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From the inside out – the importance of effective internal communication

When most people think of public relations (PR), they think of the public bit – the outward face of an organisation as shown via the media. Good PR takes many strands of communication and makes them work together to promote the positive aspects of your brand. One of the most commonly forgotten, underestimated and important strands of any PR strategy is the internal communication, inward to your employees. From the inside out – the importance of effective internal communication is key to your business success.

In a culture which expects transparency and clear, honest communication in a work environment work as well as the increase in anti-social media from un-communicated to employees – effective internal communication has never been more important.

Motto – treat internal stakeholders with as much respect as external ones.

Internal communications can take many forms, via an intranet, emails, newsletters or message boards. But when it comes to important issues, it should always be two-way, preferably face-to-face. Monthly company-wide meetings can be a good way of keeping everyone up to date with what’s going on in each department.

Effective internal communication needs to come from the top down and the bottom up – by that we mean in a two-way ‘I’m listening’ fashion. This is essential for the smooth running of your business, both to convey your company culture, values, objectives, and achievements as well as to stay on top of employee concerns.

By involving employees, you give them a sense of integrity, involvement, trust and motivation. Involving them in decision-making or at the very least keeping people informed of how the business is doing will encourage loyalty, as well as growing mutual trust and respect. People want to feel that their ideas are welcomed and valued, and this will positively affect staff retention, job satisfaction and levels of customer service.

Don’t forget, employees know their jobs better than you – after all they are the ones that do it everyday. They notice issues and opportunities on a micro level that may not be noticed by management at a macro level. Through effective communication issues can be resolved, best practice shared, crisis diverted and opportunities seized – all of which could have a positive impact on the businesses at large.

Don’t forget, employees are the face of your brand and can determine, maintain or diminish a reputation. Put as much thought, time and emphasis into communicating with your employees as you would with external audiences or a new company logo. After all it is employees that deal with your customers and clients face to face – they determine the view of your company which dictates whether a customer or client a) returns to do businesses with you, b) spreads a positive/negative word of mouth recommendation, c) recommends you as a good employer who hires good staff. All of these can seriously affect how well your business does.

Whether a company with 3, 50 or 8,000 employees, the principles of internal communication remain the same, it’s the practice that changes.

Call our PR teams in Somerset and Devon to discuss how you can effectively use internal communication to engage with your employees.

Katie Sanders: Katie took a sales background into marketing, and holds chartered marketer status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. A devotee of PR she heads up our publicity team.