The Importance of Internal Communications: How it Varies and What It Looks Like Today

While many companies see the benefits of a strong focus on external communications, fewer recognize the strategic value of a robust internal communications program.  

Consider the following four situations: 

  1. Mergers/Acquisitions: When a company decides to embark on a merger, acquisition, or any major cost-cutting expansion, internal communication is key. It keeps everyone within the company on the same page, helps them all understand the reasons for new initiatives, and clarifies what the business objectives are.
  2. Launching a New Product: Many times external communications managers oversee internal communications when launching a new product, as the company tries to get the new information out to the public and press. Yet, this is where internal communications is especially critical for preparing employees for the launch and letting them know exactly what the new product will mean for the company’s financials and growth.
  3. Company Culture: As a company grows over time, it must retain the healthy culture that kept it together in the first place. For example, during and following the acquisition of another company, internal communications is essential to orient employees from the new company and to allow for an effective integration of company values and culture.
  4. Reputational & Crisis: Before a company faces an operational or reputational crisis, it is essential to use internal communications to establish core values from the top down. Then, when a crisis occurs, the foundation has been laid for a clear restatement of what the company stands for, rather than trying to convey it for the first time.

Some general guidelines to keep in mind when employing internal communications:

  1. Identify or establish specific channels to be used to communicate with internal stakeholders and employees (for example, an intranet site, newsletters, town halls, weekly emails, podcasts, etc.) based on strategic importance and time sensitivity.
  2. Decide what information should be provided in each specific channel.
  3. To increase internal acceptance and usage, outline ahead of time a well-established, consistent set of criteria for when to use each channel.

Finally, when considering the role internal communications plays in companies today, we see a few key ideas:

  1. In the current era of social media, with even more competing voices, there is more at stake for a company if they have not set up a solid foundation of internal communications.
  2. It’s crucial for companies to establish credibility and reliability among employees to ensure they hear about company news from the company first, rather than from social media or other online news sources
  3. If a company fails to establish good internal communications, employees are more likely to listen to incorrect or misguided outside voices which can lead to confusion and distrust.

If your company, business or organization wants to establish effective, proactive and foundational internal communications, Pierpont Communications can help. Contact us today.

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