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Internal communication has had many names over the years, depending on the stage of evolution of communication between employees and management the corporate world was at. It was called “staff or employee communication,” “leadership communication,” “industrial relations,” and “change management.”
Who Should Read “Effective Internal Communication”? And Why?
However, the result is not satisfying, since the outcome is a vague and overly general take on internal communication. Moreover, the language and the examples they offer are primarily oriented towards the U.K., assuming that the reader is informed about specific events there.
Therefore, this book may not be useful for readers outside of the U.K., as well as those who already have a more-in-dept knowledge of internal communication.
We recommend it to people who are starting out with this topic, and to those who want to know why internal communication is becoming vital in the modern corporate world.
About Lyn Smith & Pamela Mounter
Lyn Smith has a vast experience in the communication, from ﬁlm publicity to internal communication. At present, she runs a PR ﬁrm. Pamela Mounter, apart from being a senior corporate communication consultant, has written about internal communication for different publications.
“Effective Internal Communication Summary”
Overall it is a relatively new train and has experienced three stages so far. The first phase was before the 60s when employee correspondence was in its earliest stages. It began in industrial relations, and its objective was to increase and improve team spirit.
The second phase was between the 60s and the 80s when journalists entered the corporate world. Finally, the third stage was amid the late 80s when employee correspondence turned into an augmentation of marketing. The group of onlookers for staff communication started incorporating potential clients and suppliers in addition to workers.
Since internal communication is a relatively new discipline, it consists of people that started in various other disciplines. In any case, wherever they come from, the staff members of the internal communication team must be credible.
To achieve that, companies must build a bridge between internal and external communication teams by pushing employees to develop specific business skills.
There are four types of corporate culture. Entrepreneurial organizations have a founder that acts as the corporate policy-maker and strategy developer. Role corporations are enormous, bureaucratic organizations, in which any activity must gain approval by multiple levels of staff.
Accordingly, these cultures use various forms of communication. Personal organizations, such as hospitals or schools, focus on relationships rather than organizational structure. Finally, project-oriented companies are task-oriented.
They are usually consisted of short-term teams and are dispersed in different geographic areas. Such corporate cultures are a product of significant transitions such as mergers and acquisitions.
Each type of company has different communication needs. The nature of the business itself dictates where the internal communication division is placed in the organizational structure.
Communication departments can be located in marketing, administration, finance, public affairs, human resources, corporate affairs, or corporate communication departments. In big enterprises, however, internal communication mostly finds its place in the public relations department.
Smaller firms, on the other hand, usually link it with human resources. Finally, the structure and placement of internal communication are not what is vital. Wherever companies place it, it must work well with other departments.
Also, the linkage between external and internal communication must exist, and it should show itself in the consistency of the messages both divisions provide.
Key Lessons from “Effective Internal Communication”
1. Delivering the Message
2. What Employees Want
3. Measure Success of Communication
Delivering the Message
The way you give your messages is as important as the content you provide. Many barriers stand in the way of clear and straightforward communication such as gender, regional differences, age, or the organization’s history.
To improve staff understanding, when you communicate a significant organizational change, include staff members in the delivery of new information. When talking with different national entities, make sure that you are not offensive to anyone, and that everyone understands the message.
Always take factors such as time zones, translations, humor, social mores into consideration. Remember that culture and background play a significant role in people’s understanding and worldview.
What Employees Want
Your message’s impact grows with the interest that your audience shows towards what you are communicating. Studies show the topics that employees consider the most interesting. Those are:
- Announcements which involve the company’s plans
- Opportunities to advance inside the organization
- Information that could help workers do a better job
- Productivity and efficiency improvement
- Changes in personnel policies
Whenever internal communications are preparing messages and announcements linked to these topics, they should find a balance between the needs of higher management and the needs of the employees. It is crucial for managers to show a positive attitude, and a desire to create a bond with the audience.
You cannot fake a desire to connect, it must be sincere, and you have to mean it. When you make announcements, do it in a timely fashion. Ask the audience for their opinion, get their feedback utilizing surveys, focus groups or questionnaires.
One negative aspect of this way of functioning is that managers may become the target of employees’ resentment. Some managers may need extra training which will prepare them to deal with emotional staff members.
Measuring Success of Communication
Communication is a measurable variable, just like any other business activity. Discover what your employees think, how they reacted to a particular message, and if and how they changed behavior after receiving the news.
To gather such information, you can conduct an audit, use a benchmark, if one is available, or you can prepare surveys, online or in print.
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“Effective Internal Communication” QuotesEarly efforts at internal communication may have gone adrift because they were carried out with little reference to the values of the organization. Click To Tweet In an ideal world internal communication should be a key responsibility for the chief executive of any organization, whatever its size. Click To Tweet It is unwise for any large organization to put all its eggs in one media basket and just use one medium. Click To Tweet The way communication flows around an organization, and equally the ways in which it fails to do so, should be your first and paramount concern. Click To Tweet Internal communication needs to be planned, coordinated and linked to business strategy. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
The authors of “Effective Internal Communication” Lyn Smith and Pamela Mounter have tried to cover e-mail etiquette, communication theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, paginating a publication and running meetings.