Skills Critical for Employee Communicators

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<p><strong>Chicago &mdash; April 23</strong><br />Employee communicators need good all-around skills and tend not to specialize too heavily, according to new research. </p><p>These findings from development experts Sue Dewhurst and Liam FitzPatrick challenge common views that the best professionals are focused on providing strategic advice rather than getting involved in delivery work.</p><p>Dewhurst and FitzPatrick began researching competencies among employee communicators to support their training courses. </p><p>In a global survey, they explored what jobs communicators are doing and the attributes they need to be effective.</p><p>&quot;In recent years, there&#39;s been a general feeling that all internal communicators need to be high-level consultants,&quot; Dewhurst said. &quot;But when we talk to people, we hear that they&#39;re really doing a much more balanced range of things.&quot;</p><p>FitzPatrick agrees.</p><p>&quot;What this seems to be saying is that organizations need their employee communicators to be strong all-rounders &mdash; writers, planners, advisers and organizers, and what it&#39;s not saying is that employee communication (EC) people can only make a difference if they&#39;re working as employee consultants.&quot;</p><p>Their findings are published in a new report by Melcrum, &quot;How to Develop Outstanding Internal Communicators,&quot; which also includes a set of 12 model competencies that can be used to help recruit, develop and promote employee communicators.</p><p>The 12 model competencies are:</p><ol><li>Building effective relationships</li><li>Business focus</li><li>Consulting and coaching</li><li>Cross-functional awareness</li><li>Craft (writing and design)</li><li>Developing other communicators</li><li>Innovation and creativity</li><li>Listening</li><li>Making it happen</li><li>Planning</li><li>Specialist</li><li>Vision and standards<br /></li></ol><p>These competencies cover the core skills, knowledge and experience that communicators say they need to do their jobs well. </p><p>As a follow-up to the survey, the researchers interviewed dozens of practitioners and held focus groups to refine these competencies and identify the behaviors that might be displayed at a basic, intermediate or advanced level.</p><p>Importantly, the competencies highlight the need for communicators to have both advisory and delivery skills. </p><p>&quot;We were continually told that EC professionals are most valued when they make things happen and don&#39;t just talk about it,&quot; Dewhurst said.</p><p>The study also showed there was agreement among practitioners at every level on the core skills that all EC practitioners should display. </p><p>&quot;Although no one could be expected to be a master of new media and all the tools at our disposal, there&#39;s a clear consensus that EC people need to be able to at least write well and be skilled in the core areas that matter in their workplace,&quot; FitzPatrick said. &quot;Our research confirms that colleagues expect the EC team to be able to provide expertise in some fundamental areas.&quot;</p>

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