I suspect it has and the debate is mostly about semantics and definition of terms.
I suspect it has and the debate is mostly about semantics and definition of terms.
It’s been interesting to watch as CommScrum and the CommScrum LinkedIn Group establish themselves, grow and indeed seem to fluorish. It highlights that so-called social media (or really technologically-enabled social communications) mimic their bricks and mortar counterparts.
Blog = newspaper. And comments are just faster “Letters to the editor.” With a blogroll.
LinkedIn Group = a community of people who come together to discuss and debate and hopefully enjoy their association and are richer for it. For free. In a virtual 24/7 coffee house.
The same rules are true:
- Say something that is relevant and interesting (to them, not you)
- Let people talk about it
It isn’t that complicated.
Big title. Small post. Probably repetitive. Potentially more for me than for you. Notes, as a blog posting. You be the judge.
1. Internal/external blurring and associated challenges to organisational functions and traditional segmentation & channel management.
2. Consolidation and blurring (see1) of functional roles vis a vis strategy, values, operational efficiency, organisational change, employee brand engagement, HR.
3. Dawning realisation that real time conversations are trumping traditional internal (and external) communication approaches.
4. Sea change in “audience” expectations of, consumption patterns, and ability to produce/share media.
1. Speed. It all has to happen faster now in order to work.
2. Seamlessness. It has to be more than “cross-functional shared ownership” although that’s a start. The traditional organisational model is no longer appropriate for our times.
3. Interactivity. Both generational theory and technology, as well as engagement practice, amply demonstrate that interactive dialogue must improve. A divide is forming between communicating information and communicating.
4. Ownership. “Ownership” of (a) external audiences; (b) internal audiences; and (c) “communication” is a fallacy and interferes with (1)(2) and (3) .
SAS is honoured to work with Tim Rich on a number of projects each year.
Tim blogs about the recent Dyson Ball advertisement from The Guardian. It is not only insightful, incisive, inspiring but I laughed out loud several times. Honestly, the ad in question is like a parody of bad writing in advertising. The grammar isn’t even correct, much less the content making any sense.
This is why I seldom allow myself the vanity of writing copy for projects these days. I’m a trained journalist, a published author and I do a bit of my own copy here and there, so I consider myself to be a good writer – but it isn’t my profession. Some communicators get the two mixed up. And perhaps some marketing types and engineers if this ad it to be believed.
Be sure to read the comments too.
Malavika R Harita is the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Focus in India and one of my colleagues in the MS&L Group Brand & Talent Practice that I head globally. I asked Malavika to provide an insight into the Indian talent communication and employee engagement market – I hope that you find this guest blog on DTIM as interesting as I do!
The Young and the Restless Indian
Young. Restless. Ambitious. Probably less than focused. Trying to prove a point in an extremely competitive environment, there were 1.2 billion of us at last count. In a hurry. To get that car, that house, that foreign posting. All that Dad never had.
Born in New India. Not the India their parents grew up in, where simple living and high thinking were the order of the day. Where frugality, thrift, and saving for a rainy day thrived. The India we call “Bharath”. Very different from the globalized India we are today with increasing consumerism, Westernization (the jury is still out on whether that is a good or bad thing), and a completely different set of priorities.
The Challenges of Engagement
We therefore have a workforce, most of whom are first generation educated, from smaller cities and rural areas, suddenly thrust into large cities where they have to adapt. To a new culture. To new friends. To tough work environments. And to living away from the family. A brutal severing of the umbilical cord, so to speak. And the freedom which most of them have never experienced before coming as they do from very sheltered, family oriented backgrounds.
From an employer perspective you therefore need to provide the ballast to anchor them to an organization and prevent them from drifting away. There are so many opportunities available, particularly if you are half smart. In boom time, 3 years ago, every engineering graduate had 7 to 8 job offers in hand before they even completed their course. Things have changed now and the current slow-down has come as a tremendous shock to a generation who has never suffered privation before. It has in some ways been a good thing because our traditional Indian way of thinking has re-asserted itself where we value security and loyalty above money alone. Or is that wishful thinking on my part?
2009: The year of HRM
This was one of the toughest years for HR professionals in India. For the first time since India globalized a decade ago, they were faced with downsizing, lay-offs, managing with lean workforces, counseling, retaining key people, training, retraining, and all this with no monetary incentives to leverage.
The true test will be now. How do you continue to be frugal in terms of compensation but retain employees in spite of the job market opening up again?
Old vs New
During the boom traditional sectors like manufacturing, hospitality, advertising, and other services lost out to the burgeoning IT, ITES, media telecom, and financial sectors who sucked in anyone with a basic degree and offered them humongous salaries. The premise being they needed arms and legs to just cope with the exponential growth. During the downturn traditional businesses, which are also globalizing, but at a slower pace, have become more attractive in terms of opportunities, remuneration and stability and the balance is tilting slightly away from the IT sector as a preferred destination.
The talent market is also maturing so employees are beginning to ask discerning questions and form perceptions and opinions about prospective employers. The blind rush of the early 2000’s is over. As in any mature market, employees now need to be convinced that they are making the right choices.
The role of communication
The traditional blue and white collar workers of yore who were contented with HR circulars, have been replaced with the more educated, smarter knowledge worker of today. Traditional organizations however still need to adjust to the concept of an open, transparent organization where the power of choice has shifted from the employer to the employee. The other bigger change is the power of the net, and in India, the mobile, for initiating and sustaining dialogs between people.
In my opinion, 2010-11 is the year for building strong Talent Brands in India. Organizations that have the vision and invest the time and resources to do this will emerge not just stronger in terms of existing employee loyalty but more importantly, is right up there in every potential employee’s consideration set.
State of the Union
India is not virgin territory with regard to talent branding. We have organizations that are way up the scale while others pay lip service to the concept of employee engagement. So while there is a lot of overall activity it does not seem to be part of a sustained, strategically directed plan, barring a few organizations who walk the talk. The result is that employee communication gets low priority in the scheme of things since the impact, if any, is not measurable.
Employee branding is the purview of the HR department. The traditional conflict between marcom, marketing, and HR exists with each protecting his/her turf. However with expanding, geographically dispersed workforces, the boundaries are blurring and the current trend is towards an integrated approach giving employee communication a marketing and PR spin. Tangible results are yet to be seen but the seeds of change have been sown.
The full power of digital media has also not been harnessed by most organizations in this space, barring a few. Probably because of the fear that with digital media it’s all out there and you have to learn to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly. A basic lack of understanding that P2P conversations will happen away irrespective of whether the organization is involved or not.
The way I see it, effective talent branding needs a long-term perspective, but most organizations in India are so busy meeting the quarter’s targets in terms of just recruitment that they do not look at the bigger picture of building interest, of building loyalty, of building Lovemarks.
Malavika Harita, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Focus, India
Current Indian population: 1.2 billion.
Estimated to reach 1.53 billion by 2030
|500 million people in the workforce growing by about 20 million each year for the next 10 years.Median age: 24.4 years|
|More than 400,000 tech grads, 2.3 million graduates in other disciplines, over 300,000 post grads every year. (Are they all employable is a subject for another post!)|
I often have “interesting” conversations about social media as a facilitator for social communication where I argue that exclusivity and social media are not mutaully exclusive. Here’s a great example of an anti-LinkedIn that, if you make the grade, is rather remarkable.
Timely article I just wrote for People Management…. as ….
… SAS has been selected to work with the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) on an exciting new project. It’s about raising the profile and attractiveness of HR as a career and moving it from its current perception of being repetitive, bureaucratic and dull to a more accurate (in most cases) reflection of how vibrant an HR career can actually be. What a great opportunity to put some of this systems thinking malarky into action!
In the eye of a pitching hurricane at the moment. Interesting that this aligns with a post over at IoIC (formerly CiB) where they quote a VMA study that comms has remained bullish in the recession, more or less.
At any rate, a number of organisations have approached us with very concrete “employee engagement” challenges that must culminate in external stakeholder relationship management at a number of levels. None of this implicit, nebuolous “brand engagement” theory but real-life, tangible inside-out stuff.
Which is fantastic. The tide has turned, or at least some pennies have dropped in some more progressive organisations that audiences are not “owned” or captively-managed by independent organisational silos.
And this is more than just “cross functional” team work – it’s actual belt and braces strategic acknowledgement of this blurring of lines.
What’s equally exciting is the (apparent – I’ll let you know if we win) appetite for social media and employee generated content as opposed to top-down corporate BS.
The biggest obstacle? Continues to be fear of change and fear of “loss of control”. Which is really the loss of the illusion of control.
Silverstone Racecourse – United Kingdom 8 June 2010
I was pondering some CommScrum discussions recently, about competence and confidence and which is more important. The debate is that it’s more important to have confidence than to have a list of specific communication competencies that someone, somewhere (probably running a “Black Belt” training course) has decided are what you need to do your job well.
I strongly believe that confidence, for better or for worse, trumps competence on the basis that competency can be acquired, but confidence is a less tangible attribute.
I am a motorcycling enthusiast and have completed Level 3 out of 4 levels at California Superbike School here in the UK. Yesterday morning in the Midlands at 7 a.m. I rolled up to Silverstone Circuit – a very wide, very fast Formula 1 track that will host the MotoGP in coming years. I have to admit trepidation, since I did a track day here a couple of years ago and hit the rev limiter on my bike in 6th gear on the back straight every time. It is a very fast, very scary track in the dry weather.
And it was dumping down rain. The track was soaked. Motorcycles and rain are not a good combination.
As we kicked off the morning safety briefing, the lead instructor lit up and said, “Why the long faces? Training in weather like this is going to teach you more about riding than a week on a dry track. Let’s get started…”
The school runs 5 classroom sessions for each group, each session followed by an on-track session with your instructor. So you learn a technique, one that is completely new and untried (unlearning bad habits along the way) and then your instructor tails you and coaches you.
For example, if you want to tighten your line and you are already in the entry to your corner, changing your lean angle will reduce your grip (not the best solution) – so you learn to push your body forward and down. This compresses the front suspension, which shortens the wheelbase of the bike. Shorter wheelbase = tighter arc. Yes, understanding that theory is great, and rational. Then you are expected to apply it to a 130 horsepower bike going into a series of wet corners at speeds some would call dangerous.
So I was shown a competence — “flick turn” — and how to identify how to use it. Then I tried it out and by Jove it worked, as did the 7-8 other competencies I was trained in. Over five track sessions I built up and combined the competencies and by the final session I was nailing my lines, apexing kerbs and driving hard out of corners.
All of this done in weather conditions that were designed to prevent me from doing this – my animal, fear-responsive brain telling me “If you try to maintain this line through this corner at this speed you are going to die.” The new competence gave me the confidence to say back to my brain “Oh yeah? Well, watch me compress the front suspension, smarty pants.”
The scary moments – the bike wobbling at the same point in the same corner every time – got predictable, and manageable. I knew it would destabilise at that point, and not to panic. The rear end trying to slip under acceleration in the wet – I learned to push the outside bar to maintain my weight but reduce the lean angle and increase the contact patch that gives the tyre more grip.
Maybe that’s a long-winded way of recasting the issue. As communicators, of course competence is important. they are the technical building blocks we use. Combined with experience, ideally in the worst possible situation — wet track or hostile takeover — and you learn them faster, and when to predict how they might behave.
Competence plus experience have thus built my confidence immensely.
Ah – and I can hear the voice of Mike Klein already – I had the confidence to get on a motorcycle on a grand prix circuit in the pouring down rain in the first place…