Employees as Citizens – moving beyond a transactional approach to workplace relations

One of the major challenges at the heart of organizational communication involves how best to define the relationship between employers and employees.

To a large extent, organizations have come to treat their employee relationships as transactional. This is not only true in North America where the hire-and-fire culture and reliance on workplace-provided benefits can lead to an undercurrent of expendability in the relationship, but outside the US where organizations often speak of employees as “internal customers.”

While it may be prevalent to treat workforce relationships as transactional, doing so belies some basic realities of what being in the workforce involves:

  • Agency

Within the framework of established rules, priorities and processes, members of the workforce have the right and opportunity to make their own decisions, particularly when they are working away from detailed supervision

  • Commitment

Employees with long-term ambitions within an organization generally are committed to its long-term success, and have often staked their own personal commitments on the pursuit of a mutually beneficial relationship. Even contract and temporary employees tend to have a desire to perform well, leave a good impression, and perhaps be invited back.

  • Connection

The workplace isn’t simply a place where most of its members go, perform individual transactional tasks, and leave. For many participants, work is where many of the most significant activities and conversations in one’s life take place and where many fundamental relationships form

  • Visibility

Where companies have high visibility, either through wide public brand awareness or because of prominence as a local employer, employees willingly or unwillingly act as representatives of the organization and its brand in the larger community. In that capacity, they engage in conversations about product and service quality, organizational values and the extent to which positions in the organization would be desirable to potential job-seekers.

Given that people in the workforce have considerable discretion over the extent to which they invest their agency, commitment, connection and visibility on the company’s behalf, a one-dimensional transactional model does not neatly apply.

But what is there to replace it?


The role of an employee within an organization bears much greater resemblance to citizenship than customership because it accounts for agency, commitment, connection and visibility.

Workforce “citizenship” also accounts for the level of “skin-in-the-game” for employees who bet their careers, familial stability and personal reputations on their choice of employer, and because it is sufficiently two-way to balance those factors against organizational objectives, rules, values and governance processes.

A workforce citizenship model doesn’t need to devolve all decision-making to employees.

But it can benefit from acknowledging and addressing the discretion employees do have in executing organizational decisions. Ideally, it can also incorporate the expertise, experience and aspirations of employees as key decisions get formulated.

When I first wrote on this subject nearly ten years ago, both internal and external social media were in their infancy and employee advocacy was anticipated but not yet widely embraced. Indeed, the slower-than-anticipated spread of internal social media and employee advocacy appears to align with organizations’ hesitancy to move beyond traditional and transactional thinking about the broader organizational and social roles of their employees.

At the same time, a shift in thinking combined with access to appropriate communication platforms and tools – tools which allow employees to share ideas, content and opinions appropriately in an organizational context – has the potential to help align internal communication with the lived employee experience, and create platforms where employees can be effective citizens inside and outside workplace walls.

MIKE KLEIN is Principal of Changing The Terms, a Netherlands-based communication consultancy focused on internal and change communication. The 2018-2019 Chair of IABC’s Europe-Middle East-North Africa region, Mike is the author of the research series on the Present and Future of Internal Communication for Happeo.

The Profession

The Best Thing You Can Do at IABC World Conference

What’s the best thing you can do at IABC World Conference?

The Grande Dame of conferences covering the the worlds of business and internal communication, IABC World Conference offers often-remarkable keynotes, a plethora of diverse breakout sessions, and perennially enjoyable socializing occasions like the Canada Party (which is always extra-special when it’s actually in Canada.)

But for me, the most valuable part of the conference are the conversations with IC vendors in The Hub, #IABC19’s vendor exhibition center.

Full disclosure – I do some consulting and research for Happeo (which is helping sponsor my attendance and whose swag I highlight in the picture above) and have established the #GorillaGames with ContactMonkey. And I’ve been very appreciative of the support that IABC EMENA has received from Poppulo during my year as Regional Chair.

But that support is indicative of why the vendor section adds so much value to World Conference.

Someone presenting a case study at a breakout session has the ability to present one real world situation to a room full of people.   A conversation with a vendor can expose you to dozens, along with the opportunity to see how each is particularly interesting and relevant, in a one-on-one discussion. And a few meters away, there are different vendors with different tools and a different spread of real world experiences.

Simply put, I think the best thing to do at World Conference is to purposely skip one or two breakout sessions and head for the vendor area. And apply the same interest and give the same respect to the vendors presenting as you would to anyone else presenting at World Conference.

The end result will be a broader and deeper understanding of business communication challenges and opportunities, along with, as expected, a better sense of the solutions capable of dealing with them.

Featured, The Profession

Internal communicators: Deliver for organizations, not just employees

At last week’s Institute of Internal Communication Live conference in the UK, a slide was shown with a picture of someone who had been brutalized, covered by the text “Stop saying yes to your leaders – you are betraying your employees.”

This sentiment might be understandable to some, but embracing it presents a big backward step for internal communicators.

Our focus must continue to be on organizational success

For the last 20+ years, internal communicators have made a concerted effort to convince organizations and leaders that we can be their effective partners. Partners who can help them transform their companies, improve performance, accelerate alignment and develop sustainable, regenerative cultures.

Increasingly, we’ve been winning.

My current research for Happeo, for whom I am currently interviewing C-Level decision makers around the world, unambiguously shows appreciation for the value and potential IC can offer forward-thinking companies, to help them engage with their employees to achieve common purposes and deliver positive outcomes together, and to deal with difficult changes in a constructive and honest atmosphere.

But such results can only be delivered when internal communicators are committed to delivering for organizations.

When images like this slide pop up at a major IC event, in this case the UK’s Institute of Internal Communication’s IOICLive conference last week, they raise questions about that commitment.

Certainly, we can and must challenge leaders when their views may be counterproductive or miss out on vital perspectives.

But the moment we become perceived as “employee advocates” is the moment we get walked out of the building, and with good reason.

I can’t demand that everyone agrees with me.

But I can challenge my fellow practitioners to assess the impact that the opposite – making a virtue out of saying no to leaders, or claiming our ultimate role is to somehow honor or protect employees – has on our collective credibility.

Even if one’s sympathies might be with employees, our collective and individual loyalties must be to the organizations that employ us. Indeed, our very value comes from helping organizations succeed by involving employees more constructively and productively in the pursuit of that success.  

If we are to continue to make a difference to organizations, they need to know we are on their side. And IC practitioners need to be willing to challenge their peers and associations when they even hint at alternative agendas. Failing to do so may well undermine our collective credibility.  

Mike Klein is Principal of Changing The Terms and an experienced internal communication strategist, writer and advocate. To schedule a free consultation, please click here.


Black, white and gray: A 16-year-old holds up a mirror to business communicators

“I see the world kind of black-and-white”

So says Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old climate change activist. Thunberg has become a global media sensation by sharing a direct if alarming message with politicians, business leaders and the media about what will be required to meet the climate change challenge.

Whether one agrees with the conclusions Greta is pushing or finds them acceptable from a social and economic perspective, Greta’s rapid emergence on the global scene highlights a trend of high relevance to communicators – a desire for clarity and specificity that has largely become absent from business communication in recent years. 

Part of this, from my experience, is that business communicators largely find ourselves trading in “gray”: in ambiguity.

Organizations take months or years to finalize changes even when the direction of travel is obvious to employees and other stakeholders. Leaders seek not to alarm, and employees often demand certainty when little can be offered before the required facts are blessed by the lawyers, shareholders and, where applicable, governments, are in place.

To a certain extent, business communicators add value to organizations by helping them and their people navigate through ambiguity. Ironically, we actually generate a fair amount of that ambiguity in an effort to avoid alarming stakeholders about decisions that some may expect but which have not yet been taken. Moreover, much of the difference between communication disciplines like internal comms, public relations and public affairs comes down to the distinct ways each positions ambiguous issues with its core stakeholders.

Greta’s rapid and precocious emergence on the scene speaks to an appetite for “straight talk” from a public that is tired of ambiguous, nuanced conversation from its business and political leaders. It also derives from her deeply held convictions about where things are headed if her pleas are unheeded. 

Do I believe business communicators should “be like Greta”? No. I think the worlds we operate in are too nuanced and ambiguous themselves, and we can’t provide definitive answers all the time. But I do think we should “be more like Greta” and not nurture ambiguity for ambiguity’s sake.

People want clarity and specificity from their leaders. They want leaders to speak with conviction. When it becomes possible for them to do so, they can benefit from being as direct, forthright and above all, as speedy as possible.

Are you vulnerable to employee activism? To find our more, email me at for my new Changing The Terms Guide to Employee and Corporate Activism.


From best practice to next practice: join us for the Gorilla Games Webinar

On 30 April, I’ll have the distinct pleasure of moderating a webinar about a unique internal communication competition – a competition which, rather than seeking approval for “best practice,” aims instead to break new ground – The Gorilla Games.

Working with Contact Monkey, the innovative Toronto-based email analytics company, we put out the call for entries that weren’t out to rewrite the record book but rewrite the rule book. By focusing not on what they’ve been allowed to do, but what they would do with the brakes off and the gloves thrown on the floor, entrants came up with strong, bold ideas that offer new insights into how internal comms pros can raise our collective game.

In addressing a scenario where internal communicators were facing a 25% across-the-board budget cut, but in turn were offered complete control over the remaining budget, Stephen Welch’s Gold-winning entry focused on developing an IC approach that employees, quite literally, would need to be willing to pay for themselves.

“Yes that’s right, we’re going to start charging employees to receive their internal communication” was indeed the “money quote” from Stephen’s entry, which took the form of a memo from the head of IC to his team at “BigCo.”

Of course, the idea of making employees pay money for IC is ridiculous.  But we all have been in the business of trying to get employees to pay attention to it for decades. Stephen’s approach doesn’t simply focus on getting employees to put their money where their minds are, it also signals an approach to measurement that’s based on how much content is valued as opposed to whether or not it is clicked or viewed.

Along with discussing the Silver and Bronze winning entries with contest participants (which are included in this White Paper from Contact Monkey along with Stephen’s), the 30th April Webcast will involve members of a judging panel which included industry all-stars Jason Anthoine, Priya Bates, Silke Brittain, Ashli Davis and Neil Jenkins and discuss prospects for growing the competition.

Award competitions are great for recognizing good work after the fact. In the Gorilla Games, we now have a mechanism for rewarding great thinking and innovation before the fact.   

To register for the Gorilla Games Webinar, click here. The Gorilla Games are a joint initiative of Contact Monkey and Changing The Terms.

Tools and services

Could IC have found its pot of gold? Data presents new opportunities

One of the areas in which internal communicators have historically struggled is measurement – particularly ability to demonstrate, or at least insinuate, linkages between internal communication activity and valuable business results.

In my recent research with twelve internal communicators – six in the US and six international – I see reason to believe that communicators are gaining confidence both the quality of the data they can access, and their ability to use that data to present clear and compelling cases for further investment in internal communication activity.

There remain some challenges.  In some cases, internal communicators find themselves using measures because data is available, even if the measures are themselves tangential to business performance.

Time to seize the measurement agenda

While the plethora of analytics available from online platforms and email analytic packages generate immense quantities of data, internal communicators need to be in a position to seize the measurement agenda and focus on measures which show a plausible relationship between communication activities and business outcomes.

Conversely, there are also opportunities to use data sources that aren’t based on IC channels to help track issues and language use in the business.  One participant highlighted enterprise search as a particularly fertile source for information about what staff find important, pertinent and relevant, and also about the language employees use to address and discuss ongoing business issues.

One potentially profound approach that is emerging is the calculation of “communication factors” – agreeing with the business the rightful amount of credit that should be attributed to communications’ impact on specific business outcomes.  There isn’t currently a magic formula or number available for common use. But the idea of having communicators and the business assign a numeric factor the the results – or at least to impact on changes in performance – could go a long way towards addressing the need of communicators to continually “prove their value” in return for continued investment.

There is no magic bullet – but internal communicators are better positioned than ever to take control over the measurement agenda, and start delivering harder numbers and clearer stories of impact.

Download “How to Measure what Matters” – the latest research report from Happeo.

Mike Klein is Principal of Changing The Terms and an experienced internal communication strategist, writer and advocate. To schedule a free consultation, please click here.

Featured, The Profession

IABC turnaround turns outward – members now hold the key to visibility and impact

“We’ve righted our ship and gotten our house in order, and now we’re ready to help drive the larger conversation about what our profession can offer.”

That was the overriding message following interviews with IABC Chair Ginger Homan and Executive Director Stephanie Doute.

In a conversation following the 2019 IABC Leadership Institute, and marking the halfway point in IABC’s 2017-2020 strategy, Ginger declared the Association’s restructuring and stabilization efforts a success. She said that they place IABC in a position to carry its message outward, and that it will do so in a much different way than IABC has done in the past:

“It’s time for our members to own our agenda”

“The key will be for members to take ownership –not only to be advocates for IABC membership, but to be active and visible as IABC members on the issues we care about in our industry. We need members to step out front to promote professional standards and champion the value communicators offer to our enterprises and communities.”

Ginger noted that this approach represented a break from its historical approach to outreach.

“Rather than IABC wanting to be the leader and for staff to own the agenda, as we have done in the past, we want to provide the platform to help our members be thought leaders. We in turn will help amplify those members who want to take stands and be visible in the conversations around the agenda we are promoting together.”

Accelerating the Global Standard

One front which IABC wants its members to take the advocacy lead is in the promotion of the Global Standard – which, while developed under IABC’s leadership, is intended to provide a common framework for promoting professionalism in communication, and for enabling the spread of a world-wide certification program for senior and mid-level communication professionals.

“There’s a lot we need to be saying about the Global Standard, and IABC can’t do this on its own. We need members and particularly those who have already been certified to tell the story of the Global Standard and make the case. We need to explain what it is, how we arrived at it, and why it is of relevance to a much broader constituency than just IABC members.”

Stephanie added: “There is a real demand for standards in the world of professional communication and the Global Standard is a great platform for embedding consistent standards into our day-to-day practices and even the software we use. Indeed, as the Global Standard provides the context and content for Certification and the rubric for our Gold Quill awards program, a broader conversation about the Global Standard will make our CMP and SCMP certifications more relevant and drive acceptance beyond IABC’s membership.”

The interviews followed the 2019 Leadership Institute in Long Beach, California, which combined the event’s traditional focus on chapter growth and cohesion with added emphasis on encouraging IABC activists to mobilize members as thought leaders and peer influencers to promote the value of professional communication, above and beyond the promotion of IABC membership.

Transforming IABC’s Infrastructure

The moves follow intense effort to stabilize IABC’s finances, update its infrastructure, and develop more robust offerings for members and the broader communication professions.

Stephanie added: “We’ve been modernizing what we do and the way we do it. We are in the midst of a digital transformation that will allow us both to better engage members and to make IABC more inviting and relevant to non-members. We have a new and expanded content program coming to life this year. We launched The Hub as a private social network to give our members a safe and vibrant space to share their needs, problems and ideas with the broader IABC community. These programs add to the continuing strength of World Conference as a truly best-in-class conference, where top-tier speakers, forward-thinking breakouts, launches of new research deliver special experiences delegates are unlikely to forget.”

Getting ahead of the trends

One criticism of IABC that has resonated with its leadership has been that the Association is slow to acknowledge, much less shape, trends in the industry – trends such as internal-external convergence and employee experience – which are well within the interests of its membership.

“We’re launching two exciting task forces to get ahead of the trends,” said Stephanie, “looking at the big ideas shaping the profession on the one hand, creating tangible tools and templates for delivery and execution for members on the other. We want members to be aware, awake and confident as we move into a time of even faster change and instability in the business world. These will be in addition to the research studies we have partnered on and the Business Acumen module in the IABC Academy. The latter was developed by a firm comprised of Wharton Business School alumni that will give our members a tangible command of business basics and prepare them for more effective conversations with their business peers.”

Creating Connection

In 2017-2020, IABC has been pursuing a three-pronged strategy: to develop strategic communicators, advance the profession and “create connection.” Midway through the strategy period, the bulk of the association’s global efforts have been devoted to getting the platform and infrastructure set for growth and accelerating member influence in the profession. “Create Connection,” the third pillar, builds on IABC’s historic strengths as a community and support network for its active members.

“Sometimes, people don’t realize how fun it can be to be in IABC,” Ginger explains. “IABC is ultimately about inclusion, fun and giving back – which is what we mean by ‘create connection’. It’s not about telling people to ‘join IABC because it’s fun’ but to create experiences that are enlivening and enriching, especially at the local level where it’s easiest for people to connect face-to-face. We are seeing newer and younger members coming in at the local level, generationally transforming IABC from the outside in.”

Why it’s time to join – or re-join

As the only global membership association covering the full scope of business communication, IABC occupies a unique space alongside national communication associations, specialist associations and more informal on-line groups which have absorbed many lapsed IABC members over the last decade. IABC intends to combine its improved infrastructure and an increasingly visible membership to drive growth and, importantly, regain the trust and activism of former members.

Concludes Ginger, “It’s about being more relevant, and about being more collaborative, cooperative and inspiring. Combine that with the connections we create, and we are set to deliver a compelling proposition.  We’re at an inflection point. The sky is the limit and we’d like you to join us.”

Featured, Internal Communication Strategy

From “Centralization” to “Centrality” – a transformation making internal communication more relevant and scalable

Increase impact. Reduce noise. Become more relevant. Integrate platforms. Create more connectedness.

These are some of the demands that internal communicators are hearing most loudly these days.

In my 30+ interviews with global internal comms practitioners for Happeo’s research into The Present and Future of Internal Communication, there is an overriding trend emerging as they tackle these combined challenges.

I’m calling it the move from “centralization” to “centrality” – a move from communicators being tasked with delivering and managing an overly broad range of controlled communication channels, to overseeing a leaner, more authoritative, and increasingly interactive portfolio built around a common platform.

To learn more about the trend from “centralization” to “centrality,” download the second Happeo Report on the Present and Future of Internal Communication.

Recognizing external channels and unleashing internal platforms

The core idea behind this transformation is that employees have the choice of using external channels to communicate with each other, and to monitor the organization’s communication with the outside world.  

While some organizations bristle at this “loss of control,” internal communicators are increasingly taking it as a cue to relent from having to take end-to-end responsibility for communicating with employees. Rather than trying to suppress access to external channels or diminish their credibility, they are taking the initiative to make their own channels more authoritative, easier to use, and better integrated with the day-to-day work and interactions that make up the flow of organizational life.

One practitioner described the philosophy behind this approach:

“Every time we give employees a communication, we give them a problem, a decision they need to make.  We need to reduce the number of non-essential decisions they have to make.”

Centrality, as it is emerging in internal communication, combines a simplified approach to content and interactions with the use of one or very few authoritative channels and a messaging style that drives prioritization. As unofficial messages and platforms proliferate around the business, the leaner and sharper internal channels aim to cut through the noise, and help clarify expectations for employees.

Centrality drives scalability – in both directions

Internal communication has historically been a function seen mainly in companies with more than 1000 employees. The proliferation of channels and activities has been particularly pronounced in large organizations, and the movement towards centrality will likely make IC more scalable and efficient in large companies.  

But the move towards centrality also enables a more compelling case for formal internal communication for smaller organizations engaging employees in multiple locations.

They too can consider internal communication as a means of driving focus on prioritization and clarifying expectations. They can even consider IC as an alternative to moving to common physical headquarters or investing as heavily in new layers of management as they grow.  The use of a common communication platform, with news, enterprise social networks, common calendars and document sharing, can be used to create a “sense of place” and help clarify ambiguities in small dispersed workforces as they do in larger organizations.

The main barrier is the current lack of a business model to get sufficient IC expertise into smaller organizations. Few small organizations have communication staff in general, much less any with deep IC expertise.  But the ability of certain technology platforms to automate many IC implementation tasks could make it possible for organizations to acquire IC expertise through other means to make the best use of those platforms – either by upskilling their own staff in line with the spread of global standards, obtaining it on a consulting basis through platform vendors, or even by hiring dedicated full or part-time resource.

If smaller firms begin to see IC as a viable alternative to over-reliance on line management, or to physically gathering employees in common locations, it is also likely that the IC practitioners who are hired by smaller firms will play a much more central leadership role in those firms. This could prove the clearest – and least expected – route to the “seat at the table” that IC pros have historically sought.  

A huge shift

Whether it drives the streamlining of channels in large companies, or enables greater coherence and velocity in smaller ones, the trend from “centralization” to “centrality” has huge implications for practitioners, vendors and enterprises alike.  Reducing noise, increasing impact and creating clarity are clear ways for IC practitioners to add value. Embracing centrality will give them much wider opportunities to do so.


PR and IC – are the “goals” the same?

Image result for soccer rugby goal posts

Two of the common pieces of advice these days in the communication world are “avoid sports analogies” and “be more visual.”

In this case, I honor the latter to make the former easier to take. Because I find it difficult to otherwise illustrate the fundamental differences between internal communication and public relations, especially to PR types who think what we do is simply “internal PR.”

For me, saying “internal comms is really just internal PR because the skills are the same – writing, planning, organization and audience definition” totally ignores the specific context of organizational life, and the unique skill required to engage, position and prioritize in an internal context.

Context is everything. And this is where I break out the sports videos.

Football, Rugby and American Football each allow teams to kick goals to score points. But just as internal comms isn’t quite the same as PR, kicking goals in each sport requires different skills in different contexts.

In Rugby, you can either kick goals from a stationary position or on the move. Like this “drop goal.”

It’s worth three points. You score when you aim the ball above the bar.

In American Football, you only kick goals from a stationary position. Like this “field goal”:

It’s also worth three points. Like in Rugby, you score when you aim the ball above the bar.

In Soccer, goals from a stationary position are rare, like this “free kick” by Tottenham hero Christian Eriksen:

This goal is “only” worth one point. You score by aiming the ball below the bar.

The siren song of false efficiency

So, for efficiency’s sake, should we harmonize our goal-scoring strategy by always aiming above the bar?

How is that different from emailing links to the earnings call to your production employees. Or simply posting a press release on your intranet?

It’s not. Internal comms and PR are not the same game, even though many of the same principles apply.

Two disciplines, not two professions

Watch the American Football field goal again. Pay attention to the kicker. He is University of Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone.

Rafael is from Brazil. He played soccer through his childhood, and learned to score goals below the bar. As a high school student in the US, he still played soccer:

and also learned to play American Football and kick the ball above the bar.

Rafael is a kicker. He can do both. But he knows the difference between the two.

Kicking in American Football, Rugby and Soccer are similar activities. But they are different disciplines – with different rules, different contexts, and applying common skills in different and distinct ways.

Similarly, IC and PR are different disciplines. It’s possible for people who are good at one to be good at the other, and with IC/PR convergence accelerating, it’s where we need to be. But the difference in technique, positioning and impact can be decisive.

Indeed, they can be the difference between winning and losing. And why lose for the sake of “efficiency?”



Toronto/Delft: The Gorilla Games, an internal communication essay contest challenging practitioners to boldly and creatively address challenging hypothetical internal comms scenarios, came to a successful conclusion today, with Stephen Welch of Eleven Consulting winning Gold and Rachel Frazer of MAG (Manchester Airport) winning Silver.  

These UK-based winners were joined on the podium by the internal communications team of Euroclear in Belgium, led by Anne-Sophie Duchene, independent practitioner Gaurav Ghose of Canada, Terry Hart of Designing Successful Change in the United States and UK-based entrants Debbie Aurelius (Peppermint Fish) and Frank Dias (Lloyd’s) winning Bronze.

The winning entries will be compiled into a white paper by lead sponsor ContactMonkey and available for download in February. The judges and winners will also appear on a Webinar scheduled for March.

“This was a bold experiment – and I’m delighted that we had winners that genuinely challenge norms and practices in the internal communication space,” said co-sponsor and Lead Judge Mike Klein of Netherlands-based consultancy Changing The Terms. “The spread of winners, covering in-house and consultancy and a range of geography made for vivid scenarios that are relevant to IC pros everywhere.”

“We were delighted with the entries, and the winners certainly embodied the ‘gorilla’ spirit we were looking for,” added Scott Pielsticker, CEO of ContactMonkey. “We were also thrilled to have the opportunity to give the IC community a push to be more bold, daring and innovative, and look beyond over-used tactics and one-size-fits-all solutions.”

Mike was joined on the judging panels by UK-based judges Silke Brittain and Neil Jenkins, US-based Jason Anthoine and Ashli Davis, and Canada’s Priya Bates. The panelists judged the entries based on innovative thought leadership and use of creativity.

Participants entering the contest were invited to submit entries in response to a number of common scenarios within the internal communication profession and apply a “guerrilla” approach as a solution.

The Gorilla Games competition was officially launched on November 1, 2018 by ContactMonkey, an email tracking service for internal communication professionals, and Changing the Terms, an internal communication consultancy based in the Netherlands, in an effort to jumpstart the flow of new thought leadership and content into the internal communication profession.

ContactMonkey is based in Toronto, Ontario and focuses on innovative solutions for internal communications professionals with its out-of-the-box solution to email building, tracking, and analyzing for Outlook. It is the only solution that enables you to measure individual and overall employee email engagement and send beautiful responsive HTML emails from Outlook to Outlook distribution lists using their intuitive drag and drop Email Template Builder.

Changing the Terms (CTT) is based in Delft in the Netherlands and works through a global network of relationships. Mike Klein, CTT Principal, is one of the world’s leading internal communication bloggers, and is the author of “From Lincoln to LinkedIn,” a communication manual outlining guerrilla-style approaches.

For more information please contact:

Katie Liston, Head of Marketing at ContactMonkey


Mike Klein, Principal, Changing The Terms



New Podcast with Happeo

Pleased to announce the airing of my latest podcast, this time with Happeo on our research into “the present and future of Internal Communication”.

You will find a link to the podcast, as well as an excerpted transcript here:




The present and future of Internal Communication: Introducing the Happeo IC research series


Late last year, I was given an offer I couldn’t refuse.  

Happeo, a digital workplace vendor based in Amsterdam, asked me to do an in-depth research study looking at the present and future of internal communication.  

As someone who has been a practitioner, commentator and agitator in the IC field, the opportunity to look qualitatively at what practitioners think about what is going on in and around our profession – and to have the remit to seek input from those who employ us as consultants, managers and specialists – is proving interesting, exciting, and more than a little alarming.

My research has six parts, each based on twelve conversations.  The goal – to identify the gap between where we are and where we need to be, and what our stakeholders will demand of us to deliver and demonstrate value as the world around us accelerates and changes.

The first report covers the current state of internal communication as leading practitioners see it. The second, which I am currently completing, addresses how practitioners see the near-term future.  Additional reports will cover measurements and business cases, how corporate communicators perceive internal comms and what senior managers and leaders will need as the overall business environment changes.

You can find the first report here:

If the first report is any indication, the series has the potential to serve as a much-needed wake-up call for a profession whose fundamental importance is exceeded only by its collective difficulty in illustrating that importance to the people who depend on it.

This is sponsored research – and Happeo has an agenda to make itself known as an emerging leader in the internal communication space. And, in giving me, a credentialled advocate for a strategic, dynamic and sustainable approach to IC, free rein to define questions and select a global panel of active in-house IC practitioners and consultants, there is a commitment to do so by identifying fundamental issues and empowering practitioners to confront them.

Through the articles, reports and events connected with this research, my intent is to help change the conversation around our profession – and leave people prepared and empowered for what lies ahead.  If you want to discuss, please ping me at