Blog

By Piers Nutbrown, Internal Communications Channel Manager at Collinson Whatever the finer details of the future of internal communications, the shift to the employee is enduring and the onus is on us to hold their attention. In his 1888 book Glimpses of the Future (Suggestions as to the Drift of Things), David Goodman Croly supposed that one day, novels “…would all be reproduced pictorially” so “the reader’s conception of the characters would necessarily be much more vivid”. Good comms practice in any day and age. Croly’s hunches – he also envisaged the audio book and some notable geopolitical trends – have proved more prescient than other hot tips taxidermied in time. Back to the Future had hoverboards. Your grandparents had the football pools. Nostradamus, maligned for his ambiguity, at least stuck his neck out in predicting the whole world would end. And Donald Fagen, in his song IGY, recalled the pioneers who, flush...

By Daniel Schraibman, Change and Engagement Consultant I taught a module on reputation management at the University of Leeds a year or so ago and one of the definitions of reputation management that I used was by Doorley and Garcia. They said: Reputation = Sum of images = Performance + Behaviour + Communications. As I reflected on my own career, it struck me that producing communications ‘stuff’ is becoming a smaller and smaller part of the role of being a communicator and that we deliver a lot of other value for the organisations and leaders that we work for. Here’s a few obvious and less obvious examples: Build better organisations The good news is that in most companies, the communications function is no longer just an order taker, but truly has an impact on the success of the organisation. For instance, in my last-in-house role, I was a member of the leadership team and...

By Sam Knowles, Founder & MD of storytelling consultancy, Insight Agents Here’s a paradox of communications. Otherwise eloquent folks often adopt the most curious dialect when they’re thrust into the spotlight and asked to explain why they do what they do. The invitation to tell your story ought to usher in a moment of clarity and elegant simplicity. And yet all too frequently, we fluff our lines and plump up the pomposity, belching forth ugly lumps of language that are neither coherent nor informative. Most importantly, we don’t even talk Human. Yet oddly enough, humans respond well to that all-too-rare dialect of Human. Nerves and a lack of deliberative rehearsal can take some of the blame. And even though we may spend a lot of time thinking about our purpose and our role – in our team, our company, our society – we don’t often say and live it out loud. Completing...

By Dominic Wylie, Senior Communication Consultant, like minds Building a bespoke employee value proposition to retain and attract talent, nurture brand values and enhance overall company performance has never been more important. In today’s businesses, the employee value proposition is a critically important piece of cultural infrastructure: get it right, and you could help overcome the current recruitment and employee engagement challenges. Get it wrong, and you could face a disengaged workforce and a productivity problem. The fact is, many organisations fail to pay sufficient attention to their EVP and the employer brand that it underpins. It may be that their EVP was developed some years ago and is no longer authentic. Organisations and their markets evolve – structures, systems and job expectations change, while merged or acquired organisations alter the culture and teams within them. Or it may just be that there has always been a disconnect between the promoted offering and the...

By Charlotte Butler, Managing Director, Altogether Different True story A couple of years ago I heard a tale of bias so stark, so unbelievable, it almost made me spit my tea across the room with laughter. The story goes like this. The year was 2016, an accountancy firm sent their client, a team at a bank, a thank you present at the end of the year. The men received blue boxes, the women, pink. Each pink box revealed a bottle of wine and those women who drank wine were delighted. But wait! What had been sent to each of the men? That’s right – three bottles of wine! The gender pay gap played out in seasonal gift booze. A clerical error was suspected, but further investigation revealed that no, this was the intended gift. The thinking? ‘Men drink more than women’. An awkward afternoon in the bank ensued. A comedic example, but...

By Belinda Gannaway, Strategy Director, Fathom XP If there’s one place to dance, it’s Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City. The music, the moonlight, the people. It’s pure bucket list. Sadly, not for me. Because I can’t dance – not really dance. So I didn’t. I sat it out and laid down a different memory. A memory of stopping myself doing something. Why? Ego. The protective cloak Dr Herbert Schofield from Loughborough University describes ego as the anaesthetic that nature gives us to deaden the pain of being a fool. I like this. But it doesn’t capture the self-limiting aspect of ego. For that I prefer the definition I’ve borrowed from our partner Hazel Lowndes at Ginger Dog. She describes ego as a protective cloak we wear in public so people don’t see the real, always-learning, never-perfect version of ourselves. Back in Mexico I wore this protective cloak to ensure I didn’t expose my incompetence to the world. It serves...

By Ezri Carlebach, communications consultant, writer and lecturer. Member of the PR and Communications Council. Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communication and the Royal Society of Arts.  As we approach the third decade of the third millennium, there seems to be a powerful narrative informing the zeitgeist (“an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch” says Wikipedia). That narrative is all about the future. In a nutshell, it’s telling us that somehow, 'the future is already here'. There are plenty of variations on that theme, from 'the future has arrived' and 'tomorrow is today' to the suggestion that the future is hurtling towards us at great speed. It all contributes to a feeling of temporal dislocation. What happened to the present, if we're already living in the future? Maybe it's a case of understandable exaggeration, given that we're fed a constant stream of stories about futuristic-sounding technologies — artificial intelligence, virtual...

By Steve Marinker, Head of Corporate,  Powerscourt, an independent strategic communications consultancy No one understands us If there is one plaintive cry I have heard from clients more than any other, it’s that that their organisations are not properly understood. Time and again I hear the frustration. If only our business model was better understood; if only commentators acknowledged the complexities of our operating environment; if only the quality of our people was properly appreciated; if only our scale advantages were better known … then the world would be a better place. When I’m asked to crystallise what it is that PR people do, I no longer talk about communications or managing perceptions or stakeholder engagement, or any of those good things. Because increasingly I see these as tactics which serve a higher purpose, which is to improve understanding. Certainly, that’s how we talk about Powerscourt now – we exist to help our clients be better...

by Steve Marinker, Head of Corporate at Powerscourt Five tips for getting it right The deadline for submitting Gender Pay Gap data is just four weeks away, but according to the Financial Times only one in six companies had uploaded its data to the Government portal by last weekend, meaning there is likely to be an almighty last-minute scramble. Plans for communicating Gender Pay Gap data are likely to be well advanced, but Powerscourt has prepared this short primer to help businesses fine tune, or at least sense-check, their thinking. 1. Gender Balance The revelation that female BBC news presenters are paid less than their male counterparts has routinely, but wrongly, been described as an example of the Gender Pay Gap. Most companies that have reported so far have been at pains to point out that the Gender Pay Gap has nothing to do with equal pay, but that hasn’t stopped the two terms being conflated. By...

Vicki featured in The Communications Agency's 'Who's Who Wednesday' article in November: a weekly profile about who's who in internal communication. Here is a taster: Tell us a bit about your role: I’m one of the four partners at Comms Leaders. We’re a specialist recruiter for the corporate communications industry. We connect exceptional talent with our clients the old fashioned way, through building relationships. What’s on your internal comms agenda right now? I’ll answer this from the point of view of a third party - as we don’t have our own internal comms agenda, but can see what’s important to the industry. Internal comms professionals need to be all-rounders these days. They need to understand business and the impact of good (and bad) communications on the bottom line; they need to be at the forefront of the digital revolution; and they need to be strong relationship builders and influencers. The market demands really strong...