Align, drive or engage – can all three come together?


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Everything I am reading about what 2016 will bring to internal communications is about employee engagement. And at a time when I’m putting pen to paper on my own communications strategy it got me thinking about what it does in my organisation – and I’m not sure employee engagement is on the list. Writing that down/saying it out loud has been filling me with guilt about whether I’m doing something wrong, or whether the function is not doing what it should. So I took to Twitter with the thought “Is internal communications just about employee engagement?”… And I’m not alone.

In the past week I have had various conversations about internal communication. Some outside my organisation where they have talked about how good an organisation can be on alignment of message rather than engagement and another internal discussion was all about how we drive the message through the business.

Neither talk about doing this in a way that is engaging. So when I read all these articles about engagement being the main focus for 2016 I’m not surprised, but I’m also not sure where it really fits.

I have been in an organisation on a cultural journey. And at the moment all we want to do is get the message out through the business and get everyone on the same page. This isn’t about engaging them in the strategy, it’s about getting some basics right to help us achieve the strategy. And getting them engaged in it, for some, is not my job, but the job of the line manager and the leadership. My job is to show them the right channels to deliver the message to see success. And success, is a change in a behaviour.

So can you change behaviour through internal communication without considering engagement? Is an alignment to the strategy considered engagement? Only time will tell.

Is employee engagement the only thing internal communication should focus on? If you work in my team the answer is no.

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