One of the biggest challenges internal communicators have faced over the years is difficulty in accessing research that is both relevant to guiding our work and to making a case for our roles to leaders and managers.
From that perspective, “The Next Level: Global IC Report,” IC Kollectif’s report on the state of the internal communication discipline, is a game-changer. Aside from providing personal insights from top in-house communicators, a rare achievement considering the many communication constraints placed on in-house pros—the report includes a collection of the top pieces of pertinent communication research for IC professionals.
In doing so, IC Kollectif has supplied real insights into a number of key issues we face:
- Drivers of IC activity in large organizations
- Behavior and practices of effective communication professionals
- Challenges faced by IC professionals in acquiring “trusted advisor” status with senior and C-level leaders
- Gaps between emphasis on business performance versus “engagement”
- Effective and actionable measurement standards versus reliance on easily obtained if less meaningful measures
- Alignment or “convergence” between internal and external communication (full disclosure – I helped with the analysis on this section)
Personally, I have long been calling for someone – anyone – to collate and curate the relevant research in the field to make a common set of understandings available to practitioners. IC Kollectif deserves massive kudos.
In doing so, the gaps in our collective knowledge and evidence base also become apparent as well. Rather than re-conducting the research that IC Kollectif has already assembled, we have other pressing questions that we need to look at:
- Value of IC investments: major IC interventions like mobile applications, enterprise social networks, organizational network analysis, engagement surveys and management conferences involve substantial costs. Where is the ROI? And can we figure out a common way of assessing the ROI of these investments?
- Relationship between employee engagement scores and organizational performance: . How can we put the focus on engagement scores to bed in the minds of leaders and senior managers?
- : can we use the measurement standards cited in the report to come up with common, fit-for-purpose measurement methodologies and tools that are easy, quick, and cheap to use?
It is my hope that we can focus on getting the support and sponsorship we need to tackle these questions quickly and convincingly. Answering these questions, in my view, will be what takes us to a level beyond.