Thursday, June 25, 2009

Internal Communication

Internal communication means the communications within the organization. It can also be called as an employee communication. This communication may be oral or written, face to face or virtual, one-on-one or in groups.

Today organizations have realized that employees have to do more with the success than any other constituency. So, along with customer care, employee care is more necessary. Today employees also demand to participate in any decision making discussions, this shows they are also supportive towards internal communication. Management must recognize this and provide information to employees and listen to their opinion. This act of better communication will make employees welcome the change rather than not accepting it.

So, the question is: How to create an effective communication in a company?

First thing necessary in creating good internal communication is to know the attitude of employees towards their company. This can be done by arranging a “communication audit”. Depending on the response from the employees the right kind of program can be implemented by communication professionals.

A good manager has to take more than one action in order to maintain an effective internal communication.

Communicating up & down – This is consider the best approach by giving employees an informal, fearless environment with supervisor to share information and ideas.

Face to Face – As we all read in the webct articles, there is no substitute for this type and employees can have the direct touch with the senior managers. Senior management must spare some time for arranging face to face meetings.

Online communication – This is the best and fastest way in today’s time for management to reach its employees for communicating and sharing information. Just like we do online chat in our groups, the companies also have their intranet on which employees can share their views.

Publication for employees – If the top level management will take interest in this, this could be a good medium in large organizations to give real story behind what is happening to the employees to keep them aware.

Visual communication – Everyone feels that visual communication is better than reading memos and information broachers. Large organizations are always equipped with television sets in their departments or if not they always have intranet to telecast their video film rolled up with information for its employees.

Internal Branding – This is also referred as internal marketing to keep employees engaged with their job. With this approach the company must recognize the need to sell the idea to employees along with the customers, this will make employees more focus in what they are doing.

Here are some links giving information related to the chapter:

Creating effective internal communication:

Seven Cs of internal communication:

If Face-To-Face communication not possible then HERE IS THE FUTURE:


As I said in my all experiences, I got good exposure to business culture by working with Cipla pharmaceuticals in India as a medical representative.

During those days, the flow of information from my senior executives was always there. I, at an entry level position, was always getting supervised and was also given a company cell phone with required company people’s contact list, in case if I need to ask anything at any time. We all medical representatives were involved in the meetings to share the objectives, give us new targets and to know from us about the any new and necessary information. So, there was always a nice two-way communication.

Here is a link having additional information about keeping employees informed:

Crisis Communications

A crisis is defined as a major disaster that may occur as a result of human error, intervention, or by natural forces. A crisis can include both tangible and intangible damage which typically share some common characteristics. These include the element of surprise, insufficient information, rapid escalation, and intense scrutiny. While in many cases these incidents cannot be predicted, they can be planned for. It’s important for companies to prepare for the unpredicted in order to be able to answer with an effective communicational response. For example when Johnson & Johnson Tylenol product was laced with cyanide, they quickly recalled their product. As a result they gained a reputation as a company that cares about public welfare. Without this coordinated response the public perception of Johnson & Johnson could have been negatively impacted, which certainly would’ve have affected their competitiveness.

The modern age of business has created a new dynamic of crisis and crisis communication. The use of the internet and modern technology has created more avenues in which a company’s information could be compromised. For example, many companies use the wireless devices to complete million dollar transaction and wireless transactions are more susceptible outside interference. Once a crisis happens the internet permits information to be spread instantly allowing the world to post their opinions all over the web and the voice of the internet must be managed in order to have a successful communications. Just as technology has made it more difficult to manage the situation, it has also allowed companies to strengthen their crisis communications. Companies now have more conduits to reach their constituents to keep them informed about the crisis and their response.

To prepare for a crisis a company must create a plan. Before a plan is drafted they need to analyze their risk, determine effect on its constituencies, and set objectives. The formal plan should be in writing and include who to notify, media relations, and a location for crisis headquarters. Once the crisis has occurred companies need to get control of the situation, gather information, centralize crisis management, communicate early and often, understand media’s mission, communicate directly with constituents, continue with business, and make plans to avoid another crisis.

My Example

While working as a program manager for a non-profit organization, I was part of a team that organized a field trip for participating students. The field trip involved taking a pre-ordered school bus to PNC Park for a tour. The tour began promptly at 11:00 and ended at 1:00 p.m. We were scheduled to board the bus at 10:00 a.m. in order to get there on time. However, the bus never showed up. While this is considered a minor crisis, it was already paid for and we didn’t want to waste the organization’s resources. While there wasn’t plan for this unforeseeable event, there was a coordinated effort to fix the problem. First, we had to call the bus provider to figure out if the bus was coming. Second, once we realized it wasn’t coming we had to quickly figure out how to get there through public transportation. Thirdly, once the route was mapped out we had to contact the Executive Director to get permission to provide each student with bus tickets to get there. Next we called the tour facility and notified them that we were on our way and may be a little late. Finally, once they were notified we organized the students, set ground rules for public transportation, and left for the tour. We separated the task amongst the managers and eventually we were able to participate in the tour on time.

Suggested Links

The following 2 link are blueprints and toolkits for crisis communications

This link is an article about crisis communications