the meet-up and forgive me if I am missing the point of the discussion but I don’t see what has changed or what is the catalyst for believing it is all change for IC. If it means that some, less mature, organisations are finally waking up to a multiple stakeholder interests, the need for transparency and the need for dialogue then I guess it’s not all change for IC but maybe a change for a few.
    But I may be missing the point.
    Sean

  2. Sonsoles says:

    Hi Sean, thanks for your comment. As you say, sustainability implies the 3 bottom line theory but unfortunately many companies do not still know it or do not want to realize…This short conference simply wanted to lead to a discussion about what is changing for Internal Communications and what are the future challenges for IC professionals. It is not only related to the conception of sustainability for companies but also to other changes such as the use of social media, how IC professionals role is seen within companies and much more…

  3. Sean Trainor says:

    Thanks Sonsoles
    No criticism of your coverage of the event, which by all account was interesting but I get drawn in by the headline “According to Hulme, sustainability does not always have to do with environmental issues” and look for some insight, but sadly I don’t get any.
    The whole sustainability agenda is criticised enough for being “greenwash” without IC jumping on the bandwagon a decade later.

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