Internal Communications

by Val Lawson

The value of internal communications

Quite apart from the need to comply with the relevant legislation, there is evidence that effective internal communications can

  • Help people understand the business vision
  • Inform people about what’s happening in the business
  • Engage interest and motivate staff to be more productive
  • Involve people in what the business is doing
  • Provide clarity (as a counter to rumours)
  • Include consultations with staff about the need for change or during a time of significant change
  • Inspire people to ‘go the extra mile’.

By helping people understand the business vision and what’s happening, good communications involve them and engage their interest, inspiring them to ‘go the extra mile’. When change is happening, it’s important to give people clear information as a counter to rumours.

Collectively, these elements of communication contribute to ‘employee engagement’. See the topic on Employee Engagement.

Internal communications are vital to every organisation. There is now incontrovertible evidence that good communications within organisations improve performance. Well-informed employees are happier and work more productively, but getting it right is complex. The people at the very top must provide visible leadership and vision, and articulate their organisation’s purpose. Line managers must also be involved, so they can interpret the mission for their teams. There need to be systems in place to allow this to happen regularly and consistently.

There should also be processes for distributing accurate information and meaningful feedback systems. All these varied elements, and others, should be integrated to achieve effective, enlivening communications that serve the organisation’s aims.

In addition, audiences are becoming ever more sophisticated and discerning. The pressure is on communications professionals to innovate constantly to bring maximum impact to their internal communications.


The state of communications in UK Plc

In 2006, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development issued a depressing survey on the state of communication in UK businesses. Among the sobering results:

Around one-third of employees say they rarely or never get feedback on their performance

  • Some 42 per cent of employees do not feel they are kept well informed about what is going on in their organisation
  • Just 37 per cent of employees are satisfied with the opportunities they have to feed their views and opinions upwards
  • Almost half of employees (43 per cent) are dissatisfied with the relationship with their manager.