As one of the three CIPR President-Elect candidates I was approached by communications director and co-founder of The IC Crowd Jenni Wheller to answer three questions on internal comms (IC). Here are the questions and my replies. My thanks to Jenni for the opportunity to share my views.
1. What do you think the role of internal comms is inside organisations today?
Internal comms (IC) is critical for two reasons: there’s an increasing expectation for organisations to be open and transparent; and organisations are striving to become social.
The shift to social organisations is a huge opportunity for IC. Figuring out how to move from command and control management, to a more open, networked organisation is a big job and requires a specialist skillset. It’s an issue that will continue to play out for IC over the next generation.
Although there is much being said about employee advocacy, the notion of employees as advocates won’t sit comfortably with me until the relationship between the organisation and employee is equitable. While this plays out however, the opportunity to use modern platforms such as Facebook at Work, Slack and Yammer as a means of engagement, is a huge opportunity for anyone working within this area.
2. Where do you think the CIPR can improve how it supports internal comms people?
Internal comms is an important public relations discipline and it rightly continues to grow in stature as understanding grows of what it can achieve. The CIPR has a powerful opportunity at its fingertips.
1) To enhance its own internal comms between HQ, board, council, groups and members, using the knowledge and expertise within its membership
2) To support the growing number of internal comms practitioners and better serve them with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed
3) To celebrate this expanding body of knowledge and practice
As President-Elect, I’d strive to make the CIPR a best practice model for how IC can transform organisations. I’d also look to help IC professionals communicate the value of their work to employers and demonstrate return on investment.
Finally I’d make this burgeoning area of the industry a key aspect of the 70th anniversary celebrations in 2018. It’s an important area of public relations and there are some excellent people within the membership pioneering the way.
3. With all your experience what is your key advice to those working in internal comms?
Internal comms practitioners have an incredibly exciting opportunity.
As the C-Suite looks to public relations professionals to make sense of the changing world around them and manage reputation, the value placed on practitioners is growing.
I’d urge all IC practitioners to focus on their continuous professional development (CPD). It’s critical to demonstrating your worth in organisational terms.
Finally, collaborate to share best practice (as already happens through fantastic initiatives like The Big Yak) and lobby your industry bodies for support in educating employers and the business community about the incredible work you do.