WEDNESDAY 8 OCT 2014 10:05 AM


One of the few consensuses that emerged from the CIPR Inside Conference at the Kia Oval last week was that digital, however great, should not be a separate entity within communications. Collaboration, however, was a topic that drew many different viewpoints from those who believed collaboration was dead and those who thought digital was the key to collaboration.

Dana Leeson, digital workplace architect at BSI, shocked attendees and set the tone for conversation throughout the day saying, “The word collaboration is a mythical creature. It went out the window when we had digital tools because collaboration happens when you’re in the same room with someone and you have post-it notes.” She added, “Engagement went away with digital tools.”

Attendees discussed her radical viewpoint throughout the day, as it provided an alternate view to the impact digital has had on internal communications. The conference began with Leeson and three others speaking about different topics, including measurement, employee voice and effecting change. Kevin Ruck, co-founder of the PR Academy, said, “If we can use IC to help employees feel part of the family of an organisation then they are going to be more likely to change and adapt.”

Following the introductory sessions, the room then split into attendee-selected topic-based groups to provoke conversation and discussion. During the digital discussion, views ranged from all in favour of digital to those who were just beginning to dip their toes into the pool. One view, espoused by Rachel Miller, director of AllThingsIC, was that enterprise social networks often fail because they don’t encourage employees to connect in a meaningful way. Miller says, “People stick to what they know and have the same conversations with the same people because it’s low risk.”

Steve Murgatroyd, director at CommunICating, added, “Digital isn’t going to change your business, everything around it is. Digital is going to tell you if your business is changing.”

The second half of the conference focused on case studies. Internal communicators from the DVLA spoke about the digital revolution they had to spark among analogue-era employees. “We were quite honest and transparent in telling them, your roles are going to’ll have a job at the end of it,” said Chris Elias, head of internal communication at DVLA. He discussed the culture change his team spurred through digital and transparent internal comms.

In providing a recap of the conference, three attendees shared what they thought were the valuable lessons learned throughout the day. Stephen Golding, director of internal communication at Tullow Oil, said collaboration stems from a positive working environment, “If you create an environment where people can contribute, it all makes a huge impact on your company.”

When the panel was asked what words they thought defined the day, they responded with, “Story. Collaboration. Measurement. Listening. Reception. Digital.”

The third annual CIPR Inside Awards was launched following the conference. Twelve categories are open for entry until 28 November, with a discount for those received by 21 November. The awards will be given out on the Weston Roof Pavilion at the Royal Festival Hall in early 2015.

Chair of the Inside group, Jenni Wheller, says, “As ever our judges will be looking beyond the tools themselves and into how those tools and tactics have been used to improve business, achieve firm objectives and how entrants have measured their success. Internal communication is all about better informed, more motivated and engaged employees. When we do our job well as communicators, the organisation can thrive. These awards celebrate talent, share best practice, measure success and help us all to learn from the best.”

Categories include:

  • Best example of employee engagement
  • Best change communication campaign
  • Best public sector or charity campaign
  • Best internal event
  • Best use of video
  • Best intranet or enterprise social network
  • Best digital magazine or newsletter
  • Best print magazine or newsletter
  • Best in-house team (1-6)
  • Best in-house team (7 and more)
  • Best agency
  • Clare Latham award for the best individual contribution to internal communication

To enter the awards, click here.