Communication is still often seen as something that produces operational outputs, such as press releases, newsletters, brochures and articles. However, organisations are increasingly considering communication as a strategic resource. They set objectives for communication and want to measure its efficiency.
Communication professionals engage in the planning, management and measurement of communication, but their work also involves coaching the entire community to communicate better.
Communication is everyday acts and building of reputation
Communication skills are essential for all managers and supervisors. Communication is about organising and influencing, that is, managing the strategic goals to implement them in everyday work and convert them into efficient performance. The role of communication professionals is emphasised in the management, planning and measurement of communication.
Today, communication is an important part of every employee’s workplace skills. Action and communication are the means for building the organisation’s reputation and maintaining its collaborative relationships. Above all, communication is everyday acts that make our achievements visible.
The strategic role of communication has expanded at Xamk. We want to improve communication and we understand its importance. Communication at Xamk is guided by strategic objectives and the strategic communication plan.
Xamk has specified many different tasks for communication, all of them promoting our success and ability to function. These tasks include
- workplace communication to support our everyday work and flow of information
- communication to the media, personnel and students
- internal and external scanning and probing* to keep up to date with current topics
- managerial and supervisory work to implement the strategy in everyday work
- development of an organisational culture and sense of community
- building reputation and awareness
- managing the brand and providing support for marketing
- social influence.
*observation and interpretation of weak external and internal signals of change
Communication and marketing go hand in hand
The boundaries of marketing communication, other communication and journalism have become blurred; communication and marketing professionals increasingly engage in close co-operation. At Xamk, marketing and communication have been integrated into each other, and planning and content production are carried out jointly.
Our focus is on comprehensive organisational communication and public relations. This includes marketing, advertising, defining workplace communication policies and providing forums for communication. At Xamk, it also includes providing information, communicating to the media, exerting influence, sponsoring and organising events.
Communication coaching for Xamk personnel
An expert is a professional with a strong core competence. Their work also requires communication skills: speaking. listening, writing and reading as well as mastering communication technology. In addition, they need courage and must be willing to discuss questions within their scope of competence. (Juholin 2017 s. 137).
The development of communication and revision of the communication culture at Xamk require competence development, enthusiasm, time and support of the staff. Xamk wants to activate experts to participate in social dialogue. Therefore, we continued to provide communication coaching for experts in 2019.
The coaching was provided by Xamk’s communication specialists. Altogether 30 research and development specialists participated in the coaching.
Coaching was provided on six days in 2019:
- the introduction workshops of opinion leaders in Mikkeli and Kouvola
- Twitter training in Mikkeli and Kouvola
- videography training in Mikkeli
- a writing webinar
- various meetings in small groups.
The total number of training days was 59. In the introduction workshops, we specified the goals, content themes and areas of improvement for each participant. Training sessions were arranged in accordance with the participants’ wishes, and they will continue in 2020.
Everyone can help – simply by communicating in their own way
From the perspective of a communication professional, particular challenges for the improvement of expert communication are the lack of time and courage to communicate. Communication should be included in an expert’s job description; otherwise there may never be time for it. In addition, what is needed is authorisation from the top management and the permission to fail sometimes.
An open discussion culture encourages sharing information and promotes expert communication.
To paraphrase one of the experts, you need opinions and a desire to participate in discussions in your respective field.
Everyone should consider how they could help others. Communication can take many forms: writing a blog entry or a list of tips, preparing infographics or making a podcast. The ways of communication are manifold.