In a previous article, I analyse very succinctly what is PR. Now I will try to define Internal Communications. Even though Internal Communication is becoming a self-independent discipline in this article IC it will be still considered as part of PR disciplines. Gill (2011b) argues that Public Relations has the critical role to convey the organisation’ values, mission, and culture through internal communication strategies.
Internal Communication is a deliberate and planned communication within an organisation, usually undertaken by a specialist (Morris & Goldsworthy, 2012). Welch and Jackson (2012, p.183) define internal communication as a “communication between an organisation’s strategic managers and its internal stakeholders, designed to promote commitment to the organisation, a sense of belonging to it, awareness of its changing environment and understanding of its evolving aims”. Depends on the country, internal communication is named differently, such as employee communication, organisational communications (Yeomans & Carthew, 2013), internal relations, internal public relations, staff communication, employee relations (Welch & Jackson, 2007).
IC integrates elements from human resources, communication, and marketing (Verčič, et al., 2012). Depends on the organisation, internal communication is undertaken by Public Relations, Human Resources or Marketing department and each department have its own advantages and disadvantages (Wright & Robertson, 2009). Some Internal Communication characteristics are: sharing information, building relationships and mutual understanding amongst employees, producing commitment and excitement and achieving together the company’s goals (FitzPatrick & Valskov, 2014).
As any other disciplines, Internal Communication has its own critiques. One critique was brought by Morris and Goldsworthy (2008, p. 130) describing IC as a “propagandist’s dream of monopolistic, one-way messaging”. Nevertheless, other scholars agree that IC progressed from keeping the employees informed to have employees informed and engaged allowing them to have a voice in the organisation (Ruck, 2012a). Another critique was pointed out by L’Etang (2005), who believe that employees are too frequently perceived as a single public. Welch and Jackson (2007) answered to this critique with a model of how employees can be grouped by their level. The authors suggested that employees can be taken into consideration as: all employees, strategic management (CEOs, senior management), day-to-day management (supervisors, directors, team leaders), work teams (departments, division) and project teams (internal communication review group, implementation group).
I believe that IC moves more towards two-way communications, letting employee having a voice and emphasising their needs. Which will bring more value to the company and the brand.
Next article will discuss the meaning of Strategic IC.