The following is part of our most recent publication released online, "IC in 2017 & 2018 FROM HOPE TO REALITY How Far We've Come | The Road Ahead." Looking back at their greatest hope for the IC profession in 2017 in terms of where the discipline should be, 21 communication professionals from different countries answer two questions: How far have we actually come in 2017? What remains to be done in 2018?
Priya Bates ABC, MC, CMP, IABC Fellow, President Inner Strength Communication Inc., shares her views on the progress made these past months, to what extent she believes her hope has translated into reality, and what remains to be done in 2018. To read the views of all contributors, download the free 42-page eBook here.
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 IT 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 are designed to help organizations encourage conversation and storytelling among their people. IC professionals need to learn about the solutions and understand how they can help increase awareness, engage employees, and measure results.
How far we've come. Next steps.
As I look back at 2017 and ahead to 2018, I’ve noticed a distinct shift in thinking about internal communication.
Leaders are asking me to help them use internal communication to influence manager communication, engage employees and enable change.
Progressive internal communication professionals that I have trained and presented to in Asia and North America are ready to have a different conversation, build relationships and create connections between organizational strategy and employee delivery.
I feel like we’ve moved from a number of lone wolves evangelizing the power of internal communication to the beginning of a movement in the right direction.
There’s still a gap. Leaders and communication professionals understand the opportunity, but they don’t know how to start, where they should focus or the questions they should ask. In Toronto we’re seeing many senior IC roles and not enough people with strategic internal communication expertise to fill them. Clients complain about investor relations and public relations specialists with little internal experience applying for these jobs.
There is an opportunity to train and coach these professionals on strategic internal communication and employee communication and what makes it different than broadcasting communication.
In 2018, I’d like communication professionals to reach out and ask for help and focus on professional development. More often than not, I’m talking to leaders who don’t believe their own in-house teams can deliver what they are looking for. I’d prefer to build inner strength. Own and embrace the change.
Click here to download the free 42-page eBook "IC in 2017 & 2018 FROM HOPE TO REALITY How Far We've Come | The Road Ahead."
Priya Bates ABC, MC, CMP, IABC Fellow, President Inner Strength Communication Inc.