Back to 1955
Happy anniversary to FEIEA – the European Association of Internal Communication – 63 years old this year and stronger than ever. How things have changed since 1955!
1955 was a year of change and possibility.
The year started on a positive note when West Germany was accepted into NATO. But another conflict was just beginning as the United States became involved in the Vietnam war – it was to last for nearly 20 years.
In the US, black bus passenger Rosa Parks was arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger in Alabama. The bus boycott that followed was a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. Women’s football was banned in West Germany because the ‘combative sport is fundamentally foreign to the nature of women’, and ‘the display of the body violates etiquette and decency’. Try telling that to today’s female footballers. The Chrysler car company clearly though females were delicate flowers too and launched the Dodge La Femme for women, upholstered with pink rosebuds. It wasn’t a hit but they’re much sought after today.
A new world
Notable firsts in 1955 included the first McDonalds restaurant in the US, the opening of the first Disneyland resort and theme park in California, Lego was invented and the kidney dialysis machine. Albert Einstein died this year and James Dean was killed in a car crash but two boys born in 1955 would go on to revolutionise the way we communicate and share knowledge. Apple founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were set to change the world.
The world of work
The average working week was between 40-48 hours and around four percent of people worked part-time. Most employees worked in manufacturing industries and only about two percent of the workforce worked in Personnel/HR. (Following in separate box) FEIEA’s beginnings were in 1948 when the French Association invited representatives of national internal communication associations to Paris. Two more European conferences followed with FEIEA formed at the third, in Copenhagen, in 1955.
In the 63 years of FEIEA …
Best single thing internal communications has achieved in the 63 years of FEIEA since established is in strengthening connectivity. And yes, tools are constantly upgrading but the essence of the internal communications stays the same: we communicate with each other and interpret the talk to spread it through available channels.
Urška Ojsteršek, SIK-PRSS Slovensko društvo za odnose z javnostmi president
Business is moving
Business is moving at a constant, relentless pace today compared to 60 years ago which brings challenges for internal communicators. Employees want the same coms experiences that they have in their out-of-work lives and the business tools and technology has to keep pace no matter if the employee works in the office, from home or more remotely. IC has to filter the noise, make information meaningful and relevant, and to connect employees wherever they are to the business objectives. Oh, and be the trusted advisor, the eyes and ears of the organisation, the challenger, a diplomat, negotiator and collaborator…
Suzanne Peck, IoIC – Institute of Internal Communication President and FEIEA Future President
Sixty-three years ago,
Sixty-three years ago, internal communication in Italy was influenced by an innovative momentum in the world of large companies, especially industrial ones. The momentum was a more marked focus on the human factor. The concept of “belonging” emerged more strongly in the belief that being part of a production complex creates a spirit of participation, which satisfies the worker and benefits the company.
There was also appreciation by workers for the new enterprise of publishing initiatives that, as never before, shared stories and personal skills, like family events and simple images, which communicated the ‘real person’ within the business.
Maurizio Incletolli, ASCAI – Associazione per lo Sviluppo della Comunicazione Aziendale in Italia Presidente
Internal communication has gone from being an information tool to one in which commitment is promoted. The workers of a company have become the main ambassadors. The barriers between internal and external communication have been broken and this has given the so-called Internal Communication a much broader new horizon.
Alvaro Rodríguez, Ph.D., dircom – Asociación de Directivos de Comunicación director de Comunicación, Internacionalización y RSC at
The world is changing
Our world is changing and so are our businesses and organisations. They are evolving at an ever increasing pace, as has our way of communicating. 63 years ago, we were merely messengers. Today, we are facilitators helping people better understand the new reality because constant change has become business as usual. We make conversations happen, we translate and clarify complexity, we coach leaders and people to become better communicators. All these new dimensions have turned internal communication into a strategic asset for any organisation.
Peter Op de Beeck, VONK – netwerk voor interne communicatie President
Internal communication changed
The change that has transformed internal communication more than any other thing in recent years is digital (r)evolution. Internal communicators have never been so close to their audience. With digital tools we can communicate extremely fast, direct and with two-way flow. Internal channels can be reached even with the mobile phones, what brings not only possibilities but also great responsibilities in internal communication.
Tina Lazović, SIK-PRSS Slovensko društvo za odnose z javnostmi
Tell the truth
SVIK is a FEIEA member of the first hour. Already then our slogan was as follows: “Internal Communication: If you don’t tell the truth, you are going to lose!” Nowadays this is even more true.
Daniel L. Ambühl, SVIK | ASCI Schweizerischer Verband für interne und integrierte Kommunikation President and FEIEA Council Chairman