2016 is drawing to a close, and what a year it’s been! We’ve seen unprecedented change with pundits and politicians completely misreading the mood of the people. From Brexit to the US Presidential election, the pollsters got it badly wrong
By Debbie Forrester
As internal communicators, it’s our job to make sure we correctly assess the mood of our audience, relate to that mood and engage with it.
And if we’re to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively we need to use all the tools we have at our disposal and invent a few more.
As 2017 dawns, we asked a few IC professionals what’s on their new year wish list.
“For 2017, I hope that ICs take a proportionate amount of time to reflect and embed current traditional methods of engaging with colleagues, as we do on thinking up new creative digital solutions. Strike the right balance for your organisation but keep in the back of your mind that ‘innovation’ is not always about something new and fancy… it can also be about looking at old things in a different, more effective way. Last but not least, we must keep asking the same perennial question over and over… was what we did and how we did it effective and did we move the dial?”
Gordon Dowall-Potter, Head of Internal Communication, Kier Group
“In a post-truth, ‘no experts’ era, our challenge is to help the right messages cut through the noise – internally and externally – that our employees will be hearing. That needs the right combination of curating and controlling the conversation. The challenge might have changed but the solution hasn’t – understand your employees’ needs, know where they prefer to get their information, and make sure you’re listening as much as you’re broadcasting.”
Kate Jones FIIC, IoIC Professional Practitioner, Interim Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Tarmac
For 2017, I hope that ICs take a proportionate amount of time, to reflect and embed current traditional methods of engaging with colleagues, as we do on thinking up new creative digital solutions
“I’m excited about 2017 as I’m starting to see a real shift in some of the communication challenges that have faced the industry for years. Communication is now a basic manager competency and skills such as storytelling are helping to cement an emotional connection with corporate messages. To take things to the next level, I’d love to see a greater use of behavioural change insights to help shape communication approaches both internally and externally. Everyone talks about the complexity of messages within organisations, and a big part of our job is to help bring focus and clarity, so if my Christmas cracker had a gizmo that turned a 40 page slide document into a sentence or two, I’d be pretty happy with that!”
Mairi Doyle, Director of Internal Communications, Corporate Affairs, Bupa
“I think the main challenges in 2017 for communicators will be 1) maximising budgets, 2) keeping up-to-date and 3) professional development. I’d love to see IC pros taking time to invest in themselves over the next 12 months. It doesn’t have to cost money, there’s nearly 1,000 free articles on my blog for example. The more you boost your knowledge, the easier you’ll find it to transform the way you work and improve your organisation.”
Rachel Miller, FCIPR, FIIC, PG (Dip), MPRCA, Founder of All Things IC consultancy