I believe many internal communications professionals are not appreciating the benefits that collaboration tools can bring. Instead they are seen as a threat to traditional channels used for communicating corporate messages to employees. In my previous post ‘Can collaboration tools improve internal communications?‘ I disagreed with this attitude.
Changing this approach is not a simple task. Before you can consider using any collaboration tools you need to have the right culture within your organisation. I’m afraid the approach of “I’ll start a blog to change the culture” is doomed to failure. You need to have an environment where employees are:
- comfortable using collaborative tools
- encouraged to share information with other employees
- maybe even incentivised to share knowledge online
- able and willing to offer critical comments
- relaxed about constructive feedback on their own views
To achieve this environment you need to have in place the following:
- company values that should cover openness, honesty, and trust
- endorsement and sponsorship by senior managers of the values
- guidance on how employees should behave online
- HR policies that support employee engagement
That means internal communications realising they are not the only people who can communicate using the intranet. Neither are ‘official’ channels the only route to communicate with other employees. To embrace these challenges could mean a redefining of the role of internal communications. How this can be done will be covered in my next post.