Recently I spoke with Mike Klein on lessons India can teach the world on internal communications. We covered aspects of pride, ingenuity, inclusion and values in communications.
What can India teach the rest of the world about IC?
I feel teaching is a two-way street: there are lots we can learn from what western practices have to offer and then India has approaches and ideas that can help other parts of the world to improve engagement and connection. To begin, it is important to recognize that the country has been a pioneer and trend-setter in numerous domains – origin of mathematics (use of the numeral zero), sports and games (chess for example and some degree, badminton), health systems (yoga and ayurveda for example) and science and technology.
According to me, India can offer three key lessons when it comes to internal communications:
- Resilience: India is an “ancient country with one of the longest surviving cultures” (see more in Hostede’s culture insights), we are known to be quite resilient despite political, social historical and environmental factors which have swept these parts of the world. Today, many of the world’s foremost companies (namely Alphabet, Microsoft, Adobe and Mastercard) are led by Indian-origin leaders. With that context, internal communications that focuses on highlighting the pride and ingenuity of the people will gain acceptance. Recognizing great work, surfacing innovative practices, and showcasing stories of strength can enhance connection.
- Rigor: Work is a fundamental part of peoples’ lives and Indians are driven by values-led success with roles and designations given importance. There is a lot of value given to personal development, learning and growth. The preferences are to gain opportunities to progress and work with the best. Humility is expected; the service mindset is vital and a go-getting attitude helps to overcome unsurmountable challenges. By approaching internal communications through the psychological and cognitive lens, organizations can build stronger connections.
- Respect: As a traditional society, in India, hierarchy is given importance and differing views (religious and otherwise) are tolerated. Time isn’t perceived as linear while there is a deep need to identify – be it with the family, community or the broader societal fabric. Employers are considered an extension of the family. Therefore, internal communications that celebrates life, involves the community, puts the spotlight on employers as family and creates a sense of togetherness will be welcomed.
By understanding the social, historical and cultural perspectives, internal communicators working with the market can benefit immensely.