Introducing Simon Rutter

We are delighted to announce that Simon Rutter has joined Bright Space as Specialist Adviser - Employee Engagement and Strategic Internal Communications. Find out about his approach, why he believes there’s an identity crisis in internal comms – and why he’s out to fix it.

At Bright Space we work with many of our clients to develop and articulate a clear purpose, an achievable vision and aligned values to guide the behaviours an organisation needs to thrive.

Creating engagement with employees is critical to the success of any change or initiative, whether it’s a rebrand, embedding purpose, or organisational transformation.  

We are therefore delighted to onboard Simon Rutter to our growing list of Specialist Advisers. He’ll help Bright Space provide strategic direction and compelling engagement programmes to turn transactional internal communications into interactive and participative engagement.  

We spoke with Simon about his approach, why he believes there’s an identity crisis in internal comms – and why he’s out to fix it.

Simon hasn’t ever strayed from his idea of the role internal communications plays within an organisation. Being a journalist turned internal communications director, Simon will support Bright Space with our clients across the board to help companies communicate with clarity and purpose.  

“Fundamentally, the purpose of internal comms as a function is to make sure everybody in the organisation understands what that company's strategy is and their role in fulfilling it. I've become even more entrenched in this view over the years because it's still not getting done right.”

"The role of the internal comms function, for me and what I work with my clients to achieve, is to make sure they’re as closely aligned with the business as possible.”  

“That’s asking the organisation, do you understand what the business strategy is? Do you have a communication strategy that supports it? Do you have the channels needed to deliver those messages? And do you have a measurement loop to receive feedback on employees’ understanding of the strategy?”

“I start here with my clients and stress that point, because I see how easy it is to stray from the central purpose of internal communications.”

Internal comms has an “identity crisis”

Simon recognises there’s an issue that seemingly creeps into most internal communications teams. Part of the observation of teams “not getting it right” stems from them not grasping their role and purpose as corporate communicators. This could be attributed to many things unique to individual businesses.  

However, Gallagher’s State of the Sector 2023 report found that 74% of respondents think the purpose of internal communications is to support culture and belonging. While IC may play its part in delivering it, it’s not the sole function responsible.  

“If we don't know as a function what we're here to do, how is anyone else going to take us seriously? This is really about an identity crisis in the sector.”

Part of that is the increasing “obsession” with overcommunicating by IC teams in what Simon touts as a hangover from Covid and “as a result, comms teams are spinning, spinning, spinning under the pressure.”  

“Often leadership think internal comms job is just to send stuff out, so the comms team does, and then everybody's happy except the audience who are overwhelmed, the message gets diluted, and worse, sometimes ignored.”

Let’s be clear about the strategy

This is where the communication gears need to change. Simon says it’s about getting clear on strategy and being empowered to take back control of the purpose and role the team plays.

“We're not doing that because unless it's aligned with our purpose, these are the things we do, this is what we help you deliver and here's how we're going to measure it, because this is what’s on the strategy,” is the way the conversation should be going.

“A lot of teams haven't been able to do that effectively enough. So as a result, they end up at the mercy of whatever the leadership wants, which is usually either too much or too little. Not strategic, just reactive.”

We are delighted to welcome Simon to the Bright Space team as his belief and passion reflect our own. If your internal communications and employee engagement programmes feel like they are spinning and not strategising, the Bright Space team along with Simon Rutter, is here to help. Identity crisis and all, we can help set a clear direction to give you the uplift in engagement your organisation needs.  Say hi or In the meantime, find out more about Simon here.

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