It’s surprising what some people working in the internal communications profession, and organisational stakeholders, think we should have responsibility for. We should be careful what we claim ownership of, willingly or through coercion.
When you are presented with a task or challenge of elephantine proportions, that at first seems insurmountable, how can you tackle it and what lessons can be learnt from the experience?
Scepticism is sometimes perceived as a negative mindset and is often confused with cynicism, but these two philosophical perspectives are quite different. Applying your inner sceptic to everyday internal communication and PR practice has the potential to deliver more effective and ethical outcomes.
What should the priorities for internal communicators really be in 2022? They should not be the point issues which routinely appear in the annual predictions for the profession. It’s time for us to take a step back and get back to basics, or to discover the basics if we don’t know what they are.
There are many ‘single points of failure’ in internal communication practice, which have the potential to stop us in our tracks and render what we do ineffective. Leaders can be one of them, but properly defining and understanding a SPOF in internal communication is the key to overcoming it.
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.
There have never been more ways to listen to employees. Industrialising the practice of listening to employee voice and feedback is now easy, but it is another thing entirely to properly operationalise it and act on it. Organisations can’t claim to be properly listening to employees until both of these things are in place. Until they are, internal communicators and the leadership teams we serve will remain tone deaf.
We need to develop a better internal communications ecosystem to support our profession. An ecosystem where there is a symbiosis, co-existence and more co-operation between all the actors in it, and a little less commercial competition, so we can properly harness the power of our collective.
There are lots of gaps that are barriers to ‘getting on’ in internal communication. The practice vs. theory gap, the career expectations and reality gap, the geographical opportunity gap, and perhaps the biggest, the gap between professional frameworks and recruitment. Mind the gap.
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.