Location of Repository

The Changing Role of Internal Communications. Are Required Practitioner Competencies Keeping Pace with the Opportunities and Challenges?

By Sally Chalmers

Abstract

“Internal communications have advanced a long way from the management-sponsored house journals of yesteryear to well-organized systems of internal communication.” (Baines, Egan and Jefkins, 2004, p. 312) .\ud Over the years the role of the internal communications practitioner has changed considerably. Rather than controlling and directing employees through providing information, today’s practitioners need to focus on involving and engaging employees and help employees to be flexible and deal with constant change and innovation effectively (Keenan and Hazelton, 2006). \ud The focus has moved from journalistic skills, emphasising expertise in writing and editing, drafting messages (Tench and Yeomans, 2006) and ensuring that communication channels are open (Tourish and Hargie, 1998). Today’s practitioners concentrate on engaging employees, involving them in business improvement (Tench and Yeomans, 2006), stimulating thinking, creating opportunities to participate, networking of know-how, provoking ideas generation and developing employees’ sense of what is achievable (Tourish and Hargie, 1998).\ud This paper seeks to identify, through literature review, the role of the internal communications practitioner presented in contemporary public relations, internal communication and employee communications texts. The key competency themes isolated are: understanding people in organisations; strategic focus; planning and process management; change management; coaching and consultation; communications through technology; tactical skills; management competencies; sectoral knowledge and professional knowledge. \ud To discover the extent to which these themes are reflected in the competencies demanded of internal communication practitioners today a content analysis of job advertisements was undertaken. Advertisements appearing between January 2007 and March 2008 in the UK’s PR Week, and between March and May 2008 on the UK Jobshop page of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations website, were studied. \ud This paper concludes that senior internal communication personnel are indeed required to have strategic focus alongside tactical skills and that in particular their ability to work effectively with senior management, integrate their work with that of other functions, deal effectively with ambiguity, network and build relationships are valued. At a non-managerial level tactical skills remain key and practitioners need to be able to use technology for communication. Research skills and the ability to deal with people at all levels are also valued. Across all roles reference is made to competency in change management, understanding people in organisations and providing coaching and consultancy. \ud The paper concludes that, although today’s internal communication practitioner roles are broader and more strategic than literature suggests was previously the case (Baines, Egan and Jefkins, 2004), the requirement for expertise in tactical skills, now including use of technology for communication, remains

OAI identifier: oai:eresearch.qmu.ac.uk:568

Suggested articles

Preview

Citations

  1. (2002). A r g e n t i doi
  2. (2008). An investigation into the skills needed to work in public relations and the recruitment processes involved, unpublished dissertation,
  3. (2008). An investigation into the skills needed to work in public relations and the recruitment processes involved, unpublished dissertation, Queen Margar e t Univer s i t y , Edinbu r g h .
  4. (2005). Analyzing Media Messages:Using Quantitative Content Analysis doi
  5. (2005). Analyzing Media Messages:Using Quantitative Content Analysis in Research, doi
  6. (1998). Auditi ng staff- ma nage ment communication in schoo l s : a frame wo r k for evalua t i o n perfo r ma n c e ” ,
  7. (1998). Auditing staff-management communication in schools: a framework for evaluation performance”, doi
  8. C o n r a d , C.,(1994 ), Strategic Organizational Communication: Toward the Twenty-First Century , Harcou r t Brace: Fort Worth.
  9. (2002). Change communication: using strate g i c employ e e commun i c a t i o n to facil i t at e major chang e ”,
  10. (2002). Change communication: using strategic employee communication to facilitate major change”, doi
  11. (2003). Charte r e d Instit ut e of Person n e l Develo p me n t ,
  12. (2008). Communic a t o r s in Busines s ,
  13. (2003). Corporate Conversations : A Guide to Crafting Effective and Appropriate Internal Communications. Saranac Lake,
  14. (2008). editors as corporate gatekeepers and agenda setters”, doi
  15. (2007). Effective Communication: A Leading Indicator of Financial Performance -
  16. (1987). Effective employee communication in
  17. (1987). Effective employee communication in Hart, N (ed). Effective Corporate Relations.
  18. (2005). Effective Internal Communication,
  19. (1993). Emplo y e e percept i o n s of the relati o ns h i p betwee n communic a t i o n and product i vi t y : a field stud y” ,
  20. (1993). Employee perceptions of the relationship between communication and productivity: a field study”, doi
  21. (1992). Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  22. (2004). Harkne s s , J in Theake r , A.,
  23. (2005). How the PR Profession Ca n Flourish in this New Digital Age".
  24. (2005). How the PR Profession Can Flourish in this New Digital Age".
  25. (2007). How to Develop Outstanding Internal Communicators ,
  26. (2007). How to Develop Outstanding Internal Communicators,
  27. (2007). IC: UK 2006/7. The definitive analysis of current internal communication practice. (on-line), http://theworkfoundation.com/Assets/PDFs/ICUK_final1.pdf, accessed 1
  28. (2006). Interna l Public Re lations, Social Capital, and the Role of Effective Organizational Communic a t i o n ”
  29. (2008). Internal comms. holds its own in difficult financial climate.
  30. (2002). Internal Communication during change manage me n t ” doi
  31. (2002). Internal Communication during change management”, doi
  32. (2003). Internal Communications.
  33. (2006). Internal Public Relations, Social Capital, and the Role of Effective Organizational Communication”
  34. (2008). Interp e r s o n a l communi c a t i on skills that enhanc e organi s a t i o n a l commit me n t ” ,
  35. (2008). Interpersonal communication skills that enhance organisational commitment”, doi
  36. (2004). Key Issues in Organizational Communication, doi
  37. (2008). Lehmusk a l l i o , S.,
  38. (1984). Managing Public Relations.
  39. (1984). Managing Public Relations. Fort Worth, Tex.: Harcou r t Brace Jovano v i c h .
  40. (2006). McClene g h a n , J.S.,
  41. (2001). New approa c h e s to commun i c a t i o n manag e me n t for transfo r ma t i o n and change in organis a t i o n s ”,
  42. (2004). Organizational Communication in an Age of Globalization: Issues, Reflections, Practices , Wavela n d , Long Grove, Illino i s .
  43. (2004). PR skill s vs., perso n a l skill s: What matte r s most to the boss? ” , Public Relations Tactics ,
  44. (2004). PR skills vs., personal skills: What matters most to the boss?”, Public Relations Tactics,
  45. (1999). Pract i t i o n e r s and the Worl d Wide Web: Invol v e me n t in Web Sites is Crucial ” , Public Relations Quarterly,
  46. (1999). Practitioners and the World Wide Web: Involvement in Web Sites is Crucial”, Public Relations Quarterly,
  47. (2001). Public relatio n s a nd new media technolo g y : the impact of the interne t ”
  48. (2001). Public relations and new media technology: the impact of the internet” in doi
  49. (2008). Public Relations: Concepts, Practice and Critique. doi
  50. (2004). Public Relations: Contemporary issues and techniques,
  51. (2004). Public Relations: Contemporary issues and techniques, Elsevier Butterwo r t h - H e i n e ma n n .
  52. (2006). Strategic Intr anets: the next big thing?”,
  53. (2006). Strategic Intranets: the next big thing?”, doi
  54. (2005). Strategic Organizational Communication in a Global Economy , Thoms o n Wadswo r t h : Belmon t ,
  55. (2005). Strategic Organizational Communication in a Global Economy,
  56. (2002). The Power of Corporate Communication: Crafting the Voice and Image of Your Business, doi
  57. (2001). The Public Relations Handbook . doi
  58. (2004). The Public Relations Handbook,
  59. (2001). The Public Relations Handbook. doi
  60. (2007). The Role of Internal Communication and Training in Infusing Corpor a t e Values and Delive r i n g
  61. (2007). The Role of Internal Communication and Training in Infusing Corporate Values and Delivering Brand Promise: doi
  62. (2003). The supervisor: The linchpin of employee relat i o n s” , doi
  63. (2003). The supervisor: The linchpin of employee relations”, doi
  64. (2007). Watso n Wy att World w i d e . Effective Communication: A Leading Indicator of Financial Performance -
  65. (2007). Work Founda t i o n (The),

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.