‘Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.’
– Benjamin Franklin
The turbulence of working life in the last few years has made concepts like growth, progress and achievement slightly detached from a reality that, for many communicators, has been more about helping their organisations survive some major existential threats – from the financial crisis, geopolitical shifts and most recently, of course, Brexit.
Needless to say, that great polymath Franklin saw some turbulent times too, and while the American Revolution was probably a more seismic political shift than Brexit will prove to be, even he would be impressed by the rate of change most organisations have had to contend with in recent years.
Our recent study of the modern workplace – Britain at Work – indicated that more than three quarters of employees had gone through major organisational change in the last two years. Whether it is driven by major macro-economic factors, or specific issues and opportunities in the marketplace, most Executive teams are grappling with significant change.
For senior communicators this presents some interesting challenges. In an environment where Executive teams are looking for more innovation, more efficiency, more growth: how should communications evolve in order to keep pace, and indeed anticipate, the direction of travel for the business?
In our view, this presents a significant opportunity for senior communicators to reflect on what the future business requirements might be, and how the organisation’s current communications capabilities stack up.
Over recent months, we at Lansons have been asked by a range of clients to review the effectiveness of their communications. The diversity of these projects (we have conducted reviews for insurance businesses, pharmaceutical companies, an NHS Trust, a charity, a Government department, and an Industry body) suggests this is something that organisations across the sectors are wrestling with.
Our approach to these reviews is based on a proven methodology, applying a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Essentially, we evaluate the current and future business requirements for organisational communications (often interviewing senior executives as part of this process), and then conduct a gap analysis against the existing communications infrastructure, channels, content and capabilities.
As we are bringing a level of objectivity, we are often able to get to the heart of issues that have been lying latent within the organisation for many years. Our aim is to provide findings and recommendations which have a genuinely practical basis – which can immediately improve the efficiency and effectiveness of communications, but which also begin to look at some of the longer term opportunities for development, structural change as well as potential investments (in both communications skills and channels).
If nothing else, our approach brings an independent sanity check – validating the current communications plans in place, or perhaps challenging the underlying assumptions.
In our view conducting an independent review is about ensuring the organisation’s communications capabilities are future-proof – spotting trends and opportunities for improvement. As Franklin also said, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Scott McKenzie is Joint Managing Director at Lansons and heads up our Change and Employee Engagement practice. If you are interested in conducting a review of your communications please contact Scott on +44 (0) 207 490 8828, or at firstname.lastname@example.org