FRIDAY 3 NOV 2017 10:45 AM


On a day in which hundreds of football fans lined the streets outside a Wembley hotel hoping for a glimpse of Real Madrid stars, the CIPR Inside conference was in full swing. The annual event played host to internal communications professionals from across the UK, and beyond, as it discussed topics of interest, provided thought-provoking commentary and fostered connections within the community.

To begin the day, CIPR Inside chair Jenni Field and committee members Helen Deverell and Lisa Pantelli shared insights from CIPR research into internal communications. The study examined the perceptions of CEOs with regards to internal comms. One of the primary findings was that most CEOs say they see internal communications as responsible for internal culture. Though the report states culture has not often been part of the IC agenda, “it supports the CEOs’ perceptions that the function is intrinsic to the organisation and that it plays a significant role in maintaining and promoting culture.”

Other findings included the need to better define internal communications as a means of fostering understanding among leadership about IC’s value and role, additionally, 92% of IC practitioners said internal comms could drive financial performance. It may come down to aligning these two concepts to better engage with financially minded board members.

The rest of the day was a mix of workshops, keynotes, case studies and unconference sessions. With topics ranging from storytelling to crisis communications to the best ways to negotiate, the conference was full of ideas and energy.

The day ended with case studies from CIPR #InsideStory Awards winners Community Integrated Care and the FCA. The former’s head of communications & engagement spoke about changing the communications strategy as a means of enhancing organisational effectiveness. She said, “We completely shifted how we think about our workforce. We understood where our work sat within the whole organisation’s strategy.”

Andrew Whyte, director of communications at the FCA, said “This constant sense of frustration that everybody’s a communications expert. Everything thinks they can do our job. Our perspective often loses out to legal risk even when we know that that reputational risk can be quite significant.” He says the shift in tone within the organisation helped change its internal culture. “The idea was to show them that there was a real professionalism to what we do.”

The event ended with an update on the CIPR Inside group by Field. She said the #InsideStory Awards would not run in 2018, marking the first time since 2013 that the awards would take place. Field says, “I think it’s time to just stop and make sure what w’ere doing is right for our members.” She says the committee will consider the events that will best serve members’ needs in the coming years. The results of that discussion will be considered at the group’s AGM in March 2018.