“In the long history of humankind, those who have learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” – Charles Darwin.
Corporate organisational collaboration at its core is not fixed, but in fact is a continuous cycle of evolution. The perception of collaboration can vary according to the individual, thus emphasising the need for it to be driven (by internal communications professionals) in order to ensure the most effective outcome is achieved for the organisation.
Throughout my internal communictions career I have seen the impact that hierarchy and respect for authority have on successful organisational collaboration. If the frontline worker feels unimportant and not supported by ‘the company’, there will be little respect for the company, this may require local management intervention to begin building better relationships while remaining loyal to the company vision. No easy task.
Forbes’ leadership article ‘Why Are So Many Employees Disengaged?‘ By Victor Lipman, details the qualities of an engaging manager as:
- Good listeners – less focused on imposing their own will than on hearing what others had to say.
- Perceptive – able to understand the sometimes subtle issues their direct reports were dealing with… as well as what motivated them and what didn’t.
- Open communicators – approachable, candid, easy to talk to, available when needed.
- Calm demeanor – not prone to excitability, able to remain cool under stress. (Nothing erodes loyalty quicker than humiliation on the wrong end of a hot temper.)
Read full article here
Organisational collaboration has moved from being a dictatorial interaction between manager and employee, to both people working together. Over recent years internal communications have learnt to improvise and tailor communications according to employee preference and forward thinking companies ensure communication is a core element in the business strategy. The strongest companies encourage their employees to interpret business strategy in a way that makes sense to them.
People are greater than process.
Command and control is no longer an effective way of pursuing a company’s goals. Evidence shows that organisational collaboration, and the transformation of the role of internal communicator, has played a significant part in this. There is less focus on communicating the importance of process compliance and a greater emphasis on communicating the benefit of the process, to the employee.
The Internal Communicator must stay current in their understanding of which channels are most effective for a particular audience in order to represent the voice of the employee, something which is fundamental to organisational collaboration. The closer a channel can approximate the feeling of face to face, the more effective it will be and this is certainly seen in the rapid growth of social media.
Employees want to receive communications that are personally relevant to them and we can see the influence of social media algorithms that reinforce the desire for tailored content. Internal communications often drive collaboration effectively by facilitating communication between peers and so steers the collaboration without dictating the outcome.
More than ever, employees are clear in the messages they want to receive and generally there is a need for them to be open, honest and directly relevant to them, whilst using their preferred channel. Internal Communicators need to keep a current view of this matrix and how it impacts important messaging.
Ultimately employees decide whether to absorb company messages or not, whether to engage with the company strategy and whether to collaborate or not. Engagement levels will in great part be decided based on how targeted the information being sent to employees is, which in turn, is decided by the role that internal communications plays – a significant role indeed.