Title: Importance of Internal Communications for a company and two case studies.
Internal communications is considered a vital tool for connecting people within the company. It does not refer only to those few “official” channels of communication in a company, it is also the strategic management of information flows to ensure the optima level of employee engagement. (Civicus, 2001) This business context of communication is a dual listening process. It is a top-down, bottom-up, side-to-side communication harnessed as a means of delivering messages, listening to concerns and motivating staff. Maintaining a good internal communications within a company could reinforce the vision, values and culture among employees, who can then communicate it to internal and external audiences. Internal communications aims to ensure that employees in the company work together towards the same goal, know what they should be doing and by when.
Internal communication has evolved various ways of communicating internally. Traditionally, it started off with informal and formal one-to-one and one-to-many meetings where usually the ‘the boss’ would communicate in a highly one-way fashion with employees. (Lee, 2006) In this case the message is mostly communicated in one way, it does not include feedback from the message recipients. When print materials were introduced, it was then involved for formal, top-down transmission, for instance, company annual report. Internal communication then evolved to the digital era where Internet was highly used as a communication tool. When email was introduced into the business settings and with it the nature of communication has radically changed. (Lee, 2006) As the digital technology advances, internal communication has evolved to the point where not only can employees and employers freely email each other, forward messages without any editing (showing the whole conversational trail), and forward those messages outside of the corporate walls, but also employees and employers can use these emails to bring about grievance procedures, litigation and dismissal. (Lee, 2006)
It is seen that internal communication has undergone deliberately change and will continue growing. Today’s internal communication practitioner is focused on challenging and stimulating employees, managing change and gaining employee engagement and commitment. (Chalmers, 2008) The aim has moved from controlling and directing people, through providing information, making announcements and supporting industrial relations, to supporting the development of a flexible work environment which adapts to change, seeks improvement, shares knowledge and know-how, generates ideas and involves people in achieving strategic goals. (Chalmers, 2008)
Most of the people understand the significance of internal communication but very few could manage it efficiently. Many people think that internal communication is one of the functions that they think they can do well. In fact, when it comes to real situation on handling employees, certain strategies and techniques are needed to communicate and tackle. In talking to many individuals at very different levels in very disparate sectors, what has come across as crucial is the need for internal communication to be championed at the very top of the organization and also for senior management and the boardroom to respect the expertise of the specialist tasked to deliver, be they internally or externally placed. (Smith, 2008) A large number of studies by both professional management groups and professional communications bodies consistently find that ‘communicating with employees’ is a useful and powerful way of engendering greater ‘engagement’ – the propensity of the employee to want to come to work and want to contribute to the success of the company. (Lee, 2006) Gauri Deshmukh, head of HR at SAS India states that internal communication is important for a company as it provides information and encourages...
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