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?
Paul Barton, ABC, Principal Consultant of Paul Barton Communications, shares his views on the progress made these past months, to what extent he believes his 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.
My biggest hope for internal communication in the coming year is that we focus less on sending messages out and more on creating authentic dialogues with and between employees. Changes in the economy, the culture and technology demand we sharpen our focus. Now, more than ever, authenticity is critical to connecting the minds of an organization’s leaders with the hearts of its employees. We also need to enable and facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration between employees through enterprise social networks and other means. I believe great things will happen for organizations that embrace these opportunities in 2017.
How far we've come. Next steps.
Driven by internal and external influences, many organizations are gradually realizing the importance of authenticity in their communications. Many organizational leaders are more straightforward and taking steps to be more personable. Many see these steps as “risky” so they are tiptoeing into it. Other evidence of authenticity includes fewer staged photos and fewer slick corporate videos. Most organizations still have a long way to go, but many are moving in the right direction.
On the other hand, organizations are not embracing Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) and mobile apps as quickly as you might expect given the proliferation of social media in the external world. Many organizations already have invested a lot in other communication technologies. Many organizational leaders don’t see the value of ESNs and they fear governance issues as well. Meanwhile, most internal communication professionals don’t see the facilitation of collaboration through ESNs as being in their wheelhouse, and they too have invested heavily in policy development and funding of other communication channels.
The world has gone social and mobile, and that has made authenticity the coin of the realm. Organizations need to continue to embrace social and mobile technologies, and seek authentic dialogs with and between employees. Those that create authentic dialog with employees will gain a more engaged workforce and those that facilitate authentic dialog between employees will realize higher productivity. Organizations that do not move toward authentic communication will create an ever-widening credibility gap between leaders and employees that will threaten to undermine all communication efforts.
Just as all organizations ultimately embraced email and web technologies in the 1990s, the move to social, mobile and authenticity will eventually come to pass.
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."
Paul Barton, ABC
Principal Consultant of Paul Barton Communications