Monday, July 22, 2019

Importance of Internal Communications Essay Example for Free

Importance of Internal Communications Essay 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 â€Å"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 in troduced 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 sharing by driving and supporting the organisation’s short-term and long-term goals and objectiv es. In addition, Deshmukh also mentions that with effective internal communications, it ensures that knowledge-sharing and communication processes are part of the daily workflow across all functions of the business. By having good internal communication, a company ensures that in between employers and employees they are constantly updated with information. In fact, a good internal communications not only affects organizational and operational success, but it has a considerable impact on external functions such as marketing, community and government relations, nd investor relations. (Brown, 2002) Internal communication is significant in any company because it is the building block of the organisational culture. (Civicus, 2001) Furthermore, internal communication is important so that employees become advocates for company. It is important to create a ‘common purpose’ across the company – creating the sense of a team where everyone feels ownership in their roles and in a chieving the company’s goals. (WK, 2010) In this way employees feel accepted and being part of the company. Likewise, internal communication is one of the key ‘intangible’ factors leading to high performance. (WK, 2010) For instance, if communication in a company is managed well employees are more confident and clear with the company mission and vision thus makes excellent financial as well as business. Not only that, having good internal communication helps build out company’s brand internally as employees are the best ambassadors, and internal perceptions should mirror what the company is telling the world. Trout, 2012) When the company is communicating effectively with its internal stakeholders, be it employees, management or volunteers, programmes and departments share more resources and information resulting in less duplication of work and stronger impact as a whole company. (Civicus, 2001) Without an effective internal communications, a company allows others to determine what information (or disinformation) is communicated to employees about their company. Brown, 2002) Smart employers realize that in environments where employees are able to move from one employer to another with relative ease, it is in the company’s best interests to retain the smarter and more productive employees; doing all they can to communicate with them, inform them, influence them and enter into some sort of psychological contract with them is a wise move. Lee, 2006) Besides, without effective internal communications, the crisis of confidence in businesses and corporate leadership could hurt sincere efforts to build a positive corporate culture and to enhance employee morale and productivity, and devastate the overall image of an organization. (Brown, 2002) Case Study I: Nokia is one of the top mobile phone manufacturer favoured by many people. In order to compete with other mobile phone manufacturer Nokia is constantly improvising and upgrading their gadgets to serve people needs these days. The reason Nokia has been so successful is no doubt its creation on mobile phones, as well as the strong team in the company that has made where it stands today. In a technologically savvy company like Nokia, it’s no surprise that they’ve been successfully implementing social media into their internal communications. (Kass, 2012) Nokia’s motto is connecting people and exploring ways to enhance communication. (Kass, 2012) In order to realize that vision, Nokia uses a number of different vehicles for two-way and push or pull communications; social media plays a big part with fitting into that strategy. Nokia’s Social Media Communications team was established in early 2008, aimed to improve inter-company communications and engaging employees. The objective of the team is to: encourage the use of social media internally to bring out the company’s unique authentic voice and to engage in social media externally on behalf of Nokia, and contributing to product and service announcements by opening up a dialogue and driving online engagement. (Kass, 2012) Nokia has 125,000 employees around the world. It is the company’s utmost important task to engage all employees in order to achieve company business goal. There are a few platforms in Nokia allowing employees from global to connect as if they work in a small company together. According to Molly Schonthal who worked on the companys Social Media team in North America, the BlogHub is Nokia’s most powerful and effective social media tool that is used internally. It has been said that BlogHub lowers the barriers for employees to find conversations relevant to them. In terms of interaction, employees are allowed to communicate freely via BlogHub. They could make comment on posts, share ideas and knowledge on issues that have been mentioned. In addition, BlogHub serves as a useful search engine for employees to seek out information relevant to them. From a management point of view, through BlogHub feedback on various issues are gained quickly and track the conversations that are happening inside the company. Voting and ratings on posts are enabled as well for employees to be part of the decision team. Nokia has also introduced Nokia Conversations blog where latest Nokia product news would be posted. Through this blog employees could find a big overview of all the topics going on in Nokia. Similar to any other company that is engaged on social media, Nokia has its very own YouTube and Twitter account. Other than that, VideoHub has grown increasingly popular with employees allowing for postings to be updated on a daily basis. Besides, Nokia’s Infopedia wiki allows employees to share knowledge inside the company. If someone needs to quickly check a piece of information, Nokia’s effective internal communication channel, Instant Messaging (IM) is available for employees. It claims to remove the barrier of more formalized communication in between employees. For global company like Nokia, in order to save cost and time, Nokia has it’s own video conference channel where annual communication meetings and real time conversations could be held. Considering people do not check their mailboxes as much anymore Nokia has slowly cut down prints publications in an effort to become more environmentally aware. In fact Nokia in North America has completely eliminated print publications. Newsletters are now kept to an electronic HTML format, which is e-mail so it is more easily distributed. Similar to every other company Nokia uses intranet communications as well. It is the center of where people go to get information on benefits or organization charts. Furthermore, to reach more employees, Nokia regularly posts relevant company announcements on plasma screens around regional offices, usually in cafeterias and breakout rooms, with its promise on going environmental friendly. At North America, leadership also encourages employees to speak directly with their line managers to better understand organizational strategy and what role they can play in that strategy. For all of Nokia’s Web 2. 0 tools, Schonthal is quick to point out that â€Å"social media is never a replacement for high touch engagement. † (Kass, 2012) Instead, it can contribute to various company events and other in-person initiatives. â€Å"Social media complements these things but doesn’t take away from the ability to internally engage and share ideas,† she further explains. Nokia provides many platforms for employees to stay engaged, all for one clear identified goal – connect all the people in the company. For such global company I believe Nokia in different countries or branches could decide on which channel they prefer but I believe as a whole, all the employees in Nokia stay connected via BlogHub. After reviewing how Nokia strives to engage the employees I could see that the management team work hard on receiving feedback as well. They listen to their employees. They make changes. All these actions give employees feel accepted and belonged to the company. The end result is the employees are clear with the goals, mission and procedures of the company, which can result increase their work effort and efficiency and boost business. Case Study II: â€Å"We were driven to connect the organization with itself, and realized enterprise social networking was the solution. I can truly say after more than two years that we have achieved an official internal communications channel. Socialcast lifted the boundaries and made our organization transparent. We connect daily with people from India, China, the US, and Brazil. Without Socialcast it would not be possible,† says Dennis Agusi, Global Internal Communications Officer, Royal Philips Electronics. Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of â€Å"sense and simplicity†. Philips Case Study 2012) In 2010, Philips began to explore how the company should help its employees spread around the globe to feel engaged, work like a small team driven by shared goals. On the way of researching, the Corporate Communications and IT department discovered that approximately 1,600 employees were actively using a free tool they had found on the Internet to communicate and collab orate. Knowing two platforms for collaboration would not be a great idea so the team took initiative to introduce a new platform to these early users. These early users provided positive and valuable feedback and recommendations on how to improve the enterprise social experience the best it could be. Then it led to a successful launch of an enterprise social network. The company adopted â€Å"Connect Us† and the network was launched with wide support. On launch day, Connect Us had 400 members. Within two months, 7,000 employees had joined the community. Through Connect Us they allow employee-to-employee exchanges as well as management-to-employee communications. Employees are allowed to post freely, share knowledge to make work easier. Connect Us helps to remove barriers between departments as well. Through Socialcast Reach, employees are allowed to share information and data in between departments resulting a more seamless flow of work. In addition, a new idea can be communicated more broadly, increasing sense of connectedness and engagement across the company. From management perspective, through Connect Us, the Communications and IT team could monitor what’s happening in the company, check trending topics or people, at real time. According to report, Connect Us has enabled new and sometimes unexpected forms of employee engagement. All Employee Jam† was a crowdsourcing project designed to bring to life the company’s new, refreshed Mission and Vision statement through dialogue, discussion and debate. This exercise has successfully drawn employees who had not yet joined the social community into Connect Us. According to feedback, employees who participated in this exercise were found to be far m ore aware of and aligned with the Philips Mission and Vision than those employees who did not participate. This resulted Philips truly believes that enterprise social networks help companies increase employee engagement and retention. I liked the idea of how Philips tries to maintain the communication channel as one, which is Connect Us. I believe there are other platforms available for instance intranet but Connect Us is actively used by people in the company. From not knowing employees are using free online tool to communicate to introducing socialcast network, Philips has come a long way into realizing the importance of internal communication. The All Employee Jam has definitely demonstrated the power of enterprised social networking. It encouraged the employees to share knowledge, to stay connected which resulted in a greater identity with the company. In this two case studies, both companies Nokia and Philips selected appropriate channels for communication according to its needs. Nokia has different communication platforms serving different purposes. For instance, BlogHub allows employees to find information they need and Instant Messaging is a tool for quick and easy communication. On the other hand, Philips focus mainly on Connect Us, from searching information to accelerating ideas to sharing data it is all done on Connect Us. However, on my opinion, Nokia has too many platforms it might be tough to engage all the employees in one platform, as the users are free to choose which platforms they get information from. Whereas Philips uses Connect Us, most of the employees are part of the community and anything they need require can be found on Connect Us. I think this is one of the advantages of having a focused channel. Likewise, the tools and tactics, both companies chose to be focus more on information technology. In terms of interactivity, both companies engage their employees as well as welcoming their feedbacks. The employees are encouraged to utilise these channels to feel more accepted and being part of the company. For instance, Philips Connect Us not only allows employees-to-employees exchange, as well as management-to-employees communication. In this case it removes barriers between management and employees so work can be done easier. As for Nokia, feedbacks are valued through voting and ratings on posts and comments, allowing management to understand the employees better. Besides, both case studies reviewed the importance of evaluation on internal communication. In order to improve, the management team has to constantly measure the effectiveness of the communication tools and find ways to improve. Nokia and Philips monitor their employees through these platforms to find out what is really happening in the company. This way they could make sure the employees are on par with company’s goals. In conclusion, internal communication has never been so important. Many people know what internal communication is and they think they know how to function this but they might not know the true meaning behind it. Effective internal communication does not mean to have a lot of communication platforms, spending big budget on this function but utilizing the appropriate communication tool for employees get involved. If you want to build brand for your company first you have to build your brand internally. After all employees are the representatives of your company, they are the brand. Internal communication comes a long way to build, it might need more time and effort to achieve the effective result as desired but the end result is always proven satisfaction, that I am sure. A combination of strong communication, teamwork and camaraderie framed within trusting relationships will help achieve remarkable results in times of large-scale change and uncertainty, writes University of Nottingham chief executive Peter Homa. And finally, in my own words, you cant communicate with your audience until your internal message is crystal clear.

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