According to Bill Quirke the role of an internal communicator is:
“…to help turn strategy into action by engaging, informing and directing employees.” (Quirke, 2008, p. 31)
A collaborative engagement
Turning a companywide strategy for growth into action by engaged employees in any organisation can be a huge challenge, regardless of its size. This requires the collaboration of all company employees from the CEO to the front line operatives. Done well it will help to retain and motivate employees plus improve productivity, while reducing the amount of work related stress.
Working with a colleague, within a team, or with other businesses is almost impossible without communicating. This communication itself must be a result of collaborative efforts, to ascertain the preferred method of two-way communication with a team, across a company and with a customer.
The perpetual state of collaboration requires the continual analysis and evolution of the communication methods. In any organisation there are many changing elements that require evaluating, people develop and evolve, the organisational strategy evolves and the technology at our disposal is developing with every passing moment. Real collaboration requires highly motivated people, to ensure collaboration has a fertile platform we must be aware of how engaged employees are.
Let’s get clear on what we mean by organisational collaboration
Collaboration, noun: the action of working with someone to produce something.
A collaborative organisation is one many of us instinctively feel we recognise but is surprisingly difficult to define. Angela Ashenden’s article, “what is a collaborative organisation, anyway?”, offers an interesting definition which when examined from the Internal Communicator’s point of view shines a light on where precisely internal communications can plan an integral role.
Ashenden defines the collaborative organisation as having three important characteristics:
1. “A networked and non-hierarchical organisation structure
2. A culture of openness, honesty and trust
3. An engaged and valued workforce.” (Community.aiim.org, 2016)
Internal Communications can choose to play a key role in ingraining all three of these characteristics in an organisation through the use of its many channels and specific skills.
Internal communications can be the catalyst to close the gap between talking about organisational collaboration and turning talk into action.
So how does the internal communicator support organisational collaboration?
One thing seems clear. There is no, one single formula that can be applied to all. However, there are a few common elements that can be applied in any company, and if done right, will improve employee engagement and encourage collaboration.
In a previous blog ‘It’s all in the letter‘ I offer an interesting analogy that will highlight how internal communication functions are core to organisational collaboration. Taking a look at the impact, tone of voice has on the intended message.