“Internal communication strategies in business” is basically the dialogue between employees and employer, and the dialogue between work colleagues.
1. Meetings with boss and employees – top down approach
2. Colleagues review of meeting afterwards – bottom-up approach
3. Newsletters, annual reports, memos and emails from the boss
4. Colleagues review of internal printed material
5. One-on-one meetings or appraisals
6. Internal telephone system, intranets, messenger, pagers, mobiles, personal texts
7. Online social networks
8. Video broadcasts
9. Road shows or external social gatherings (organised by the company)
10. Bar, golf club, after-work curry (organised by staff)
In all of these settings there is an opportunity for shrewd companies to engage with their smart, successful workers and keep them motivated.
Internal communications strategies are best delivered in a language the receiver can comprehend, in a timely manner and comfortable medium, conveying one business topic, with an outcome that is specific and measurable. If that means you need to set up a Facebook page to communicate with employees, then so be it.
“However, communication strategies are about the alignment of internal communication with the goals of the business.” (Steve Nicholls – Social Media in Business, 2010). Companies have an image or a brand which they need to maintain by consistently delivering to their customers. A company’s employees are the means by which its services and products are actually delivered; therefore, it is vital for employees to know what the company wants to achieve. It is necessary for them to be aware of what they need to accomplish – in terms of both the brand image of the company and individual career goals.
In addition, a good communication strategy is not just about addressing employees. Guidance should be provided to the people who are conveying the message, along with tips which they can use in sharing the message. It should be focused on all the levels of the company – from the top to the bottom. The tone of the entire company is set when the boss begins her emails with Dear Faceless Workforce (or the equivalent); rather than Bob’s Great Marketing Team.
We cannot just imagine internal communication as a one-way street. All the component parts of a business must communicate well with one another, top-down, bottom-up, and across many strata; all depending for their success on whether the recipient is prepared to listen and whether the delivery of communications is well-timed, pitched and balanced. The effect of this internal communication determines the health of the entire company.
Internal communication should enable:
• Shared vision
• Service Focus
In essence, anything we can do to increase the effectiveness of internal communication through choosing appropriate communicators and receivers, an appropriate channel or medium and a concise, coherent message makes the firm more responsive and competitive.
Relatively unimportant functions like office gossip will be delivered alongside crucial informal communication that cuts across formal reporting procedures to get things done. This latter objective is one of the targets of boosting internal communications.
Therefore, the informal communications system is:
“…the human side of the organisation, which is maintained by employees communicating among themselves and sharing information.” (Crampton, Hodge & Mishra, 2007)
It is important to bear in mind at this point the spontaneous nature of much of this internal communication, which makes it more difficult to manage, control, police or measure. Because it is opportunistic, speedy and responding to situational changes, it is one of the most dreaded parts of a manager’s job.
Steve Nicholls of Social Media in Business states “Ultimately, as a forward-thinking manager you will want to lay out a vision for the company in which executives, management and employees work together to a common goal. You will need to confirm that you are committed to open and transparent policies, so as to attract the best and most dynamic new employees to hire. Putting in place policies for the use of social media at work can accomplish this, giving you a diamond-edge for your own promotion prospects, and cementing you firmly at the centre of communication strategies at work.”
For more on internal communications strategies for business see Social Media in Business by Steve Nicholls