King Report III – A Communication Opportunity
The King Reports have always been synonymous with best business practices that include internal auditing, risk management and compliance to performance evaluations, compliance boards, and committees, and much more. The new King Report III on Governance for South Africa was launched on 1 September 2009 and includes the Code of Corporate Governance which also regulates the importance of stakeholder relations. King Report III became effective and replaced the previous King II on the 1st of March 2010.
King II was prompted by the changes in global governance trends as well as the overhaul of South Africa’s business law (with an amendment to the Companies Act of 2008 expected to take effect on 1 July 2010.). Globally corporate governance is being challenged due to economic recession and subsequent corporate failures.
An increase in the importance of communication
Section 8 is particularly concerned with the importance of Stakeholder Relations Management and emphasizes the importance of communication in two ways between an organization and its many stakeholders. Communication managers have the chance to gain support from the boardroom for their work and incorporate it meaningfully into the business processes.
The role of communication is frequently viewed as something that only junior employees in an organization could do but the enshrinement on stakeholder engagement within the context in the King Report III and the connection of the role to business goals may provide more incentive to pay credit to the field.
King Report III proves that there are high expectations from the top management in regards to the importance of corporate communications, and the necessity to ensure that the process is handled efficiently at the boardroom level. Communications managers are being considered to be able to meet the task and exceed the requirements. They must be present at board meetings and utilize the platform to make sure that the messages that they relay with the stakeholders contain outcomes-based messages.
The significance of stakeholder relationships at an organizational professional level makes it clear for learners in corporate communications must be taught better business acumen on a fundamental level prior to entering the work setting. Stakeholder relations are not just about public relations alone it is a broader network of communication tools and apps for a diverse and sometimes high-level public.
It also goes far beyond public relations to include the essential elements of internal communication as well as internal branding. Many will say, and I would argue it is true, that internal branding and communications are in reality an inside-out method in contrast to an outside-in strategy. It is essential to equip internal stakeholders with the appropriate tools and expertise so that they can be aligned with the mission of the organization when they interact with the outside world. It is also crucial to promote uniformity across the levels of the organization.
King III opens a door for the opportunity to unlock the full potential of communications and assist in the position for communications in the South African corporate landscape to achieve sustainable business goals and gain legitimacy for their function within a company.
In the local area, professional communicators appear to be taking on the challenges ahead, since they are focusing on the crucial aspects of engaging stakeholders and the positive business effects that communication can have. The need for more forums to discuss the issue of communication on a corporate level, and more involvement from the top trade experts can ensure that the sector and profession can successfully negotiate the hurdles of the coming decade. These include academic credentials as well as business alignment as well as the significance of internal communication, and the development of stakeholder relations as an important strategically (not functional) function.