The impact of internal comms in 2012

So this is Christmas, and what you have you done? I’m not going to get any more of the John Lennon song in your head as there are enough festive songs around at the moment to last us a lifetime… Grab a cuppa and join me on a short journey through what impacted the world of internal communication (IC) this year. (You’ll be pleased to know I considered and rejected a title for this piece referencing That Book with the colour grey in the title. You know the one I mean).

My main thought from 2012 is that it has been yet another great year to be an internal communicator. I think as a profession we’ve started to get noisier, which is no bad thing. I joined the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Inside Committee this year, which is looking to shape the future of internal communications. The group has been hard at work under the chairmanship of Kevin Ruck, including the Internal Comms conference I spoke at in November, Ask a Guru events and producing a measurement matrix. On 8 January it is holding career path workshops; do get involved and have your say, and sign up for the webinar on 10 January.

This year we saw many new developments in internal communications including the acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft, an increase in the number of webinars available for IC pros, and public sector communications professionals sharing content, resources and ideas with each other. Examples of these include the Government Communication Network and Comms2point0. If I had to sum 2012 up as a short phrase, it’s certainly been the year of sharing and collaboration, particularly among IC pros.

Being based in London, no overview of the year would be complete without at least a mini mention of the London 2012 Olympics. They brought with them swathes of excited employees, strict rules on branding and a huge purple army of Games Makers who exemplify happy employees at their finest.

It has also been a year of doing more with less – budget, time and resources. The expectation on internal communications professionals to deliver has never been higher. As comms qualifications have continued to rise in prominence, IC pros have been called upon to devise stunning strategies, terrific tactics and encourage exemplary engagement.

Take a seat
There are lots of people around who are committed to and passionate about IC, I met many at The IC Crowd event last week, and my hope for 2013 is that IC pros not only have ‘their place at the table’, but are involved in the decision making process about purchasing the table in the first place. If you’re not actively involved in discussions within your company and feel you should be, I challenge you to think through why that is.

I know how frustrating it is. My solution? If you believe people in your organisation should be talking with each other, then you call the meeting. You gather the crowd of people who need to communicate, and work with and alongside them as a trusted business adviser. They expect you to contribute when it comes to comms, but ensure you demonstrate that you truly understand your company and can add value to the broader business conversation too. This does wonders to help manage your reputation so you are not viewed as the note taker – I know that will resonate with many of you. If that’s the reality of your workplace, I encourage you to think through how you can make 2013 different for you and your IC team and those you mentor.

The launch of the employee engagement evidence by Engage for Success (the task force following the MacLeod report) a few months ago and the reources that continue to fill the Engage for Success website are worth familiarising yourself with. You can follow them on Twitter @engage4success.

It’s certainly been a year of research and surveys, I’ve seen more internal comms data this year than ever before. They provide a glimpse into our profession and enable you to benchmark. Some of the surveys I recommend reading, if you’ve not seen already, from this year are:

Awards continued to play their part in internal communications. Congratulations again to the winners of the first ever IoIC Top 30 under 30 and the newly launched CIPR Inside awards for internal communications (there are only a few days left to get your entry in for these).

I’ve been on maternity leave for most of this year and have spent time teaching myself new things, you can read an overview here in the form of a guest article I wrote for The HR Juggler blog. However two new technology developments I’ve been using are Animoto and Storify. I’ve enjoyed using them to create my own videos and also to capture tweets and content from events as they happen. What have you enjoyed using this year? I’ve also got to grips with Pinterest and you can see my internal comms and social media boards on there (plus some personal ones too).

2013 will bring a fresh set of speaking engagements for me and I’m looking forward to meeting the current Kingston University Internal Communications Management postgraduate students when I lead a session on social media in the Spring. I’ll also be speaking at the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) Central group event on ‘coping with the digital evolution’ in March and have a few more that are not finalised yet, but I’ll share via my speaking page when they are.

Share This Too
, the follow-up to the best-selling Share This book is due out next Summer, published by Wiley, and I’ve just submitted my chapter on social in corporate communications. You can find lists of books I recommend reading on my Rachel’s Resources page, so if you’re determined to make 2013 the year you read more about comms, do take a look. Have I missed a comms publication you like? I’m always on the lookout to keep that page updated, so do let me know your suggestions for books that you think should be included.

What do I think will be big in 2013? I’ll be revealing those on SimplyTV on 11 January, so I won’t spoil the surprise. Sign up now to tune in for free.

Over to you
I decided to ask ‘what had the biggest impact on you this year in the world of internal communication or within your organisation’s comms efforts?’ via Twitter, so instead of simply featuring my thoughts from 2012, I thought I’d include yours. You’re welcome to comment below to add yours too. Thank you to everyone who responded:

@AbuDarby: Biggest impact 1 – Arab Spring. How important is work when significant % of employees so worried about family safety abroad

@AbuDarby: Biggest impact 2 – when BlackBerry crashed. Days of no comms outside of office hours = very happy employees #simplepleasures

@kes1981: social media, but not in the office I have much better access to other comms professionals and learn about their experiences

@gypsynits: Google Plus did. Circles really opened up a new way to  communicate. Especially brand pages cut email noise

@AniMangaJK: My new intranet Holmes and the way it has revolutionised the way we work in a short space of time

@Jenniwheller: For me in my business? NewCEO, new COO, new CFO and an annual conference, oh and a crisis! In the wider world, CIPRInside!

@dougshaw1 I enjoyed the stuff I facilitated at the IoIC conference in the summer – an engaging bright crowd (you can read what happened at that event – Rachel)

@OD_optimist: Yammer: Accelerated information sharing, involved people, created discussions. Geographically dispersed part-timers – we’re experimenting. Things that wouldn’t have happened easily or at the right time.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to my blog this year in the form of feedback, comments, guest articles and for sharing my content among your network. The word cloud on this page was generated from the most common words on my website. My ‘what IC pros do‘ meme from February this year still gets viewed daily!

Going global
From January, I will be writing a regular social media for internal communication column on Neal Schaffer‘s excellent Windmill Networking website. I am thrilled that he has asked me as Neal, who is one of the Forbes Top 50 social media power influencers, is one of my social media heroes. Hat tip to my Canadian friend and fellow Windmill Networking blogger Judy Gombita for making the connections. I’m looking forward to expanding my global network further and sharing thoughts and ideas with his readers and vice versa.

I wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and New Year and I look forward to communicating with you more in 2013, Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller

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