Internal communication isn’t working. At least, the evidence suggests it isn’t making much of a difference where it really counts.
The UK is up with the best when it comes to investment in IC, says Headlines’ CEO Peter Doherty.
In the past decade, and on the back of helpful stuff like David MacLeod’s report and the development of the Engage for Success movement, we’ve seen IC teams getting larger, gaining greater influence at senior level – and projects and channels getting ever more innovative and adventurous.
But please take a look at our national KPIs.
And the 2016 CIPD Employee Outlook survey paints a sorry picture of the state of engagement in Britain, with a worrying drop in job satisfaction and an increase in the number of employees looking for a new job.
So against this backdrop what, exactly, has ten years of IC done for Britain?
Can anyone really demonstrate we are better off for having it? Where is the return on investment?
Protagonists could argue that the stats would be even worse without us. And that much of the malaise is beyond our control.
I think it’s a bit of both – but that there’s still much more we can do to make a difference.
We must open our minds to the aspirations of our audiences … because they are way ahead of us.
IC is, in part, about making people’s working lives easier: giving them the tools, ideas and information they need to do their job. To an extent we get that right.
But it is also about making those lives happier, more enjoyable, more worthwhile, more fun. That’s where we are missing the trick. And why they are demotivated, uninspired, unproductive and looking for other jobs.
My proposition is this: right now our audience is better equipped, more aspirational, more determined to succeed than ever before.
But with aspiration comes expectation. Expectation of freedom to network and collaborate, to have a voice – and an emotional stake in the community you choose to belong to.
Think of the audience as a tiger. It has vast energy and knows where it wants to go. But it is pacing, frustrated, in its cage.
There is so much we can do – and we have the tools to do it.
But it needs a fresh attitude from IC teams, and from the top.
IC can, and must, make a difference. But it needs to understand and trust its audience.
It must become brave, push the boundaries, and start acting as an inspirer and enabler for a vibrant community.
Get it right and we unleash the tiger. Don’t be afraid – we’ll measure our success where it matters: finding the holy grail of improved engagement and productivity.