The Inside Story: Internal Comms Mini Conference

by Rachel Roberts |

With research indicating that 70% of employees are disengaged, costing the UK economy £64.7 billion each year the role of internal communications has never been more critical. Companies aspire to maximise the effectiveness of their organisations, but without effective communications, this ambition trickles through the business and is probably only ever embraced by the 30% of staff who are already committed to what they do.

With this in mind, there was no better time for CIPR Midlands to team up with CIPR Inside to hold The Inside Story: Internal Comms Mini Conference at the Library of Birmingham.

Around 50 comms professionals heard from a great line up of speakers who included Helen Bissett from Internal Communications Agency of the year H&H, the Chair of CIPR Inside Group and Head of Internal Comms for UK & Ireland at SSP Limited, Jenni Wheller, Thomas Giles from HR Consultancy Thomas Giles Consultancy, Limegreen Communications’ Sarah Perrin and finally Ruth Tiltman and Lesley Allman from National Grid, all of whom offered some excellent insight and interactive content.

The event kicked off with ‘Executive Decision’ a simulation game facilitated by H&H which used gamification to explore the impact of decisions made within organisations when engaging with employees. Some interesting points were raised – would a company think it was acceptable to have 70% of their computers not working effectively? Of course not – so why is it ok that 70% of the employee base could be demonstrating the same inefficiency?

Our second speaker Jenni Wheller challenged us all to increase evaluation metrics in relation to delivery of internal comms activity. It is not enough just to focus on delivery of activity, but ensure there are ways to measure outcomes and how behaviour has changed in order to deliver lasting value to the business.

Our third speaker – HR Consultant Thomas Giles focused on the need for HR and Comms functions to work collaboratively to deliver organisational change and to help organisations motivate its workforce through communication of the Employee Value Propositions (EVP). At a time when employees want more from work than just a pay cheque, comms is critical to help employees recognise the benefits they get from the work place, including training, social, community and wellbeing.

The conference was concluded with case studies of internal comms activity delivered to support the de-merger of Punch Taverns, and an employee change programme at National Grid. These two case studies were interesting as the challenge for Punch was to communicate predominantly with its head office employees who were most effected by the business change, whereas the challenge for National Grid is to communicate with its large field-based workforce.

With the speakers prompting lots of questions from the floor it’s clear that the half day session only just scratched the surface of hot topics within Internal Communications. So we promise to make sure the subject stays on the agenda for future CIPR Midlands events we’re planning in 2015. If you can’t wait until then we recommend checking out the CIPR’s special IC group – CIPR Inside – where naturally the #ICCrowd are listening and ready to engage.