This year’s Melcrum Summit was themed around how to compete in this changing world of business by re-engineering IC for agility, productivity and impact. The conference has achieved this.

Day two kicked off with a case study by Marks & Spencer showcasing how they drive engagement through their sustainability programme. What stood out for me, and supports a common theme across the conference, is the way in which the programme integrates communication across all audiences – employees, clients, suppliers, etc.

The case study also highlighted the importance of social capital and the expectation employees have for companies to contribute to a better world, as a key driver to engagement in the value driven experience of the future (which futurist, Kjaer, discussed on the first day of the conference).

Royal Bank of Scotland shared how they established a centre of excellence to improve communication and marketing as a function in the business. They highlighted that IC’s role has evolved to becoming a networker and partner in the organisation. IC is the great connector. By refocusing and building capabilities in comms and marketing, they have opened channels of communication that support dialogue, improve engagement and have created a clear line if sight between employees and strategy.

It’s clear the IC function is changing – another common theme. As communicators we need to move from just being an implementer to being a trusted advisor who helps shape strategy. As Sygenta, a global agri business across 90 countries, demonstrated, it is possible for IC to be an integrated function that partners with leaders to drive change, connects employees’ contribution to strategy, develop communication as a core leadership capability, shape the culture, drive integrated ways of working and build the brand.

At Sygenta, the way they have repositioned IC prepares for a future, where internal and external will be synonymous, where controlled comms moves to open collaborative discussion, where IC will be from all to all, where leaders who can’t communicate effectively won’t be leaders and where IC will partner with senior leaders on internal and external comms.

Zuhlke, Chief Knowledge Officer, Jorg Dirbach, shared how the company has used Yammer to make knowledge management social. By integrating knowledge and information exchange, they’ve created a platform for enterprise collaboration.

An interesting discussion about engagement highlighted that collaboration is dependent on having the right tools and technology combined with cultural readiness.

During an interactive session, it was again clear communicators from across the world have the same challenges – lack of clear strategic narrative as a barrier to implementing a comms strategy, the usual budget and resource constraints and again the issue of developing the right mix of skills within IC as a profession.

Finally, a compelling presentation by RSA, one of the major insurance groups in Europe, focused on engagement and how they moved the organisation from being disengaged to the most engaged insurance company globally according to Gallup. They did this by implementing an engagement strategy that ticked the following 8 steps to engagement “heaven”:

  • Board level advocacy: sell ideas to leaders by supporting opinion with data.
  • Hold leaders accountable
  • Bottle and share best practice: regular idea exchange
  • Celebrate the best
  • Support low: scoring leaders
  • Fix big issues
  • Emotional connection: don’t make people feel like they’re going through a process
  • Alignment (between strategy and internal and external)

The Melcrum Summit has provided a lot of food for thought and a comment that has stuck with me is that the biggest barrier to change and innovation is that we don’t take time to THINK. This conference provided the platform for thinking sharing and discussion. I look forward to bringing back these learnings to our clients and sharing more about how we can shift communication to compete on the curve and make it more agile, outcomes-based and impactful.

From London
Ilona
IcandiCQ communication strategist