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The New Organizational Triangle: Internal Communications, Employee Engagement and HR

3rd November 2014 | David Cowan

Extract from 'Strategic Internal Communication' by David Cowan, former Head of Internal Communications at ArcelorMittal

Strategic Internal Communication (9780749470111)To use the dialogue box, there are two very specific principles we need to grasp about communications in the 21st century. While this is a book about internal communications, it is essential that we do not silo internal communications into being about informing employees, or simply ‘cascading’ information. In fact, I contend that the word ‘cascading’ should be banned from our internal communications discourse, despite its fashionable appeal in the past few years.

This is because it implies hierarchical communications, and also suggests a passive fall of information. I am looking for a more dynamic way of communicating, which recognizes how successful communication within an organization is ‘up, down and across’ and requires active engagement at all levels and in all directions. I will call this process ‘infusion’, so from here on whenever you see or hear the word ‘cascade’ in internal communications insist on replacing it with ‘infusion’!

This word demonstrates the need for flows of information, freely crossing professional boundaries within the organization, with engagement up, down and across the organizational structure. The triangle of internal communications, employee engagement and HR needs to be effective across the organization, appealing to both the professional and personal aspects of individual employees. This triangular relationship will help to change the organization from being a place of people at work to a community of people working. This chapter will explain some of the principles and trends that are driving the changing dynamics of communicating and engaging with employees...

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