In a previous article, I looked at PR and IC and how they linked together. In today’s article, I will explain what Strategic Internal Communications means.
Any communication strategy should start with business strategy and rely on it (Wright & Robertson, 2009). Consequently, any Internal Communication strategy has to be linked with the overall mission of the organisation. Planned communication helps to have the attention focused, clear objectives and ensures that mistakes are avoided (Ruck, 2015). However, IC practitioners are hesitant in having a strategy because most of them consider it to be too time-consuming or do not know how to undertake it (Ruck, 2015). There is three main strategies for internal communication: information openness, the supportive climate and performance-based communication (Wright & Robertson, 2009).
- Research-based: consist of understanding the organisation, its culture, values, strategy, and employees;
- Communication theory-based: includes the right communication approach;
- Employee-centred: putting employees demands first;
- Result-based: offering the possibility to measure the objective.
Quirke (2008) describes five steps for developing Internal Communication strategy. The first step is to describe the business strategy and the purpose for it. The second step should describe what employees need to think, feel or do in order to turn strategy into reality. The next step should analyse where employees are now. The next two steps should describe where IC should focus to make the greatest impact and which communication activities need to be undertaken in order to achieve this.
In order to have a strategic Internal Communication, any IC practitioner has to do enough research to understand the organisation mission and values and the employees’ personalities and needs (Greener, 2000). In this way, it can be provided with a strategy that is suitable for employees but helps as well the organisation to move forward. Hence, being more strategic and mature in communicating it can help the organisation to have caring communication and being integrated into the organisation (Cowan, 2014). In the following article, it will be discussed what storytelling is and how it can be incorporated into this Internal Communication strategy.