Some internal communicators would claim that the rapid adoption of new digital channels and platforms during the pandemic has enabled them to usher in a new transparency and authenticity in how leaders communicate with employees. But has it, really? The rise of the anonymous question in these online encounters has implications for ethical internal communications practice and consequences for organisational cultures everywhere.
We are being bombarded with rhetoric telling homeworkers that it is now time to get back to the office and ‘get back to work’. As we move into the next phase of the pandemic the gaslighting continues and does nothing to help organisations prepare for the safe return of some employees to their pre-pandemic workplaces. How can internal communicators neutralise the tangled messaging of an insidious gaslighting campaign designed to confuse and disorientate us?
We often think of ethical internal communication issues in the context of big events such as a crisis or exposure of organisational wrong doing. In fact, we encounter ethical issues every day in the routines of internal communication practice and tactics, including the ‘all staff’ email. If we are to really do the right thing for both employees and leaders we need to stop seeing these issues as an inconvenience to be ignored or overlooked, and as an ethical communication problem to be properly resolved.
What will it take to reassure and persuade employees to confidently emerge from lockdown and return to their usual workplaces as these begin to reopen? This is not just about messaging and tactics. Internal communicators must also maintain ethical practice against the backdrop of an emerging ‘gaslighting’ campaign which seeks to change our perceptions of the pandemic and its consequences.
There has recently been an explosion in the number of internal communication awards and it's starting to feel like the industry is overloaded with entry options. What is the reason for this increase, are some practitioners being excluded from participation and what value are all these awards adding to the profession?