IN THIS SUMMARY
While many companies invest significant sums of money in their external communications efforts, internal communications are frequently overlooked and considered as being of lesser importance. In today’s competitive, knowledge-driven marketplace, internal—employee—communication has become a strategic necessity that can reflect positively, or negatively, on a company’s bottom-line. By communicating the right message in the right way, companies can increase employee morale, productivity, performance, and retention. Employees are an organization’s most important audience. They execute the business plan that is at the heart of all the communication aimed at other audiences. Although employee communications includes all legally-mandated communication and HR communication, the form of communication leaders and managers will focus on most often is business communication. This includes reporting business news to employees, ensuring that employees understand the marketplace in which the company operates, its customers, its competitors, as well as general economic trends. It also includes ensuring that employees are aware of the company’s goals, the strategies designed to achieve those goals, what the company expects from its employees, how employees are an integral part of company performance, and how they benefit from the company’s success. In addition, business communication includes employee-to-employee communication, making certain that employees obtain the knowledge they need from other employees to do their jobs. Companies need both a general plan for ongoing communications and a special communication plan dedicated to specific issues or events that arise, such as closings, layoffs, acquisitions, crises, etc. The planning process has a number of components, including situation analysis, the establishment of goals, development of strategies and objectives, tasks to be completed to reach the goals, and a measurement and evaluation component. Communicators now have traditional communication tools, such as face-to-face communication, print (newsletter, magazine, etc.), and video as well as high-tech tools such as intranets, email, and instant messaging. With access to traditional and high-tech tools, employee communicators are well positioned to deal effectively with ongoing communication, as well as the specific challenges of communicating bad news and communicating organizational change.