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As the only professional body dedicated to internal communication in the UK, we exist to help organisations and people succeed through promoting internal communication of the highest standard.

The result of the EU referendum has been widely considered a seismic event with the shockwave still resonating through the corridors of the Westminster epicentre. Thankfully, there has been far less immediate impact than the economic tsunami that the #Remain campaigners warned us of but no doubt we will all feel some form of tremor down the line. 

The most significant aftershock has been the exposure of the fault lines up and down the country highlighting massive gaps in our society – institutional, educational, generational and regional chasms have surfaced. Like the boundaries of tectonic plates, these social divisions have been there for some time, rubbing against each other and causing friction under the surface.
 

As we awoke to a new dawn in UK politics on 24 June, the fantasies and fig leaves of the referendum campaigns became clear.  Our political leaders appeared to abdicate responsibility at a time of major change when we needed strong leadership the most, we could only wish for a better future in the UK.  I also wish for a better future in the workplace, based on the learnings from the EU Referendum.
 

Wish 1

My first wish is that leaders accelerate the death of internal marketing. By their very nature internal marketing campaigns use top-down messages to try and influence employee behaviour. At best the raise levels of awareness and potential cynicism. The EU referendum campaign soundbites like “Take Back Control” and “Protect Our Jobs” have a similar tone to the clichéd internal campaigns like “Make a Difference” and “Zero Harm”. Too often these short-term campaigns are seen as reactive and biased towards the interests and needs of the organisation than the interest and not addressing the needs of the employee. Building on the common ground is what rebuilds trust.
 

Wish 2

My second wish is that leaders hasten the death of deference. The rhetoric we heard from economic, political and business leaders advising against voting to leave the EU fell on deaf ears amongst the majority of the voting public. It is apparent that this is due to an erosion of trust in leaders and experts within organisations and institutions. Employees have become more discerning and demand a voice in decision making on issues that directly affect them, not deferring to their “betters”.
 

Wish 3

My final wish is that leaders are careful what they wish for. If they give employees a platform to express their opinion, they need to be prepared to quickly follow through with necessary actions. That requires scenario planning and having a closer understanding the interests and needs of their colleagues. Giving employees a voice cannot be a box-ticking exercise like so many employee engagement surveys have become - it needs to be a commitment to seeking understanding before taking action.

Wishing is never an effective strategy, unless you believe in fairies. This is where IC truly can make a difference, developing strategies to involve employees, closing the gap between organisational boundaries in new ways that build mutual trust and respect (with a little bit of magic fairy dust of course).
Sean Trainor, director at Uber Engagement
 
 
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