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Predictions for 2011

In 2010, the CIPR internal Communication Diploma was launched and more than 70 students embarked on the new masters level qualification. This is the only internal communication qualification provided by a Chartered body in the UK and represents the growing appreciation of the strategic nature of the function. Qualifications are vital for the profession to become more credible and respected as having a strong, research-based, underpinning. I expect to see more internal communication in standard MBAs and the first dedicated MSc in Internal Communication to be with us within the next three years.

Although some practitioners do not see internal communication as related to public relations, this is based on a misunderstanding of the broad role that public relations plays in organisations that goes far beyond media relations. One of my predictions for 2011 is that that internal communication will overtake media relations in importance. This is because of the fragmentation of external media and the fundamental role that internal communication plays in raising levels of employee engagement and thus service delivery.

My first prediction is that internal communication will finally come of age in 2011 as leaders come under more intense pressure to maintain or improve employee engagement. However, this will only happen if internal communicators adopt a broader strategic mindset that balances the dominant one-way “informational” approach with dialogue that places much more value on employee voice.

I’ve not included a specific prediction about social media. This will undoubtedly continue to make an impact. However, it will be patchy. The technology will become easier to implement but the battle about how to use it will become more protracted.

My five predictions are:

1.       Internal communication, linked inextricably to employee engagement, will be seen as the number one challenge for leaders.

2.       Internal communication as part of a broad public relations discipline will overtake media relations in importance.

3.       The reputation of many major brands, utilities and public sector organisations will be found wanting as the economic pressures build and employees are still seen as “resources” rather than people.

4.       Change management will continue to fail as project managers struggle to know how to integrate internal communication into plans.

5.       Many more leaders will recognise that sound strategic advice is as important as writing skills.

As we go into 2011, my own research will focus on an exploration of the “dark side” of internal communication – the accusation from some quarters that it is merely organisational propaganda that serves the interests of senior managers over employees. I will start from the perspective that most organisations provide objective information and allow some opportunities for dialogue, but often not enough. It will be interesting to see where the research goes – a code of conduct perhaps?

6 comments

  • January 10, 2011 5:05 amPosted 6 years ago
    Aniisu

    Hello,

    I chanced upon your post on internal communication predictions and liked it.

    I wanted to share a recent blog on a similar topic.

    http://intraskope.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/internal-communication-trends-for-2011/

    I am currently based in India and lead internal communication for a global services firm in this geo.

    Look forward to your comments.

    Regards,

    Aniisu

    Reply
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      February 4, 2011 6:58 pmPosted 6 years ago
      Kevin Ruck

      Hi Aniisu,

      Firstly, apologies for the late response to your post, I’ve been away on a holiday in Norway.

      It’s great to get an insight into internal communicaiton in India and my initial thoughts from reading your blog are that we are thinking much the same way about the profession. I particularly like the suggestion about the development of internal communicators as thought leaders.

      When it comes to employer branding, an organisation has to attract the right people but I think its the core brand that is often what really attracts people. This is why authenticity in all communication is so important. It is also vital that the enthusiasm that new employees have is reinforced through the right approach to communication at the outset, but that should be part of business as usual communication, not something that is “extra”.

      When it comes to internal communicators and marketing, I agree the boundaries are blurring for some, however, there is a very clear difference between marcomms aimed at customers and internal communication with employees. I’m not so sure that marketing tricks are ever right for employees – they will see through them straight away and this undermines the credibillity of internal communication.

      Best wishes.

      Kevin

      Reply
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    January 17, 2011 3:34 pmPosted 6 years ago
    Samila

    Good article. I am in complete agreement with this. Especially the point on project management and integrating Int.comms/and external as well – to be fair. Experience leads me to believe that the ad hoc nature of implementing comms by PMs will be incredibly detrimental given lack of strategic coordination and message management.

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      February 4, 2011 7:00 pmPosted 6 years ago
      Kevin Ruck

      Hi Samila,

      It’s the ad-hoc way that some project management treats communication that often leads to poor outcomes.

      Communication is actually a “hard” skill not a so-called “soft” skill that should be planned as carefully as all other “hard” skill tasks.

      Best wishes.

      Kevin

      Reply
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    February 5, 2011 6:31 pmPosted 6 years ago
    Samila

    Kevin. Agreed.

    Reply

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