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Get Your Internal Corporate Communications Right

By: Anish V. Koshy

Anish V. Koshy presently handles content management for the website, Intranet and internal newsletter development as well as advertising with i-flex solutions limited, Bangalore, India as Assistant Manager - Corporate Communications. The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and it in no way reflects the views of his organization.

Does internal communication play a role in your organization's growth? Do you still feel that internal communications isn't really important? Does it matter to you if employees are not kept informed of every aspect of an organization's activities?

If the answer to any of these queries is in the negative, you could be facing an uphill task getting your act together among your employees.

To start with it depends on the type of organization you work in and what it is trying to achieve. If it has a pretension of serving a customer base, about operating in a competitive environment, about offering a product or service to its consumers, then it is vital that it pays full attention to the question of internal communications.

Why communicate with employees?

First and foremost, to represent the best aspects of the organization to the company.
Then to present a competitive edge the company has in the market place.
And finally, create a good impression on customers and opinion formers.

An organization of say 1600 employees has 1600 ambassadors. All of them are as good or bad as the organization that employs them.

What are the consequences of not communicating?

The consequences are generally widespread. It generates the proverbial fence sitters- employees who are kept in the dark and not sure where they belong.

Such employees will not try their hardest for that organization, will not carry out the tasks willingly and will not put themselves out for the sake of the customer.

In essence, the importance of internal communications is to create and substantiate a commitment among employees, which will help the organization to achieve its primary goals. That is why it is so critical to the continued existence of any structured organization, irrespective of what it is or what it does. Too much energy is wasted in internal strife in too many organizations, players playing politics, arguing about who should do what and nobody doing it properly and jostling for positions.

The bigger the organization, the greater the scope for inefficiency by muddled, ill-conceived and amateurish internal communications.

Behavioral patterns also play a major part. It's always easier not to communicate with personnel than to communicate with them. What could be easier than saying and doing nothing?

There are also cases of personnel at all levels being afraid to communicate with others, not necessarily just those who report to them. This is based on the belief that knowledge is power and that as soon as this knowledge has been shared they become obsolete and their power has eroded.

Unfortunately, too many organizations encourage this type of thinking with fairly primitive cultures and promotional systems that take too little account of the balance between personal ambition and corporate benefit.

The question of attitude and the way in which employees of all kinds are managed and motivated is important. Since it is difficult either to manage and motivate properly unless there is a reasonable level of communication, that is the starting point for many debates on enhancing commitment.

In order to generate commitment from employees, the elements of confidence and trust have to be present to some degree first. This has more to do with ownership and the productivity matrix.

If employees share ownership, the productivity level can often be very much lower.

This is proof that effective employee communications benefits company and individuals alike, it improves performance, helps the company to survive and increases the security and commitment of individuals to the company.

So what does good internal communication do?

One, it improves the work environment climate, while increasing awareness among employees of company activity and plans.

Two, the management gets to hear suggestions about the company's plans and policies from its employees through effective feedback mechanisms.

Three, the company is able to use fully the accumulated experience of all its employees.

Four, it enhances the role of its managers.

Five, it gives more positive attitude to change within the company.

Six, allows opportunities to solve problems before they become crises.

Seven, it creates and sustains employees commitment.

Finally, it concentrates effort on the task on hand - achieving the company's objectives - rather than internal wrangling.

So, before your problems become crises, run a weather check on your internal communications.

© Copyright 2001 Anish V. Koshy

Other Articles by Anish V. Koshy

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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