Just before Christmas I asked a few friends in internal communication about their development plans for 2016 and they all replied ‘We need to get better at digital”.
Interestingly, people seem to have moved on from the conversations of a couple of years ago. Much of the internal social media hype hasn’t come to pass; the wilder predictions about the nature of human organisations haven’t been realised and may still be many years away.
Rather, people have a clearer understanding about the role of digital in their comms mix and they want to get better at using it. Some of my friends suggested that although they wished they had better tools they felt they were not making the best use of what they had.
Interestingly though, was the consistent theme that IC people had to have a better understanding of the external tools that are available. The message seems to be that convergence is a reality. My ‘sample” included three multi-national organisations where the distinctions between internal and external are becoming very blurred.
Which rather throws up a problem.
How do you go about acquiring the knowledge of skills you need?
There seems to be relatively little formal development opportunity available out there. There are of course plenty of organisations offering training in the mysteries of social media. Some, such as Smile from Simply communicate or the PR Academy even focus on internal social media.
And, one of my friends said that she was working with Melcrum to develop a bespoke training syllabus for her team.
However, another of my friends suggested that the answer lies in watching and copying! She suggested that her ambition is to get her team to embrace the ‘everything digital mind-set’ behind www.gov.uk. Getting out there and practicing and seeing what works for your organisation seems to be the answer.
The over-riding impression that I got from the responses, was that convergence is increasingly the name of the game. It seems that the major organisations I approached all seem to be assuming that the days of pretending that there is a difference between internal and external are numbered…
So, nothing new perhaps, but rather we are just getting closer to a true practice of communication. A convergence, where communication is just communication, not internal, not external, but simply good strong, planned and strategically thought through communication.
Image credit: gratisography.com