Having worked in internal communication in the US and a number of western European countries, one thing I have noticed is that IC tends to become dependent on other disciplines for its success. In Britain it seems largely owned by HR and Employee Engagement, in the US, its functional ownership depends on sector, but IC is often very much the subordinate function in either case.
There is absolutely no reason that scenario has to be the reality in Poland, even in companies that are subsidiaries of US and EU multinationals.
I see a number of reasons why Polish internal communicators have a window of opportunity to seize their own destiny.
First, IC is a relatively new profession in Poland.
By “relatively new,” I mean that the rules of the game, the line-up of thought leaders, and the intuitive business case narratives and “war stories” have yet to be fully defined.
So, if there is a consensus, especially among those who care enough to take time to talk about these things, to make IC a strategic powerhouse rather than an at-will producer of posters and videos, there’s a good chance to get agreement with clients and stakeholders to move in this direction.
Second, Poland has the chance to learn from the profession’s past mistakes. You do not have to inherit the conventional Anglo-American wisdom that all employees must be engaged equally, a trend that has made it much more difficult to segment, target and prioritize essential or influential employees over those who make up the numbers.
Third, creative and innovative work that you do in Poland has the chance for international recognition, and with this recognition, the career paths of top IC professionals become potentially much more interesting.
As EMENA Regional Vice Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), I am very keen to identify and connect passionate and innovative communicators across a region that goes from Reykjavik to Riyadh with each other and their global peers. I also see the success of entrants from Slovenia and Lithuania in IABC’s global Gold Quill award program as hinting that Poland, a country of far larger proportions, could have strong and immediate impact on this international scene if it embraces a strategic approach.
For sure, Polish IC pros will still have to contend with the ongoing pressures to make linear determinations of the value of communication investment, and use simplistic measurements to do it. But the relative freshness of IC in Poland, and of the nation’s numbers of IC practitioners, could help generate confidence in the profession more quickly. Choosing a strategic approach, and making the best of the international connection opportunities offered by IABC, along with other associations like EACD and CIPR, could move Polish IC quickly to a new level, and perhaps even become an inspiration for other, more “mature” countries.