Why authenticity is internal communications’ biggest challenge

Maintaining trust in top leaders is essential to improve employee engagement. Candor is crucial, if not always the smoothest route. Here’s how communications can be more authentic.

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What’s your greatest challenge as an internal communicator?

Surveys often ask that very question. Year after year, people offer familiar responses:

These are real challenges we face, yet those overlook our biggest challenge: maintaining authenticity in a world of spin.

How do we define it?

Authentic means “genuine,” “real” and “not false” and has the synonyms “authoritative,” “convincing” and “credible.” For internal communications to positively affect employee engagement, it must be authentic. Employees instantly detect “spin”; they see right through it.

We’re hardwired to cast a good light on ourselves and those with whom we identify. Our leaders and, often, internal communicators shy away from sharing bad news, so they communicate in a way that rings hollow. We polish negative situations even though we know employees will see straight through it.

If it’s so important and yet so hard to do, how can we communicate in an authentic way? Here are some thoughts:

1. Change your shoes.

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