Dr. Kevin Ruck
In this piece, I will argue that it is not just social media networks that are changing the rules of practice.The game changer is the expectation that citizens and employees have to express their voice.
Internal communication has tended to be very one-way in the past, with a history steeped in publications that some employees saw as propaganda. However, this is now changing. In my discussions with hundreds of internal communication diploma students in recent years, the importance of two-way communication that embraces employee voice is now much more widely accepted.
As employees engage in a wide range of conversations on social media in their private lives, they are also seeking a more authentic dialogue with senior managers. The rules are now changing.The idea that practice is just about keeping employees informed isn’t enough anymore.
So, what is employee voice?
Employee voice is not a new concept. Indeed, some scholars argue that it can be traced back more than two hundred years to the industrial revolution. From the 1970s onwards, it started to be discussed in the context of trade unions and collective representation of employees, works councils and industrial democracy. More recently, employee voice2 was established as an enabler of employee engagement by the UK-based Engage for Success movement. They describe it as follows:
"Employee voice exists where the organisation has put mechanisms in place to enable it to have an ongoing conversation with its staff, in different ways, to ensure every voice is heard. Employee voice exists where everyone in the organisation feels they can have a say and that their voice is heard and listened to, and their views taken into account when decisions are being discussed that affect them."
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Disrupting the Function of IC - A Global Perspective.
This article is featured in the book Disrupting the Function of IC - A Global Perspective (pp. 182-186) in which 30 experts from around the globe share their advice and insights on the practice of internal communication, today, and tomorrow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Ruck is the editor and co-author of the text book Exploring Internal Communication. He established the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) internal communication
qualifications and he is the course leader for PR Academy’s delivery of the CIPR Internal Communication Diploma.
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