The first ever typology of internal communicators?

Cross posted from CommScrum, I may have inadvertently invented something quite useful based on a lot of feedback.

I’ll work more on this, but in essence there is a lot of convergence of practice as different camps attempt to occupy the employee engagement space, both in-house and agency-side.  Their technical/functional bias tends  to drive their philosophy (naturally) …

The channelers – Very slowly disappearing, and not a minute too soon, dinosaur ex-journalists and newsletter publishers who reduce the role of internal communication to getting “the right information to the right people at the right time”.

The human capitalists – There is a camp that believes it is all about ‘the employee’ – broadly, the HR camp.  It’s about policies, processes, forms, measurement, measurement, measurement, competencies, reward systems and moving levers (The Gallup 12 etc.) to get the most out of people – if they are satisfied, engaged, etc., then they will be more productive.   Business performance links are there, but are tangental outcomes of pandering to the best possible employee experience.  The McLeod report is a great example.  It only mentions ‘brand’ in passing – and then in the context of HR branding internally.

The experientialists – Another camp is the customer experience camp or “brand engagement” – e.g. marketing.  They argue that if employees aren’t focussed on the customer or client, it doesn’t matter how engaged/satisfied they are since that becomes irrelevant (although you can argue cause and effect of course).  You’ll find a lot of brand agencies here.  And they don’t do HR, dahling… On the other hand, they tend to be far more influential and persuasive by nature than HR.

The influencers – A third camp is (and often the most seriously flawed) the PR and change camp, where internal/employee comms is all about defining “publics” and then influencing them using spin and external PR techniques.

The changelings – Communications is change.  Change comes from workstreams.

The executives – It’s all about leadership communication.

The managerials – It’s all about line managers.

The KM brigade – It’s about intranets and managing knowledge.

The storytellers – It’s all about big pictures and stories, since the dawn of time it always has been.

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4 thoughts on “The first ever typology of internal communicators?

  1. Interesting. But aren’t you missing the employee experience experientialists – those that think that if the employee experience [as you’ve said elsewhere from pre-hire to post-‘retirement’] is right and aligned with the brand values all is well…

    I’d like to nominate Human Capitalists as the next to go…

    This from an experientialist [employee and customer], changeling, executive, managerial, story teller – on a good day?

  2. Kevin. Thanks for cross referencing my previous analysis on Macleod.
    https://kevinkeohane.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/hr-vs-marketing-led-engagement/

    I’d like to add some categories if I may…

    “facilitators” – those that help enlighten other leaders, functions, managers on the most appropriate use of engaging communications and encourage a culture of “self service”

    “grit in the oysters” – those that continually challenge organisational leaders and provide the odd pearl of wisdom.

    “the consultants” – those that start every conversation off with “what does success look like?” followed by “what objectives are you trying to achieve?”

    “the professional networkers” – those that seem to have far too much time on their hands attending conferences that they cannot be practitioners.

    “the floor managers” – it’s all about face-to-face events daaarling.

    “the actuaries” – focussed on distribution lists, spreadsheets, databases, measurements, budgets.

    “the Millwalls” – nobody loves us and we don’t care.

    “the semantics” – enough said

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