IC AROUND THE WORLD
Views on internal communication from
Communications Director at AES Kazakhstan
IC Around The World is a series of interviews with communication professionals from around the globe working in the field of internal communication.
They share their views on the practice of internal communication in their countries, and tell us who and what they are paying attention to in the world of IC.
How has internal communication developed in Kazakhstan in recent years?
The arrival of modern internal communication techniques and approaches was slightly delayed in Kazakhstan compared to Europe or North America, starting only in the mid-1990s when many multinational companies entered the country. Even nowadays, one can notice a difference between foreign and local companies in that respect.
Historically, the IC function in Kazakhstan sits within HR which led many people to believe that IC is an HR aspect of ‘keeping staff informed’ rather than a function of its own. However, over the past few years, the trend has been growing and people are grasping the idea of IC as an essential function.
What do you currently see as the greatest challenges for internal communication in your world?
I have mainly been working in large industrial companies, often with a few thousand people. Taking that into account, the main challenge, in my view, lies in getting the message across to each one of them. In Soviet times, for example, the most widely used tool was cascading from top to down. In shops, workers often don’t have personal emails so a targeted email message from CEO or survey wouldn’t work. Therefore you have to decide how to balance modern (i.e. enterprise social network) and old (printed newsletter) approaches to engage your colleagues. In addition, I believe it is important to shift it to ‘down to top’ to establish and sustain a relevant communication channel from employees to the management.
I have mainly been working in large industrial companies, often with a
few thousand people. Taking that into account, the main challenge,
in my view, lies in getting the message across to each one of them.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities for internal communication to make a difference in the next year or two?
To me the main opportunity lies in grasping the latest communication platforms, such as enterprise social networks.
What internal communication resources (websites, conferences, associations) do you make the most use of, other than IC Kollectif?
Since my role includes both internal and external comms, I mostly visit ‘general’ conferences rather than IC-focused ones. I enjoy reading IC Kollectif. Individual expert blogs as well as some specialized websites from Russia:
Inside PR - a long-established association of Russian-speaking internal comms experts
Internal comms group on Facebook.
Who are the international internal comms experts and personalities you pay attention to the most?
I read Mike Klein, Roger D'Aprix, Kevin Ruck.
If there was a piece of data that would make your bosses/clients take notice, what would it be?
I reckon it would be interesting to see more specialized data and best practices about IC in large industrial companies.
ABOUT Zair Kashek
I am currently working as Communications Director at AES Kazakhstan, where I am responsible for external/internal communications activities for 2 Hydro Power Plants (HPPs).
Some of my previous roles are: Head of Internal Communications at Beeline Kazakhstan (part of VimpelCom Group, now VEON), Corporate Communications Director at ArcelorMittal Kazakhstan and Communication Advisor at North Caspian Operating Company (the Kashagan Project).
Opinions reflected in this interview are my own and not the views of my employer.