As we approach the end of the year, we reached out to a number of internal communication thought leaders to find out what their hopes are for the IC profession for 2017. Every day this week, we will publish a post to share some of the answers that we received.
We launch this first post with Cameron Craig, Rita Zonius, Stephen Welch and Priya Bates, who kindly accepted to answer our question.
« I’d like to see companies invest more in internal communications including opening requisitions for more senior level strategic positions. I also hope there will be a tighter integration between internal and external teams. »
Cameron Craig, Head of Global Corporate Communications, Polycom
« The unfettered flow of information, powered by new technologies and social media, continues to challenge the way we do our jobs. With the demand for timely and authentic communications on the rise, in the year ahead I’d love to see internal communicators put more energy into “keeping communications real”. This means shifting our focus from the traditional role we inhabited as communications gatekeepers for our leaders, to instead coaching them to be their genuine selves through engaging communication and conversation. This includes helping leaders understand being social is not an optional extra today - or something to be delegated to internal communications - but a critical general management skill. »
Rita Zonius, Head of Internal Digital Communications, ANZ
« My biggest hope for the profession is that we move from press officer to brand consultants or ad agencies. Internal Communication professionals should become more coaches and strategic advisers to senior management, not people who actually “do” communication. Every time an internal communications person actually ‘does’ a communication, a leader somewhere is not doing his or her job. My hope is that IC profession starts to realise that output is not a measure of success. No advertising agency measures their success in terms of numbers of ads bought. Instead they win prizes for quality, originality, and influencing consumer behaviour. The sooner IC acts more like an ad agency or brand consultant for leaders and less like a press officer for them, the better. So long as I get to be Richard Whitman. »
Stephen Welch, Communication, HR and change consultant
« For 2017, I hope that internal communication (IC) professionals embrace their integral role in delivering business results from the inside out. I’ve always said that our greatest opportunity is not to communicate on behalf of our organizations, but INFLUENCE how our organizations, their leaders, their managers and their people communicate.
In 2017, successful IC professionals will be defined by their ability to let go of the tactics they enjoy delivering; and instead focus on aligning strategic communication plans that contribute directly to goals. I hope that IC professionals find the courage to change the conversation, ask more questions, and measure results.
I’d also like them take a lead on new technologies aimed at internal audiences. We’ve heard too many stories of failed internal social networking due to I.T. simply turning on a switch versus integrating and launching technology as part of a business solution. I’ve been amazed at how many start-ups and technology companies are starting to turn their focus internally this past year. Great solutions now exist for employee apps; recognition and rewards; engagement and ideation; manager communication; and culture creation. All of them designed to help organizations encourage conversation and story-telling among their people. IC professionals need to learn about the solutions and understand how they can help increase awareness, engage employees, and measure results. »
Priya Bates, Inner Strength Communication Inc.
This is the first post of a series of 5:
Part 2 - IC experts on the profession of IC
Part 3 - Hopes for IC in the new year
Part 4 - Wishes for the profession of IC
Part 5 - What IC needs in 2017