Diary of an IC student – Stefan

What is it like to study internal communication? Read on to discover what Stefan Stojadinovic @stefStojadin who is an MA Public Relations student at the University of Westminster in London is experiencing at the moment and how he needs your help to be able to complete his studies.

Stefan (pictured) is a student representative and committee member of Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) International sector group and in charge of CIPR International’s social media channels. He got his BA (Hons) in Journalism in Belgrade, Serbia and is currently doing an internship in an IC department at a London based international company.

Over to you Stefan…

Internal communication dissertation – a challenge worth taking

StefanEntering the world of internal communication is as much interesting as it is challenging. I am not sure I would have made the decision to start doing a dissertation on internal communications if it hadn’t so happened that I started doing an internship in an IC department. It usually happens that the ‘snowball effect’ occurs when you are not expecting it. And as PR people, we are taught to expect the unexpected, and be prepared for it with a proper reaction.

What is so exciting about being in IC 24/7? The fact that the discoveries never end. You keep on learning, whether by doing and seeing, or by reading. You connect the dots and realise the link between practice and theory.

Even the all mighty Grunig (1992) concluded that we still have ‘little theoretical understanding’ of what IC brings to an organisation and how does it contribute to efficiency. Internal communications theory has improved significantly since (i.e. Ruck, Welch), but the opportunity (and a challenge as well) with internal communications is the fact that it craves for more research. There are many approaches you can take, many traps you can fall into as well.

Internal communications, employee voice and employee engagement

The importance of employee engagement has increased rapidly in the past decade, especially with the downfall of profitability of companies that came with the economic crisis. Research (Gallup Press 2011; Blessingwhite Research 2011; Rayton 2012 ) shows the lack of employee engagement in companies, as well as evidence clearly stating the fact that employee engagement leads to a more successful business. (You can read lots of information about employee engagement via my blog archives and Engage for Success– Rachel)

From a communications point of view, I decided to look into how the two-way communication factors in the efforts to drive more employee engagement. Is employee voice a whisper in the wind, or is it being used to its full advantage to take the business forward.

Thinking about the right angle to take, I decided that three questions that need to be answered relate to:

  • the use of IC tools
  • the integration of employee voice in the planning of IC programs
  • notion of employees in evaluation of efforts to increase employee engagement.

Lots of areas to explore. For example, is two-way communication that extra added factor that actually divides ‘men from boys’? Or, rather, divides employee engagement for the new age from the ‘maple syrup’ one-way information sharing that decorated the ‘companies of the past’? (Never heard it described as maple syrup before! – Rachel).

How you can help

Do you work in an IC department? Do you think your company prides itself in two-way communication, does employee voice take the business forward rather than holding it back? Or do you think one-way communication is more successful for your company?

I would highly appreciate the chance to take 30 minutes of your time and ‘pick your brain’ for some valuable IC insight. Drop me an email stefan.stojadinovic@my.westminster.ac.uk or please get in touch via Twitter @StefStojadin

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your perceptions of internal comms Stefan. What do you think about what he’s written? Do you agree with his views? Do contact him via Twitter or feel free to comment below.

Want to see your name here? I’ve published scores of guest articles over the years. Check out my guest article guidelines and get in touch if you have an idea or point of view you’d like to share, Rachel.

Further reading
Diary of an IC student – Jess Grant
Rolling out the red carpet for comms courses
Comms pros are qualified to celebrate
CEO: The Chief Engagement Officer review
Jenni Wheller blogs about the Internal Comms Diploma

Post author: Stefan Stojadinovic.

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