After a turbulent flight and three train swaps in peak hour London morning public transport traffic, I arrived at exCel London anxious and excited to engage with communicators from across the globe. They, like me, had gathered to celebrate smarter internal communication and find guidance, through best practice examples, as to how we can differentiate internal communication in a continually cluttered world.
From IC specialists communicating for satellite operating companies, to learnings from the Head of internal communication for Heineken, the IC paradigms of our environment were shared and discussed. As much as the indication is that IC specialists are evolving evermore into IC generalists (in order to remain relevant), the expertise and areas of specialisation in the learnings shared was obvious.
There is undoubtedly a need to constantly question and pressure test IC. In fact, there is an argument that much like external corporate and marketing communication, there should be external, rather than internal measures for IC. Across the IC community, there is a strong call for IC to have the courage to change.
But to what extent should IC change in our ever changing world? To help it, IC needs a clear strategy as a function. Agility and flexibility are definitely the IC watch words defining this evolution and there is a need for IC to facilitate organisations in protecting their brand internally, as much as it is protected externally.
The role of IC is to assist organisations, to influence their employees and in so doing, help drive behaviour change. You cannot get to the unconscious drivers of behaviour through conscious questions. Ultimately, it is not the mind of the person that is most important from a communication perspective, but their mindset. So, if these questions underpin communication based engagements across the globe, then as much as IC specialists are communication experts, are they not also behavioural experts, seeking out opportunities to engage with employees in their ‘natural’ environments?
The role of the internal communicator is to connect employees, to nudge them and engage them based on their specific moments of truth. The need for agility and flexibility is obvious, essential and critical for the future of internal communications. We are inevitably communication curators, not content creators.