Listening: A dynamic shift in the communicator’s role

We need to improve the way we communicate and engage with our employees. Organizations are facing up to increased opportunities and uncertainties from disruptive technologies, changing political attitudes and market shifts and these factors demand new approaches. Current approaches, such as surveying employees, does not reveal what employees are really thinking, nor let employees have a true say about what goes on. Leaders could prioritize active listening to what employees think and feel and then respond appropriately to increase employee advocacy and engagement.

This session explores how communicators need to help organizations listen to their people to:

  • Deliver truly effective and outcome-focused communication.
  • Increase innovation and competitiveness.
  • Re-distribute influence and make better decisions.
  • Create climates in which people can speak out and leaders feel courageous enough to display vulnerability.

These insights emerge from research conducted this year across EMENA. The results have profound implications for leaders across the globe.

In order to increase employee engagement at the workplace, leaders should:

  • Understand and integrate employee perspectives into strategic planning.
  • Demonstrate actions and decisions that reflect social justice principles.
  • Create psychological safety and organizational climates that ensure the wellbeing of their people Using examples to illustrate the issues and approaches that can work, we’ll listen to each other to share issues, insights and examples.

Format: Presentation
Track: Employee & Customer Engagement

Presenter / Mike Pounsford / United Kingdom has increased interest in listening over his career. He was an active pioneer of employee research in Europe for Willis Towers Watson (Towers Perrin at the time), applied insights from listening to help improve performance in retailing and banking while at Alexander Consulting Group and set up Banner McBride for WPP Group to help clients get closer to their people in order to build stronger brands. He founded Couravel, which works with clients to clarify and communicate purpose, vision and strategy, to design and deliver engagement programs, and to develop the communication capabilities of leaders and managers. He is the past president of the U.K. chapter of IABC and an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator. Pounsford is a past speaker and workshop leader at Eurocomm (2018 and 2019) and the IABC World Conference (2008 and 2018).

Presenter / Howard Krais / United Kingdom is in his second year as IABC UK president. With over 25 years as a communicator under his belt, both in senior in house and consulting roles, Krais is as passionate about finding brilliant opportunities for communicators to develop and grow as he is about the power of great communication to positively impact change. For his day job, he leads communication for the clean air sector of Johnson Matthey, a role he moved into in May 2018, having worked in senior communication roles at global giants GSK and EY previously. Krais is in his fourth year as a board member of the IABC U.K. chapter. As president, he continues to build on the momentum of recent years though with particular focus on the topic of organizational listening, which underpins many of the events and priorities of the U.K. chapter.

Presenter / Kevin Ruck PhD, MBA, PGCE, FCIPR / United Kingdom is the co-founder of PR Academy, the U.K.’s largest provider of Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) qualifications. He is the editor and co-author of the respected text book “Exploring Internal Communication” published by Routledge. His research is focused on leadership communication, employee voice and internal communication measurement & evaluation.



Thank you to the Employee & Customer Engagement Track Sponsor: