At the absolute basic level, the solitary purpose of ‘internal communication’ is to make sure that everyone in the team remains ‘on the same’ page at all times.
From the organizational perspective, it helps unity of purpose and action – leading to a unified goal of success for everyone. The employees, on the other hand, consider themselves a worthy part of the narrative when they hear company news much before the world hears it – just as, and more importantly, when they feel that their communication with the organisation is a dialogue and not a directive.
Fortunately, the prerequisites for that overall agreement are just as uncomplicated:
- Clarity of (purpose of the) message in either or every (vertical + lateral) direction;
- Catalytic medium for a clear message (some mediums are more suited for some purposes);
- Correct consumption of message (precise understanding of and action upon the message by the staff);
and most importantly,
- Command structure walking the message (if the CEO is messy, no amount of communication can extract discipline from the subordinates)
In other words, Internal communications ought to facilitate decision making at the top via quality ‘floor feedback’ and encourage employee participation and output via clear and compassionate responsibility delegation – leading to overall benefit of the organization, the management and the employees.
It goes without saying, however, that though elementary, the aforementioned, quite like preparation of a project report, takes planning, practice and passion. The only favourable difference is that preparation of ‘internal communication’ blueprint is principally a process of adapting a singular message to its finite modes of delivery – within the finite realm of an organisation:
| A | Formal Face-to-Face Meetings | – |
Unless we are talking of a really small organization (< 50 personnel), face-to-face meetings don’t actually mean one-on-one between the management and individual staffers. The exercise can be split into the usual brackets as follows:
- Management Meeting (@ CEOs, group heads, division heads et al)
- Select-Group Cross-Divisional Meeting (@ lateral and vertical core representatives of divisions)
- Workgroup or Divisional Meeting (@ intra division / group meetings of stake holders)
and finally, the
- Entire Organisation ‘Mission & Vision’ Meeting (@ entire strength of the organization)
| B | Informal Face-to-Face Meetings | – |
Anything informal is – or at least ought to be – much lighter. It holds true for informal face-to-face office meetings too. It is difficult to pin down ‘informality’, but here are some of the more obvious ones:
- Drop-ins (mostly top brass visiting ‘the floor’ but can also be about select few invited for a (non classified) management brainstorming)
- The Water Cooler Meeting (rarely between the absolute top and the ground level, but fairly effective for levels just about similar or thereabouts)
- Lunch / Breakfast / Coffee Meetings (between a convener and a small group of stake holders)
| C | Electronic | – |
- Voice (Phone-in and phone-out @ both the leadership and the staff)
- Social Media (an internal social network site or a closed group on platforms like Facebook etc)
- E-mail, including mass group mailers
- Intranet, including sharing domains like Google Drive, Wikis etc
- Podcasts (as in an organization wide radio talk, Q&A etc by a designated person every week)
- Videos (either for the above purpose or to share motivational, educational films @ company objective and targets)
| D | Print and Display | – |
- Continuous Vision and Mission Docs (explaining new targets and changes @ original vision)
- Newsletter (preferably with ample – if not majority – space for employee voices)
- Bulletin Board (especially about forthcoming events, targets and, most importantly, changes)
- Anonymous Suggestion Box
These are just the broad boxes that you need to tick for effective internal communications. You don’t have to subscribe the exact forms. The form would eventually be decided by the nature of your organisation and the purpose of the activity. Remember, the idea is to facilitate precise, coherent and well-timed flow of information across the hierarchy.
Finally, let’s end this concise guide with one last basic bit of truth:
None of the aforementioned internal communications activities sit in a box; they are all eternal processes – like an invigorating fresh water stream.
This tutorial was published on LinkedIn here