The days of pure, regulated top-down corporate communication are over. When it comes to internal comms, employee participation is key to successfully reaching target groups and supporting corporate goals. Employee input in the form of opinions, feedback and ideas can be used to make internal communication more effective, boost employee engagement, and improve business decisions.
Our insights team talked to 17 internal communication executives and gathered a list of challenges and solutions. Here’s what they learned:
- New competencies are needed. Internal communication must take on a new role of moderator and enabler – facilitating dialogue, supporting negotiation and strengthening the communication skills of management and employees.
- Strategic options aren’t yet fully exploited. Employee participation is solicited on topics such as value, vision processes, communicating corporate strategy and organizational change. But there’s room for development around digital transformation and innovation – an area where internal communication still gives precedence to HR and IT.
- Employees are hesitant. Employees’ reluctance to take advantage of participation opportunities may stem from hierarchical structures or management’s influence on corporate culture. To foster participation opportunities, internal communication must enable a culture change.
- Define a clear target picture. Moderating these conversations means relinquishing some degree of control. To plan participation strategically, internal communicators must reflect on their own attitude and define objectives and opportunities for employee participation.
- Ensure a well-thought-out participation offer. To encourage employee involvement, offers of participation need to demonstrate credibility and relevance to employee interests and needs. Invest time and patience. Overcoming cultural hurdles and fostering the trust required for employee participation is a process that will take time and patience.