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In a series of articles, we ask some of this year's IoIC Live presenters for their thoughts on why reputation is a critical topic for internal communicators.

This year's annual IoIC Live conference – this May in Birmingham – brings you speakers with different perspectives and stories on the theme of transforming reputation from the inside out. From generating internal pride on a budget and responding quickly and appropriately in a crisis, reputation needs to be on every internal communicator's agenda.

The two-day event will expand your capabilities and your networks, and help you redefine IC's impact, making a difference in a reputation-driven world. 


Managing reputation amid negative press

With public trust and confidence in charities declining and these organisations facing greater scrutiny than ever before, internal reputation is a key topic. At IoIC Live, Sue Palfrey, head of internal communications at National Trust, will be talking about the challenge – and some of the solutions – around giving employees timely information in response to external press, at a pace and in a manner that suits them.
“Challenging media stories is part of a ‘new normal’,” says Sue. “That means it’s more important than ever to equip our people to counter negative press. 

“Our people have a strong emotional connection to our cause and want to protect our reputation.”
But external communications move at lightning speed, which is at odds with the pace of internal communication.
“The majority of our people work remotely and offline, and they have little time for briefings or to be at computers, particularly during our busiest times,” reflects Sue. “That means staff and volunteers can read negative headlines or get questions from visitors and members long before they are near a manager or an official communication.” 
Linking activity back to your purpose

Sue accepts there is no silver bullet to resolve this, but her comms team has begun developing a multi-faceted approach to equipping people with the facts.
“Wherever possible, we link activity back to our core purpose, helping our people understand why we are trying new things that could prompt interest. We’re encouraging the organisation to allow more time for conversations with teams ahead of activity landing, rather than simply expecting them to deliver an agreed output.
“We’re building a deeper insight of our internal audiences so we can equip managers to build understanding across their large teams and we’re encouraging more opportunities for our people to shape solutions and to input into projects. We’re also helping our leaders and managers understand the new normal that we’re operating in, helping them to think differently about how they are approaching new ideas without stifling innovation and progress.

Building a culture of collaboration

Also reflecting on a “new normal”, Cyrus Akrami from Workplace by Facebook will discuss the evolution of the workplace and how to empower employees to build a culture of innovation, collaboration, and participation.
At Facebook, we believe that amazing things happen when people come together,” he says. “That’s why we built Workplace to empower people and bring them together.”
At IoIC live 2018, Cyrus will share the organisation’s vision for the future and look at some of the companies who have already changed the way they work.
Internal communication is stuck in the past and becoming drastically outdated, he says. IC managers looking to succeed in the future of work face new challenges brought on by globalisation, millennial workers and emerging technology. Their ability to address these challenges will be the difference between success and failure.
“Companies need to innovate and move fast to stay relevant,” says Cyrus. “Many are investing millions of pounds in their external communications, but fail to bring their internal communications up to date. Employees’ inboxes are overflowing, noticeboards are overwhelming, and the messages are not getting through. Companies who fail to evolve will be stuck in the past.”
And an organisation’s innovation must have its people at the heart, he insists. This means polling frontline workers on what is important and “structuring your comms plan to ensure a regular drum beat of relevant messages”. 
Cyrus concludes: “Effective internal communications fuel a motivated and engaged workforce who are all pulling in the same direction.”

Read previous articles on this year's IoIC Live and our speakers from Alzheimer's Society and Greater Manchester Police, and Resource and Repute Associates. Book your place here for the event in Birmingham on 10-11 May.

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