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Five things I learnt at the IoIC

After a confusing experience driving around the Leicester ring road and a much-needed cup of recovery coffee, 44’s Emily New sat down at the Institute of Internal Communication’s (IoIC) central region seminar, pen in hand. Here are the top five things she learnt…

Lipstick, robots and the Star Trek Enterprise were all referenced at this year’s IoIC regional seminar.

These references alone were enough to pique my personal interest – and let’s not forget that one of Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s famous phrases aboard the Enterprise was ‘Engage’.  However, the real theme to the seminar was all about understanding the true importance of purpose in Internal Communications (IC) in 2016 (#ICpurpose) – a running topic which formed the basis of five presentations (you can find out more about the speakers here).

Reaffirming the idea of purpose was a worthy topic, but there were some other important themes which reoccurred over the course of the afternoon. These included making an emotional connection, embracing new digital platforms, and preparing for future change – while also taking stock of the present situation within the IC industry.

So – *cue Top of the Pops music* – here are the top five things I learnt (and yes, how to drive in Leicester without a Satnav will sit as an unexpected but important sixth lesson).

1. The average IC professional is…

… female, between the ages of 25 and 55, and probably working in London or the Southeast.

This was all part of recent research conducted by the VMA group after a survey of more than 500 IC professionals. The survey also found that the IC sector on the whole is growing, with more jobs available and bigger teams in place. More interesting statistics from this research can be found here.

2. When Monday morning arrives, a third of all employees may feel excited to go to work, but a third of employees still feel disengaged.

The other third sit somewhere ambivalently in the middle, said Cathy Brown, executive director at Engage For Success.

To reach out to this disengaged third, Cathy and the Engage for Success Taskforce have put together four ‘enablers’ for success in terms of engaging a workforce – and you can read more about them here.

3. The world – and the way we work within it – is changing.

The days of being ignored as a customer are over.  We’ve all seen customer complaints on Twitter being answered in lightning speed by anxious customer service teams reluctant to promote bad service to the digital masses (check out a few classics here).

But now, alongside these social media channels sit websites like GlassDoor – new social and digital platforms that allow employees to share their opinions on the companies they work for (good and bad). It’s no longer just a good idea to give employees a voice and address any issues – it’s imperative and can be directly linked to a company’s online success and reputation.

4. Make an emotional connection – not just with your employees…

Natalie Deacon, executive director of brand & corporate communications at AVON, spoke about the company’s rebranding campaign which set out to unify AVON representatives, prospective reps and existing employees across the globe. Its success was attributed to placing employee stories very much at the centre of the campaign – creating an emotional connection between the company, its purpose and its people.

5. …but also with your audience

A later presentation by Craig Millar from Resonate Speech (pictured above) also reinforced the power of emotive storytelling – but this time within the context of public speaking. He referenced a popular TEDtalk by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, whose TED topic of choice was to argue why there are too few women leaders. To make her compelling point, Sheryl also drew upon her personal experiences of balancing a family and busy working life in order to really resonate with her audience. You can watch Sheryl’s TEDtalk here.

Click here to find out how we got on later that evening at the IoIC Central region awards…

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