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Strategic connection: the key of internal communication

At a 4P square café, we had the pleasure of listening to Peter Op de Beeck. The topic was Internal Communication (IC). He presented his new book “Strategisch Verbinden”. It discusses how IC is key to generate impact and engagement. The three subjects of his presentation are summarized in this blog article.

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The relevance of internal communication

How it started

Nowadays, internal communication is a popular topic. But this was not the case last century. It started in the 50s when there was a need for IC and the first “corporate journalists” were born.

From the 70s on, IC needed to be incorporated as a discipline on its own. This has evolved in an IC specialist whose purpose is more than communicating to and entertaining employees.

Where it is now

Numerous models try to explain the role of an IC professional. For example, the 3R model of Ron van der Jagt: realization, regie and reputation. However, all these models have on thing in common. The function is evolving towards a strategic policy instrument.

How it was affected by COVID-19 crisis

The pandemic of last year has changed the way of working. Evidently, IC needed to adapt and respond to these changes. The focus was shift to specific types of communication. For example, crisis-, change- and strategic communication as well as employee engagement became more important.

Contemporary expectations of internal communication

When looking at Belgian organizations, some very disturbing results were found. The employee engagement is very low. Only 12% of Belgian employees are actively engaged. This shows the difficulty of making employees ambassadors in a company.

In addition, there are some new challenges concerning IC:

  • First, in most organizations three generations are working together. There are differences between them and in how they communicate.
  • Secondly, IC needs output that can be translated to an outcome.
  • Finally, middle management needs some extra attention. Some managers just aren’t so good in communicating and need to be supported in this area.

Strategic connection

Atomium model

Peter explained IC through the Atomium-model with IC as the middle sphere of the Atomium. It holds all spheres together through different connections. However, it is still standing on its own. This illustrates the unique position and function that it holds in an organization.

Strategic connection

Furthermore, the term “strategic connection” consists of two components: strategy and connecting. Both are crucial for internal communication to be impactful. First, the strategic part. IC professionals do not need to make the strategy themselves. But they need to help facilitate those strategical changes in companies. Last, connection is a key-factor of IC. This connection is needed at and between different levels. For example, between the employee and the job, and different departments, but also between the company and public.

Personal key-takeaways

To end this article, I will share some personal key-takeaways:

  • IC is more than communicating to employers.
  • IC is needed in and between all parts of an organization.
  • It is important for big, but also small companies as it has multiple benefits and functions.

About the author

Silke is an enthusiastic marketeer, currently working as a Marketing Consultant at 4P square. She has a master in Communication and Business Economics. Silke has a passion for and knowledge of digital marketing and branding. She is analytical, result-driven and with her can-do attitude she is not afraid to take on new challenges.

Want to know more about Silke? Feel free to start a conversation with her on LinkedIn.

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