Communications staff lack crucial HR skills

Few internal communications specialists have an HR background or relevant
qualifications.

The finding, in a report by Business Intelligence, shows that only 10 per
cent have HR experience and only 15 per cent are fully qualified with relevant
professional qualifications.

Transforming Internal Communication claims that this compares to 50 per cent
of overseas companies.

Most people moving into the sector have joined from other professions,
including 26 per cent from marketing and 22 per cent from public relations or
journalism. The study claims that internal communications staff need skills in
areas other than writing, communication and research.

An understanding of internal communications practice, strategic thinking and
change management are also essential skills, claims the study. Internal
communications staff must be able to understand business and strategic issues
quickly and explain them to a wider audience.

Gavin Green, director of communications for Land Rover, commented on the
research, "Internal communications is such an involved area. Traditionally
it has been done by HR but if you are dealing with a company newspaper or
magazine I would argue that the major skills required are journalism and
communication skills.

"You do need more than those skills. You need a strategy to get
employees onside. The major factor here is that you need to understand your
audience," said Green.

Simon Lancaster, director of publishing at Business Intelligence, commented,
"An internal communications strategy, tailor-made to support corporate
goals and developed by skilled communication professionals, is critical to
business success.

The research surveyed internal communication professionals in over 100
public and private sector organisations.

www.business-intelligence.co.uk

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