The challenge for internal comms in the social enterprise

I spoke earlier in the week at the Melcrum SharePoint User Forum on the subject of: the challenges facing the internal comms (IC) profession in the social enterprise. I wasn’t able to talk as much about SharePoint as perhaps I was expected to as, quite frankly, we don’t have a lot to show yet … which is another story entirely! 😦

Anyway, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the challenges facing the IC profession in a social enterprise. The slide below pretty well sums it up …

Having scoped the challenge, I started thinking about how comms people should respond … something I’ve touched upon before. I decided to write a vision statement for a world in which internal comms is REALLY engaged … a bit old-fashioned maybe, but it helped crystallize my thinking. Anyway, my first bash at it is below … I’d value your thoughts and feedback:

A community of internal comms practitioners embedded into the social fabric of BT as power-networkers influencing the conversations and culture of the organisation to meet its business objectives. A community engaged in communications activities underpinned by social interactivity and conversation to help BT employees arrive at shared understanding of what is expected of them from the communications we create and disseminate.

[PS – my slides from the Melcrum event are available on slideshare]

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  1. Like this. It responds to issues I raised in my post about whether or not the intranet manager is being a commodity.

    Having a vision statement like yours will certainly make a difference for the intranet practitioners who are in the communication function.

  2. Hi Richard. I love both the intention and the sentiment of your draft vision statement. I’m just not sure about the language. “Embedding practitioners into the social fabric of an organisation” kind of reads like it has been lifted out of a 10 year old marcomms manual. I’d be inclined to translate it into something slightly more accessible.

    It also comes across as a bit top down and prescriptive. Internal communications, especially those underpinned by social interactivity should not be about “creating and disseminating” communications. Surely it’s more about creating communication opportunities and contributing to a climate where staff want to be part of the conversation.

    So here maybe is how I’d word it:

    “A network of internal communicators spread across the company, who through communications activities underpinned by social interactivity, conversation and behaviour, help all staff to arrive at a shared understanding of how their individual and collective efforts can contribute to making BT an amazing place to work and meet the needs of every one of our customers.”

    All the best!

  3. Thanks Jon – that’s GREAT feedback … can’t believe I’ve been caught out using business-speak … urghh! 🙂

    I’m going to redraft in plainer English …

  4. What we need is something very simple. We need sentences that have nor more than 8 or 10 words each! Just joking, but these long sentences lose the average person long before they reach the end!

    What about this?

    “A network of internal communicators spread across the company who:
    – encourage social interactiviy
    – trigger and support conversations among staff and between staff and management
    – facilitate new behaviour

    This will help all staff to arrive at a shared understanding of how their individual and collective efforts can contribute to making BT an amazing place to work.

    The result will support our business objectives and help us meet the needs of our customers.

  5. Thanks Jane – more great feedback! Think I trotted my vision out a bit quickly and should have given it a bit more thought 🙂

  6. At the Melcrum user forum, your vision for a social intranet (the slide here mentioned) seemed to me a bit futuristic, like a dream to realize, a never ending journey to re-use your analogy. On the other hand I’m convinced like you that our organizations, as well as our colleagues, need it absolutely. What you don’t mention in your post here is your wonderful “controlmeter”. It describes clearly the full scale, from strict control where it is still required (doc mng, corporate content) to the 0% control is appropriate (discussions, personal thoughts, etc). With the result of cross-fertilisation of different content, whit social content becoming a complement to corporate content, and not a competitor.
    Just to say that despite the lack of time, your presentation was brilliant and very useful (at least for me 😉
    Cordiali saluti 🙂

  7. Jane – that’s one way of looking at it! 😉

    Claudio – funnily enough I was going to post about the ‘contolometer’ on Monday … thanks for your kind words about my presentation – I was worried people were sitting there thinking: ‘When is he actually going to talk about SharePoint??’

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