IC AROUND THE WORLD
Views on internal communication from
United Arab Emirates
Corporate Communications Manager, Arabian Pennisula
Procter & Gamble
IC Around The World is a series of interviews with communication professionals from around the globe working in the field of internal communication.
They share their views on the practice of internal communication in their countries, and tell us who and what they are paying attention to in the world of IC.
How has internal communication developed in your country in recent years?
There's a general understanding of the importance of internal communications and employee engagement among multinationals and larger organizations in the region. However, we're still years behind Europe and North America in fully realizing how strategic internal comms is to the well-being of an organization and employees. There aren't enough internal communications specialists, especially in Arabic, and often internal communications is stuck in limbo between HR, public relations, and executive communications.
What do you currently see as the greatest challenges for internal communication in your world?
We're going through so much change here, especially economically and structurally (think of low oil prices and job localization). Internal communications is essential to any organizational change, both in terms of alignment as well as motivation and productivity. Internal communications should be the biggest growth area for the communications industry in the region, both on the agency and client side, over the next two years.
Internal communications should be the biggest growth area for
the communications industry in the region,
both on the agency and client side, over the next two years.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities for internal communication to make a difference in the next year or two?
At its best, internal communications makes employees feel valued, motivated and part of the team. There's a high percentage of disengaged employees in the workplace in my region, partly due to a lack of communication and engagement, as well as a top-down hierarchical management structure practiced in the region. We have to do a better job of making management understand what internal communications is (IC isn't only CEO or GM announcements!), and start getting employees involved through sharing content that matters to them, giving them a voice, and using social media tools. There's lots of opportunity, and we just need to get the management on-board as well as develop local talent. That's not too big an ask, is it?
We have to do a better job of making management understand
what internal communications is (IC isn't only CEO or GM announcements!),
and start getting employees involved through sharing content
that matters to them, giving them a voice, and using social media tools.
What internal communication resources (websites, conferences, associations) do you make the most use of?
I've attended some great events recently. The one which most comes to mind is IABC's Eurocomm in London back in March, which had lots of presentations on internal comms by people I'd describe as global experts. I'm also a member of IABC, and I'd strongly recommend anyone who wants to improve their knowledge of internal communications to join an association such as IABC. And then there's IC Kollectif, which I love for the quality and breadth of the content that you share.
Who are the international internal comms experts and personalities you pay attention to the most?
I have a lot of respect for my colleagues in IABC, such as Mike Klein and Nikki Edwards (who I hope will be writing more on internal comms soon). I also follow Rachel Miller, who is a wonderful resource on internal comms. I've been reading Hilary Scarlett's work on change and psychology recently, which is a real eye opener. I also enjoy reading work from Kevin Ruck of the PR Academy.
Have you came across a piece of data - a study/report/research/case study/article - that proves your bosses/clients the value of IC investment generally, or to support a particular tactic or initiative?
Lots! I've been using the data points I saw most recently at the IABC Eurocomm event, especially on the issue of change communications. If you'd like presentations or data, please do drop me a line on Twitter at @alex_malouf and I'd be happy to share.
ABOUT Alex Malouf
Alex Malouf is a marketing communications executive who has spent the last 15 years in the Middle East and lived across the region, in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.
A journalist by training and with a cultural mix that is both European and Arabic, Malouf’s expertise spans communications and media, public relations and marketing for both multi-nationals in the energy, technology and FMCG space as well as several Gulf-based government institutions. His experience includes both internal and corporate communications, media relations and outreach, content development, crisis/ reputation management, and digital and social media.
Update - Alex Malouf is one of the co-authors of our recent eBook "Disrupting the Function of IC - A Global Perspective."