Luke Dodd from Melcrum gives his view on the state of our industry, challenges facing internal communication within an organization – and what communicators must do in order to meet the challenges.
1) What was your path to working in internal communications?
My background is predominantly in B2B journalism and, during my career, I’ve certainly worked on some interesting titles. Topics have ranged from travel and art, to edible oils, fats and tobacco; you name it, I’ve probably written about it in some way. However, I reached a point where I wanted to look for new challenges, and that led me to Melcrum. Never having dealt with Internal Communication, I joined in 2011 as Features Editor and was immediately fascinated by the industry and the players within it.
During these two years within the industry, I’ve learnt that a company’s most valuable asset isn’t products, processes or technology – it’s people. Internal Communication is the key to ensuring they feel connected and committed to achieving ground-breaking business results, creating competitive advantage for the business.
2) What are the skills you think an internal communicator needs to successfully implement an IC strategy?
Looking specifically at implementing an internal communication strategy, communicators need to align to business goals and aims. Is what you’re planning going to improve your business? If not, you should probably reconsider. You need to have a thorough understanding of your business and who your employees are. From there, everything should flow naturally.
Communicators have never had more to deal with. As a function, we seem to pick up responsibilities as we evolve without shedding any along the way. We plan events and produce editorial while, at the same time, we provide strategic advice to help reach business goals.
3) What’s the biggest challenge internal communicators face right now?
Leader and manager communication. In a world where digital technology can both help and hinder employee interactions, there’s an intrinsic need to address how to ensure excellence from our managers.
It’s important to note that when companies get manager communication right, it can be a source of competitive advantage. Those that get it wrong, on the other hand, will suffer the consequences; a negative interaction with a manager has five times the power of a positive interaction, indicating a significant downside to ineffective communications.
Our new study created solely for our Forum members, Innovation and Intervention in Manager Communication, looks at how smart companies are making a real difference to the business with creative approaches to leader and manager communication.
4) What will be the hot topic at next week’s Melcrum Summit (16,17 October)?
All of our speakers will be offering something unique in their presentations, but how to capture and communicate employee insight seems to be raising a lot of interest from our members at the moment. The ways we can tap into our employee’s thoughts and opinions are diversifying, through the emergence of Enterprise Social Network (ESN) conversations, social media and other technologies, so we need to figure out how to best use and communicate that data. Michael Silverman of Silverman Research will be discussing this type of employee research at the 12th annual Melcrum Summit, taking place on October 16th and 17th in London.
Luke Dodd is Features Editor at Melcrum. Melcrum is an organization that provides Internal Communication support to its global network of members through research, training, events and advisory services. You can follow them on Twitter.