The Importance of Internal Communication in an Organization
By Katie Kabat
Most organizations, public or private, understand the importance of external strategic communication with customers and/or stakeholders. Marketing and communication specialists dedicate themselves to make plans for external communication. It is clear that developing long-term strategic plans can guide the decision-making process. However, fewer organizations have addressed INTERNAL communication in the same way.
Internal Communication Strategy Developing
Determine the content, timing and method of internal communication is the task of the top management team. Yet, most of the time, internal communication only takes place when there is a significant occasion, which clearly requires addressing of issues. Communication often happens when major corporate changes occur, such as layoffs or downsizing, or technological changes. However, once the critical moments passed, the internal communication tends to return to its old, irregular, and incoherent pattern.
The reason why internal communication rarely carries out coherently is a bit of a myth. However, there is no doubt that strategic internal communication planning can be a proactive approach to build a stronger and more efficient workforce.
The most successful corporations in the world always own a workforce that understands the values and procedures of the organization. People talk about the Hewlett-Packard “way”, or the Wal-Mart “way” to describe a mature method to communicate their organizational culture in essence.
Clearly, such a well-known corporate culture requires the deployment of all organizational communication resources. There can only be actions when there’s motivation. Now, let’s take a look at some advantages brought by a harmonious inner-organizational culture.
Advantages from Internal Communication
First and foremost, internal communication can increase a sense of identification for the staff, viewing the goals, mission, and procedures of the organization as the working protocol. This can confirm their identity recognition of “making a difference and being an indispensable part in my organization”. Thus, it further influences work efficiency.
Secondly, timely internal communication has the potential to reduce conflict among employees. Conflict can occur when different ideas on what is important to the organization arise. It is beneficial to create a schedule for routine communication between employees who works on the same project, but do not share a common vision or understanding. Employees should first take their time to work independently with the help of online tools and external knowledge. Afterwards, through a common meeting or individual feedback to the communication specialist, the team can solve conflicts and make the right decisions together.
Last but not the least, internal communication can effectively help staff feel a sense of belonging. When everyone considers oneself as an integral part of the organization, an organization can truly thrive.
When we look at organizations that are able to develop a corporate culture, we can notice something in common. Such organizations have created their signature culture through highly coordinated and well-designed communication strategies. They combine multiple methods and consistently train their employees to shape their corporate climate. Through written communication media (eg. newsletters, billboards, slogans…), they can convey a common message, aligning with their organizational cultural goals. The management team must make sure that their communication strategy echos in multiple aspects of management. Such as performance management, department or sub-organization meetings, award and recognition programs, and so on.
Generally speaking, to create a positive organizational climate, internal communication is the key. Through frequent communication, employees will be able to work towards the same direction while respecting the same rules. Once our communication process is smooth, it will be easier to assemble all efforts and become a healthier organization.