One vital element missing from internal communications

This pro says there’s one crucial component that makes communications wildly successful, but few organizations have it. Read on to discover what it is—and whether you possess it.

There is one thing missing from internal communications. Care to guess what it is?

Here are some statistics: Ninety-three percent of communicators acknowledge internal communications’ importance, yet 89 percent of communicators don’t link it to business goals.

Do you have any guesses? It’s a simple word. It has even been labeled a buzzword (though it’s not).

It’s something we all learned the importance of as children, but for some reason we leave it behind when communicating with employees.

I recently attended and presented at PRSA Connect. Many speakers focused on authenticity and transparency, which are good, but those aren’t what is missing most from internal communications.

Creativity is missing.

The data I shared earlier come from this infographic by Alive With Ideas, a U.K.-based agency. The agency authored a report that focuses on the importance and absence of creativity in communicating with employees.

Findings include:

  • Sixty-nine percent of communicators use video, but half use it only at a basic level.
  • Of the 20 percent of communicators using gamification, half plan to incorporate it more into their communication strategies.

If so many communicators cite creativity’s importance, why aren’t they linking it to business goals?

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According to the report:

  • Many respondents unite over common barriers to creativity, including opposition from leadership, time constraints, and culture and budget issues.
  • A number of respondents say there’s a dearth of individuals with sufficient knowledge of creativity tools and methodologies.

Blaming leaders? Time constraints?

If time is an issue, you’re spending time on the wrong things. If you don’t have time to be creative, you’re not making time or valuing creativity as a business skill. Creativity has boundaries, as do culture and budgets, but working with what you have is part of being creative.

For people who cite a skills shortage: Everyone can be creative in his or her own way. If anyone takes the time to think creatively about a solution, he’ll come up with something better. Communicators don’t lack creativity; they lack confidence.

Jocelyn Sims spoke at the same PRSA event. She is internal communications manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago—not the world’s most creative company (nor do you probably want it to be). Yet Sims and her team found a way to be creative within the brand and its confines. They produced employee recognition posters. Even though many companies produce such posters, it was how Sims and her team designed the posters that made them creative.

Be confident in your creativity. You have the time, now make it.

You’ve heard the cliché, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question.” Well, there are dumb questions. There are also bad ideas. But I’d much rather work with a creative bad idea than a lame one.

Chuck Gose is vice president of corporate communications at Stratacache. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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