London — Nov. 1
Melcrum Publishing's Pulse report, based on a survey of 1,149 communication professionals worldwide, found that although many employee communication professionals say their budget has increased over the past year, effectiveness at key disciplines is still a challenge.
The survey, conducted in July 2006, found 38 percent of respondents had seen an increase or a dramatic increase in their internal communication budget over the past 12 months.
When asked to rate their effectiveness at key elements of their role, however, 44 percent of respondents ranked themselves as ineffective or very ineffective at measuring the impact of their internal communications. Only 28 percent said they were effective at measurement.
Although employee communication seems to be a growing profession — 31 percent of survey respondents had seen an increase or a dramatic increase in their team's headcount in the past year — professional development remains a key challenge.
Only 33 percent of respondents felt they were effective at developing their employee communication staff.
Sue Dewhurst, an independent communication consultant who contributed expert commentary to The Pulse report, said beyond formal training and qualifications, there are resources available for communicators wishing to invest in their own — and their team's — professional development.
“Consider coaching or mentoring, either from within your organization or from an external provider,” she said, “and try to build good networks both inside and outside your organization. There will always be someone that's faced the same issue you're struggling with, and a quick phone call or a conversation over coffee can make all the difference.”
Communicators responding to the survey rated themselves highly at the disciplines toward the front end of communication such as planning and linking messages to the overall company vision.
“These are powerful strengths,” Dewhurst said. “(Internal communication) is one of the few functions that tends to have an overarching view of the entire company and is able to view the company and its strategy from a number of different perspectives.”
In regard to what areas communicators rate themselves as most effective: