Friday November 18, 2011
Our new Communicating for Engagement report, based on research conducted with uber engagement, reveals that internal communication practice has improved considerably in many organisations in the past five years. At the same time many practitioners are keen to improve it even more by focusing on communication that directly supports employee engagement, as set out by MacLeod and Clarke in the Engaging for Success report published in 2009.
However, there are two significant obstacles preventing continuing development in practice:
- Senior managers don’t always appreciate that internal communication, if practised strategically, will improve employee engagement
- Though keen in principle to develop practice, many internal communication practitioners are reluctant to push the boundaries.
As one focus group participant put it: “Internal communications practitioners are not brave enough”. Opening up internal communication to provide employees with more of a voice is going to be very challenging in some organisations. So, quite naturally, internal communicators sometimes back away from going down this path.
This is not to decry the critical importance of keeping employees informed through professional, timely, relevant communication which is what most internal communicators spend most of their time on. It’s just to say that on its own this is never going to shift employee engagement that much.
We’ll be talking to senior managers in 2012 to get their side of the story. In the meantime, how brave are we? How prepared are we, as an emerging profession, to move practice on to another, more strategic, level?