Tag Archives: LinkedIn

What's at play in internal communications?

A couple of weeks or so ago I set up one of those polls in LinkedIn asking what the single most important aim of internal comms was. The chart of the results so far is thus:

internal_comms_chart1

The discussion continued on LinkedIn, with a lively engagement on what the most importan aspect might be. Now of course, this is all a bit phantasmagorical as in real life there’s no single one most important aspect, but the discussion did draw out some interplays between the different aspects.

I tend to agree with Nicky Fried’s comment that:

If we, as communicators, are able to link each employee to the corporate vision – the rest takes care of itself.

but as we see above most people disagree and think engagement is the most important aspect rather than the vision or strategy. There was also an important contribution from Mark Barwick, who argued that I’d made an error by missing out Productivity as the key aim. For Liam FitzPatrick  however, asking what aim might be most important implied conflict or polarities between ‘productivity/strategy/engagement’.

My view on this is that we’re not talking about polarities and certainly not about conflicts, but different spheres of action and influence. I’d still place strategy as the most important aim and align its relationship with engagement and productivity as so:

internal_comms_triangle

But then, as I pointed out to Mark, the strategy might not be productivity, it could be to say, increase market share. The ultimate end, and the ultimate end of all business, would be Profit. We might therefore, replace Producivity with Profit as the driver. Thus all internal communications becomes a drive to profit.

We therefore end up with a chart such as this:

internal_comms_triangle1

This creates a very instrumental, one might almost say brutalist picture of the enterprise. What’s missing is the ethos of the company – it’s brand and its culture. For me at least, the brand is all about internal communications – we’re articulating the brand to our shared internal audience. So what we need to do is bring this branding aspect into the equation:

culture

Taken together these aspects create the enterprise’s culture. One can then begin to imagine who the communications would change as each of these gains ascendancy over the other. Profit must always have the final say – or the business goes out of business. But if profit becomes the only driver, what then for internal communications?

I think this is where Visteon came unstuck. They created a Culture, complete with a well-defined Corporate Social Responsibility and communicated it well enough so that their employees not only knew about it, they both understood it and bought into it. It was when Visteon itself, driven by the profit motivator, forgot that aspect of its culture, that the workers of Visteon decided to occupy their plants.

Ethics and Integrity Policy, Visteon.

What's the aim of Internal Communications?

Over at LinkedIn I recently created one of their polls to elicit some information about what really drives Internal Communications. The LinkedIn poll widget allows one to solicit 5 possible answers to a question.  So throwing caution to the gales I asked “What’s the single most important aim of corporate Internal Communications?”

  • To inform employees
  • To create a shared vision
  • To increase productivity
  • To engage employees
  • To support the strategy

The results so far are as so:

poll

This I found interesting. I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong answer, but my reply would be “To support the strategy“. Why so? Well I think that ultimately this is what focuses internal comms. We have a strategy and we align our comms to it. Engaging employees is/could be a mean to this end. If we engage them for example in directions that aren’t the strategy then we’ve missed our target. At least that’s what I think, your chance to put me right below 😉

Update:

After writing this blog I added a question to the Melcrum discussion page on LinkedIn. A lively discussion ensued. You’ll need to be a member of the Melcrum group to participate.

Enterprise 2.0 Profiles

Just been looking at Shiv Singh’s preso on Web 2.0 and the Enterprise:

There’s a good engagement on it re informality and spontaneity of collaboration at Frogpond. What struck me thought was slide 25 – LinkedIn becomes your Intranet. What a concept, that’s really interesting. I guess the thing to avoid is what Mike Gotta is calling the ‘Potpourri‘ approach to profiling – we don’t want a plethora of the blighters. Mike points out Connect Beam’s Spotlight Connect for Outlook which synchs a profile up with Outlook and LDAP. Now Shiv cites LinkedIn’s APIs and the wonderful stuff being done with them is a site to see – this blog will appear in LinkedIn without me doing owt.
Wouldn’t it be good to have some sort of universal Enterprise 2.0 Profiles API that could draw in profile data from different apps and locations? This could unify and synch up the E 2.0 Profiles and avoid the potpourri pitfall but still use multiple sources of data-guff. It would introduce order and spontaneity at the same time. Always a good mix in my book 😉