For this forth post of our series of 5, we asked Lee Smith, Sean Williams, Jane Revell, Alan Oram, Shel Holtz and Katie Macaulay to share their wishes for the profession of Internal Communication in 2017.
"My biggest hope for the IC world is that we finally learn to embrace measurement and evaluation. We have seen a slight improvement in recent years – the number of practitioners conducting some form of measurement has increased a little since we first started our annual State of the Sector review of the IC space nine years ago, but the approach remains fairly unsophisticated for most and non-existent for many. Without measurement, we are working in the dark professionally – unable to demonstrate our true value and blind to the effectiveness or not of what we do."
Lee Smith, Owner/co-founder & Director Gatehouse
"My hope for the coming year is that we will continue our progress of unifying our IC practice as a strategic function of our organizations. That means both improving our execution (we have to be outstanding at the tactics; that's "table stakes") and embracing our roles as the communication experts of our organizations. The strategic value of outstanding IC lies in these two actions. If we do one and not the other, we risk being seen as a "warm-fuzzy" for employees, rather than an essential asset that helps the organization attain business objectives."
Sean Williams, M.A., Owner, Communication AMMO, Inc.
"My biggest hope for our profession is that internal communications continues to become a more valued strategic management discipline. I'd like to see our excellent IC professionals recognised for the critical role they play in helping businesses achieve their goals. As part of this, as a profession, we need to work with leaders more strategically, using evidence and measurement to plan more engaging and involving two-way communications to meet the needs and wishes of our people. Here’s to 2017!"
Jane Revell, Strategic communications consultant, Jane Revell Communications
"I hope that the profession continues to earn respect from all corners the organisations that it operates in and beyond. And while building trusted relationships at the very top we don’t lose the flair and creativity that makes the profession so special. I feel that IC comes in many different shapes and forms and we often talk about what the role of the profession is. I think this is a positive discussion and it needs to continue but I hope that collectively we find our sweet spot."
Alan Oram, Founder and creative director of Alive with Ideas
"In 2016 we have seen more internal communication departments disabanded or absorbed into other departments (such as marketing or corporate communications). My hope for 2017 is that internal communicators expand their thinking about the department's role. The employee communications departments that are being eliminated are those that continue to see themselves as a conduit of news and information to employees. This role evolved when employees had limited access to other news and information sources. Today they have instant access to everything from the company website (including media and investor relations content) to Glassdoor.com. If all we do is share news and information, we are redundant. To thrive, internal communications must become a vital management function that is reaches across all departments and functions to improve the flow of all of the company's internal communications. We must be able to measurably improve the employee experience, build employee engagement, influence the culture, and ultimately affect the customer experience.
We need to be the drivers of employee advocacy while steering the organization through times of crisis and change. We must be able to monitor employee conversation to identify opportunities and risks, help mold the employer brand, and employ all of the right channels for multi-lateral communication (which includes driving adoptino of new channels that may not be traditional but will grease the wheels of effective internal communication).
In short, if all we do is publish email newsletters and intranet content, internal communications is toast. If, on the other hand, we are the drivers of communication between and among employees at all levels, measuring the impact on the business, we will be indispensable."
Shel Holtz, Principal, Holtz Communication + Technology
"Communication in the workplace has come along way since the birth of the industrial revolution. Now we know communication should not merely instruct and inform. It should inspire, embolden and energise. What we do is no longer a side-of-desk activity, but a recognised and valued profession. I hope the year ahead is marked by bravery. Let’s tell the best stories, spark the most interesting conversations and turn employees from passive recipients of a message into fans and followers. Let’s create a workforce of active subscribers – people who, given the option, would choose our content over others. Sure, we don’t have mega budgets or massive teams. But these limitations just require greater imagination. We work in interesting times. 2017 is the year to be bold and give convention the elbow."
Katie Macaulay, Managing Director, AB
This is the forth post of a series of 5:
Part 1 - What we hope for IC in 2017
Part 2 - IC experts on the profession of IC
Part 3 - Hopes for IC in the new year
Part 5 - What IC needs in 2017