The future is in our hands

Connect’s Head of Client Services, Daniel Lambie, says internal communications needs to be more proactive if it’s to keep pace with an ever-changing landscape

I had the pleasure recently of helping pull together an event for IoIC Scotland, exploring the changing relationships between employers and employees.

It was a rewarding experience, working with some very talented and dedicated experts. The speakers represented a broad church, from the think tank IPPR Scotland to Scottish Power and Microsoft. Annabel Dunstan, author of The People Business, held it all together.

What was most fascinating was the consensus that over the last decade change has been phenomenal, and that for the next decade it is likely to accelerate faster still.

It has become a cliché that change is the only constant. But clichés are created from truths.

So how do we in our profession manage this?

What remains disappointingly apparent is that change is something that manages internal communications. How we flip that coin continues to represent our biggest challenge.

Wouldn’t it be great if internal communications (IC) became known as a function that instigated positive change? For the (almost) two decades I’ve worked in the profession, we’ve moaned about being regarded as a delivery mechanism. But too often in too many organisations we haven’t been able to change that.

Annabel made a great point. IC has lacked the credibility afforded to other functions, such as HR, IT or Marketing – because it fails to use data as its bedrock. Until we do this, we will lag behind.

We need to measure everything we do and clearly illustrate how our activity is making a positive, tangible impact on the delivery of strategy, the development of internal culture and the effectiveness of the organisations we represent.

We also need a forensic understanding of our audience and be able to confidently articulate this to have real influence at a board level.

As the demographic of our audience shifts, and the expectations they have with it, it is incumbent on IC professionals to be able to redesign the way we operate. Channels will come and go; we need to carefully manage this. The relationships emerging generations have with employers may be unrecognisable to what we understand now, let alone ten or 20 years ago. Again, it is up to us to understand this and shape our output accordingly.

The world has come a long way since I published my first internal magazine. Collectively we’ve been slow to react to this. Knowing the pace of change is only likely to increase should be our prompt to be more proactive. Our future success as a profession depends on it.

Contact Daniel on 0141 560 3040 or email daniel@connectcommunications.co.uk

Paul McGinnity
paul@connectmedia.cc