It was an interesting statement and one I think we (as internal communicators) often discuss at various conferences looking at the future of the industry.
His statement was interesting because he doesn’t have very much to do with internal comms and if he thinks that, then do people at the top think the same?
My answer? Internal comms is such a broad heading that it could go anywhere. Some internal comms colleagues are copy writers and the role is additional to other responsibilities, whereas others are strategically linked to the business advising leaders on messaging and working right through the business.
It is this broadness that lets us down. People in business, like my colleague, who don’t have a huge understanding of internal communication have every right to think what he said. We haven’t looked into the specialisms within our industry in enough detail to give them merit. Our HR team includes specialists in recruitment, learning and development (and within that there are coaches, online specialists etc.) business partners, payroll and legal advice specialists… The roles are defined and respected. Yet for the internal communications department we vary from company to company and there seems to be little consistency on what the core roles needed are – what they non-negotiable ingredients are for an internal comms team.
If you were setting up a company tomorrow you would need all those elements of HR and you would know it – what would you want from internal communications?
Am I now worried about being pigeon holed into the profession of internal communication? Absolutely not… But I think we need to stop talking about where we sit in an organisation, or where the future is and nail what this profession actually stands for and what specialisms sit within it