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Climate change required for internal communication

Research that I’ve conducted with Sean Trainor at über engagement has found that internal communicators feel that they are being held back from work that would transform employee engagement.

The key findings suggest that internal communicators know that they hold the key to employee engagement but senior managers fail to see the benefits; only 24 per cent of practitioners believe that the board think communication is really important.

Internal communication practitioners say they spend most of their time on basic functional and operational communication. However, 81 per cent want to give more attention to employee research and feedback and 71 per cent want to spend more time on strengthening line manager and team communication – two important drivers for engagement.

The research reinforces anecdotal comments made by many CIPR Internal Communication Certificate and Diploma students. As one survey respondent said, “senior leaders have a very cavalier attitude to employees, they don’t trust them.” It is clear to me that internal communicators want – and need – to get in to the driving seat and leaders are doing themselves and their organisations a disservice by not encouraging more employee research and feedback.

With employee engagement levels stagnating in the UK at around 35 per cent, a quick way to tap into innovation and engagement through internal communication is staring senior managers in the face. However, I believe that practitioners have a responsibility too. They can’t always expect organisations to hand opportunities to them on a plate, they have to articulate the business case and demonstrate how the internal communication adds value to employee engagement and performance.

I will be presenting more details from the research at the CIPR Inside “Face the Change” Conference on 6 October and the full report will be available free of charge from the end of October. Register here for your copy.

The bigger question is why aren’t practitioners a bit more assertive, like their colleagues in HR or marketing, in pressing their case? What do you think?

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