Internal communication - why it matters One of the most overlooked publics for the professional communicator is often the organisation's own workforce. External audiences including customers and shareholders are the more usual targets for large scale campaigns through external print, broadcast and digital media. But neglecting those who work for an organisation will not only be short sighted it can also be seriously damaging to the bottom line especially if disgruntled employees embark on industrial action or individually leak information to the outside world.So how can you set about ensuring your workforce is kept properly informed while also taking appropriate account of their concerns? Internal communication is an arguably new branch of corporate communication. Although larger organisations are most likely to have more highly developed systems in place even relatively small ones are now adopting elements to suit their circumstances and budgets. As with external communication campaigns it is vital first to identify the key messages to be transmitted and to whom. These should be phrased in language which means something to those on the receiving end rather than just the occupants of the boardroom. That means omitting company and where possible industry jargon. It is necessary to state this as frequently assumptions are made regarding levels of employee understanding. An audit needs to be taken of what employees actually think of the organisation and its remit. Do they truly understand why they come to work each day other than to earn their monthly salaries? How far from your desired point are they in terms of accepting and acting on the corporate rationale? A further sweep of the organisation is required to establish exactly which channels of communication employees currently use or favour for receiving information. Staff working in direct contact with customers are most likely to pay attention to information presented to them by supervisors or line managers rather than a distant head of department or board director. It is easy to mistakenly believe that providing more vehicles of communication necessarily equates to more messages being absorbed and acted on at the receiving end. Technology can make it easy to imagine that information is getting through. However taking a step back and looking at matters afresh might show that employees on the shopfloor or in factories may not have direct access to the internal website due to lack of availability of terminals or even the skills to make best use of them. Seemingly old fashioned media such as print publications or face to face meetings may not have the glamour of the most up-to-the-minute gadgetry but they should not be excluded if they do the job more effectively. Today's internal communicator is as likely to be a facilitator rather than simply a deliverer of communication. They could find themselves training line managers or even directors to deliver messages directly. It is unlikely that the in house practitioner is going to be an expert on each and every possible means of delivering communication and will need to consider the sourcing and subsequent management of external consultants or suppliers to get the job done. Most importantly remember to build in feedback mechanisms to enable the workforce to respond to information. Engaging with them can be as simple as providing a tick box or as complex as encouraging them to transmit their own concerns and contributions back up to the boardroom. Gaining the active participation of employees is crucial to securing the organisation's future health.Lyn Smith e' l'autrice di Effective Internal Communication, £16.99, pubblicato dalla Kogan Page, e recensito questa settimana per la rubrica 'Libro della settimana' in calce alla quale compaiono anche le modalità riservate ai soci FERPI per usufruire su uno sconto del 30% (spese di spedizione escluse) sull'acquisto del volume.-----------------------------------------------------------------
Un articolo (in inglese) di Lyn Smith, autrice del volume 'Effective Internal Communication' che recensiamo nella rubrica 'Il Libro della Settimana'.