In many organisations, internal communication is now regarded as an essential element of business strategy.
It’s increasingly recognised that engaging employees with an organisation’s vision and employer brand is one of the keys to long-term success.
But this wasn’t always the case.
Anton Nebbe joined the world of IC more than 12 years ago and has seen it develop first-hand.
“The notion of employee engagement wasn’t as embedded and well noted as it is now,” he said.
“Even as recently as the early noughties, in many organisations, internal comms professionals were mainly seen as copywriters, whether it was for a magazine or the intranet – if the company was lucky enough to have an intranet.
“Internal comms wasn’t seen to have the strategic value that it does now, and more and more, organisations are acknowledging the importance of robust employee engagement when determining their medium and long-term strategies.”
The increase of senior-level buy-in of internal comms is undeniably linked with the rise of research into the importance of employee engagement.
The topic has been covered in great depth in recent years – particularly since the mid-noughties – and perhaps most notably in The Evidence report from Engage for Success.
The document revealed companies within the top quartile of engagement scores had 18 per cent higher productivity, twice the annual net profit and 12 per cent more satisfied customers than those in the bottom quartile.
Worryingly, the report found only a third of UK employees were actively engaged at work and 64 per cent of people said they had more to offer in skills and talent than asked to demonstrate.
Anton believes such findings have led to a positive reaction across UK workforces.
Increasing numbers of organisations understand the correlation between engaged colleagues and business performance and the role of good IC in driving this.
His thoughts are backed up by a recent survey conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute
After analysing employee engagement in 40 countries over the past five years, the report found that employee engagement is improving on a global level.
Most countries had experienced a rise in trust levels in recent years, with UK employers showing a gradual rise, scoring +6 on its Trust Index.
Anton added: “We’re well on the way towards every organisation realising the benefits that strong internal comms can bring – a well informed colleague is generally a motivated and better-performing one.
“Looking ahead, internal comms will certainly be a fundamental part of an organisation’s strategic thinking.
“Aspirationally, speaking on behalf of IC professionals, we want to become a strategic and trusted advisor to our colleagues – and I think we’re heading in that direction.”
• Anton Nebbe’s book The Communicator’s Guide to Effective Project Planning – is available out now, priced £14.99. To purchase a copy, click on the link below…