This week NKD spoke at the Internal Communications Event, attended by senior IC professionals from some of the largest private and public sector companies around the world. Our talk focused on how effective employee engagement drives customer engagement – which drives financial results.
There were some great presentations, but the event made us think about how IC can get bogged down in the day-to-day operations, leading to a tactical focus – communicating the “thick of thin things”, to paraphrase Stephen Covey.
What are Internal Communications? A survey of IC professionals showed that the top three roles for IC teams were:
· Corporate announcement
· Helping employees understand the strategy
· Employee engagement
Many of the presentations drove home the idea of continuous, content rich and accessible communications. One example was BT TV & Sports utilising their numerous channels to humanise the message from their CEO, moving away from a traditional ‘preach & teach’ approach to a more relaxed, interview based broadcast. The result of this is now a thriving two-way communications channel. The core points from building the IC channel are:
· Sweat Your Content – think hard, think deep, make it simple
· Be Brave – people will listen
· Make Magical Moments – people remember magic and legends – make them!
For NKD, having great communications channels is important for driving an ongoing dialogue within the business. But, there were fewer conversations about how Internal Communications can drive the strategic narrative and to bring to life the “Big Picture” for employees, explaining to them what that means for their day-to-day work, and connecting that to their own purpose and the purpose of the organisation. One of the presentations identified that the frequency with which people meet with their line manager is the single biggest driver of engagement. When you get this right, the change is dramatic and, more importantly, sustainable – leading to increased levels of engagement, commitment, belief and bottom line results. That’s why much of our work with DHL focuses on equipping leaders with the mindset and skills to engage their teams. They started on this journey with NKD in 2008, and over the years there has been a double-digit increase in engagement, and a turnaround in their EBIT of nearly €4 billion!
So, as an IC professional, where do you prefer to be? Do you want to talk channels, or do you want to play a role in truly driving the strategic results of the company? We know where we’d want to be.