Internal Communicators: be loud and proud. Go for Gold

Kevin Ruck, CIPR Inside’s chair shares his latest CIPR Conversation post here.

Internal communication is now finally coming out of the shadow of it’s “sexier” media relations cousin.

As trust in CEOs declines and reputation is openly challenged, customers are turning to front line employees more than ever before to confirm what the brand is really like. So, it’s crucial that employees are engaged.

In the UK, engagement levels are currently at 27%, well behind the global average of 35%. According to an Engage for Success report this represents a potential GDP increase of £25.8 billion if the UK moved engagement levels to those associated with the Netherlands – which would make a very significant contribution to economic growth in tough times.

Two of the four enablers identified by the Engage for Success movement are:

· Visible, empowering leadership providing a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going

· There is employee voice throughout the organisation, for reinforcing and challenging views; between functions and externally; employees are seen as central to the solution

Internal communication practitioners are doing some great work in helping to maintain a strong narrative. But that’s only one half of the communication factor for engagement. Facilitating employee voice tends to get much less attention, mainly because of the imperative to just SOS (send out stuff).

In research conducted last year by myself and Sean Trainor, we found that internal communication practitioners are struggling to convince senior managers of the benefits of internal communication. That should start to change now that the Engage for Success movement has published a wealth of data underlining the impact engagement has on the bottom line.


Practitioners can now seize the moment. After all, this is their time in the spotlight. However, perhaps, as a group, they are more introvert and analytical than other people in PR? Or they come from different backgrounds, for example customer service, IT, and operations, rather than media relations? If this is the case, it is a strength; it means they may have a deep understanding of employees as the most important stakeholder group of all.

The CIPR’s Inside group for internal communicators felt it was time to raise the profile of practice, so we’ve created a whole new set of awards. Now, for the first time, the industry has a dedicated set of internal communication awards from a chartered body, including the best employee engagement programme.

Watch out, the “quiet” people of PR are on the move!

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