Communicate ineffectively, go to jail

Ineffective internal communications in North America can result in a disenfranchised workforce, diminished competitiveness, reduced profits, and a litany of other woes. At least you can’t be fined for it.

Beginning in March, companies operating in the European Union (EU) can be fined up to 75,000 pounds for violating a directive that compels them to communicate effectively with their employees. The directive gives employees the right to know about everything that materially affects their job security, prospects and future, according to Pauline Arnot, director of Beattie Communications, a UK internal communication consultancy.

I’m… Read More »

The resurgence of internal communications

I’m worried about employee communications as a profession based on shockingly bad performance across the business world. That doesn’t mean some companies aren’t getting it right. In fact, in some organizations, employee communications is replacing media relations as the hot communications spot.

That’s the conclusion of Amy Friedman in a piece she wrote for Positioning Online, the Web newsletter from communications recruiting firm Heyman Associates. “CEOs understand that in order to communicate objectives, internal communications must be a priority,” she writes. “It?s not just a means to ensure the employee population is invested in the… Read More »

Schilder’s List

My post on the ineffectiveness of internal communications (as evidenced by executive opinions revealed in an Accenture study) was picked up by PR Canada, prompting several responses from folks who may not have read my blog. Among those posting their own thoughts was Jana Schilder, an Ontario-based communications consultant.

Schilder lists five reasons why employee communcations is ineffective.

What to do about employee communications?

Back on August 28, I wrote an entry in which I stated that employee communications as a profession has been a failure. Advocates of strategic internal communication (myself included), along with associations like IABC that represent the profession, have argued for years that effective employee communications aligns employees with company goals and objectives. We maintain that solid internal communications produces bottom-line results. But a study from Accenture reveals that executives believe their employees are not aligned, that they don’t understand how their jobs fit into the bigger picture.

From where I sit, that means internal… Read More »

Participatory employee communications

The Northwest Voice is the epitome of participatory journalism. As reported in EContent, this newspaper—both print and online—is produced entirely from voluntary contributions submitted by residents living in Northwest Bakersfield, California. Today, Steve Rubel reports on an IBM effort to determine how quickly vandalism on Wikipedia is identified and corrected. The result: pages are restored to their accurate state in about five minutes.

Th Wikipedia and the Northwest Voice are two examples of participatory communication in which the audience is also the author. In the case of the Bakersfield newspaper, people living on the ground… Read More »

The failure of employee communications

I try to avoid duplicating material in my blog that appears in my newsletter, but this one is just too important. Too alarming. Too consequential.

I have spent more than 25 years working, one way or another, in employee communications. In that time, i have come to believe all the usual arguments about the value we deliver to our companies and clients. Chief among these, we create “line of sight”—that is, we help employees understand how their individual work efforts contribute to the company’s high-level business plans and strategies. Through this effort, we contribute to the company’s competitiveness.

At least, that’s the… Read More »

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