Engaging for Success in Italy

What role does employee engagement have in organisations and how does it correlate to business success?

This was one of the many topics that came up in conversation last week when David MacLeod, Co-Chair of Engage for Success, and I went to the inaugural meeting of the ImpresAperta taskforce in Rome.

Rome1We were representing the Engage for Success movement in the UK and sharing ideas and best practice with Italian communication professionals.

I’ve written about Engage for Success @engage4success numerous times on my blog and am part of the ‘social media guru group’ of supporters. If you’d like to read more about it, I’ve included links at the foot of this article.

The trip was a whirlwind 24 hours and I found it fascinating to talk with IC pros there to discover what the trends are and hear their thoughts on employee engagement.

I was invited by Toni Muzi Falconi, Senior Counsel of Methodos spa, the Italian change-knowledge management consultancy. He’s the adjunct professor of Global Relations and Intercultural Relations at NYU’s Masters of Public Relations and Communication Management and of Public Relations at the Vatican’s LUMSA University in Rome. Toni is also one of the founders and inaugural chair of the Global Alliance – and a wonderful host. You can read the background into how we met and our previous conversations via my blog.

There is a strong community dedicated to corporate communication professionals in Italy, called Comunicatorinterni. It has an online platform, which looks at new trends in internal communication and is promoted by Methodos.

I introduced Toni to David at the start of this year and we spoke on the phone together about the Italian movement, ImpresAperta. It has been created by the community after being inspired by Engage for Success following reading about it in an article I wrote on PR Conversations.

ImpresAperta intends to collect challenges and goals and become an environment for in-depth discussion on communication issues and involvement in organisations, to benefit them now and in the future. It has a strategic theme: looking at the involvement of employees in organisation as the key to enhance creativity and potential of people, accelerate business performance and contribute to a re-launch of the country.

Energised discussions on engagement
On Tuesday morning David and I went to the headquarters of Enel, an Italian energy company, who were hosting the taskforce. It was a pleasure to meet their Head of Internal Communication, Maria Cristina Milano and I enjoyed speaking with her. Last year Enel took the decision to refer to its employees as ‘citizens’ in order to apply the concept of company citizenship.

Toni Falconi Rachel Miller David MacLeodI was interviewed by their internal channel ‘Enel TV’ and was asked about how UK organisations use social media for internal communication. From conversations with their comms team I enjoyed hearing first-hand how they are working hard to develop ways to promote participation and engagement through consistent behaviours when it comes to the environment, safety, consideration for the different cultures and communities it operates in and to enable its citizens to ‘witness them outwards.’

I could write lots on this topic, but will just mention this – as part of the company’s efforts to listen to the needs of its ‘Enel citizens,’ they created nine focus groups in Enel power plants and offices, involving 100 people to think about the current and future internal communication tools and strategy. Smart thinking. Apparently the word ‘employee’ in Italian (roughly) translates to ‘dependents’ – so you can see why steps were taken to change it.

Shared ideas and perspectives
David shared insights into Engage for Success: the four enablers of employee engagement, how the taskforce in the UK came into being and how employee engagement relates to business success. There’s been a lot of excellent work since his original report alongside Nita Clarke and I always enjoy hearing him speak about the good work that continues to take place.

We then went to the Palazzo Dei Congressi building in Rome where Forum PA, a company specialising in PR and corporate communication were holding a huge expo.

Toni (pictured left in the photograph of the three of us) hosted a session on ‘How to involve civil servants, private and social decisions to promote development and growth’ which provided an opportunity for discussion and debate on IC and for David and I to talk about Engage for Success.

David presented on Engage for Success and why employee engagement is a key consideration for organisations in the UK and beyond.

Toni then interviewed me for 15 minutes and we talked about the role of internal communication, employee engagement and social media in organisations. You can watch a video of my presentation below (in Italian). Being simultaneously translated as I spoke was a new experience for me and I enjoyed the questions from the delegates.

My thanks to Toni and the whole Methodos team including Matteo Barone and Michele Toscano for their kind hospitality and for making us feel so welcome. I wish ImpresAperta every success and will follow its progress with interest. We started discussions last week about ways for both countries to collaborate together, so watch this space for more information in future.

I tweeted a couple of photographs while I was there and the image in the header of this page was kindly edited by Keith @ICnow who decided my photograph was ‘missing something’ and turned it into IC and tweeted it back to me.

To find out more about Engage for Successs, you can follow them on Twitter @engage4success and ImpresAperta @Impresaperta. The Engage for Success website is a wealth of knowledge for IC pros. It has research, reports, case studies, infographics, articles and more plus details of how you can get involved with the movement by attending practitioner events around the UK.

Further reading:
BlogTalkRadio – weekly radio show, Monday 4pm BST, on employee engagement. Includes a listen again feature
Engaging for success in the UK economy
My blog: How to engage for success
My blog: Milan social media week: Italy gets engaged
My blog:  Engaging workplaces for a sustainable future
My blog: The Sunday night blues

Post author: Rachel Miller.

Published 3 June 2013.

Updated 2023 to remove old links.

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