Intro to Internal Communications ICM
The exchange of information and ideas within an organisation (Bovee & Thrill).
• Organisational communication – complex and continuous process through
which organisational members create, maintain and change the
Transactions between individuals at various levels…intended to design (and organisation.
redesign) organisations and coordinate day to day activities (Frank & Brownell). o Organisational news.
o Anything that affects their jobs and conditions.
Why have ICM o Social news.
• Productivity and effectiveness – not being in groups where they replicate o Info to deal with external audiences.
the work of others e.g. marketing and PR. o Consultation.
• Alignment with organisational goals. o Reward and recognition.
• Internal public’s ability to influence customers and other stakeholders – o What’s on.
ensures they are the best ambassadors.
• Part of reputation management. Tools
• Employee engagement. • New services.
• Intranets and databases.
Kinds of issues addressed (Harrison) • Noticeboards.
• Physical environment – allocating space and equipment. • Events.
• How managers spend their time – who they’re talking to and what they’re • Staff meetings and face-to-face.
talking about. • Newsletters.
• Employee behaviour – recognition and reinforcement and outlining issues. • Memos.
• Individuals and departments and how they are treated – part. ones that are
under resourced. Strategic IC roles
• Emphasis in work systems and procedures – so they know what to do. • Supporting major change programmes.
• What is measured/evaluated. • Communicating messages from top management.
• Unwritten values. • Communicating the business mission/vision/values.
• Modelling of desired behaviours by managers/supervisors. • Raising awareness of business issues and priorities.
• Raising/maintaining the internal credibility of the top team.
Key elements of successful ICM (www.leehopkins.net) • Employee management.
• Is focused on only one specific strategic business issue. • Facilitating feedback.
• Is written in language the receiver is able to comprehend. • Enhancing managers’ communication skills.
• Has an outcome that is specific and measurable – can be evaluated.
• Is delivered in a timely manner and in a medium that the receiver is willing Technical IC activities
and happy to receive it in. • House journals/magazines.
~~~~~~~ • E-zines/e-newsletters.
• Management conferences.
What to communicate • Briefing groups.
• Employee annual report. • Management journal/magazine. o The physical environment.
o How managers spend their time.
Managing rumours o Employee behaviour that is recognised, rewarded,
• Address employee concerns immediately and completely wherever reinforced/ignored.
possible. o The extent to which managers model desired behaviours.
• When rumours are inaccurate, use both formal and informal o The unwritten values of the org in contrast to the formal values
communication channels to correct the false info. promoted by management.
• When rumours are accurate, but the timing is not right, educate employees
instead of ignoring them. Aspects important to employees
• Job content and the skills required to perform well.
Successful ICM • Regular feedback on their performance.
• Planned correctly, measurable outcomes, succeeds (makes it a better run • The non-salary support they get from their employer.
company). • Their team’s role and performance.
• Build trust and credibility through reliability/predictability. • How well the org is achieving its mission and how local teams can support.
• Do what you say you’re going to do. • Employee involvement in decision making and workplace improvement.
• Choose the right channel at the right time for the right message.
Helping to create a productive and satisfying worklife for employees Who should communicate
• Employees are the most important stakeholders. • CEO – future direction of the organisation.
o Org depends on them to do the work that enables it to fulfil its’ • Immediate supervisor – provide feedback and advise on training and
purpose, achieve its mission and reach its goals. development.
o Main purpose of organisational communication is to support the • Team meetings – for discussion on local issues, interaction with other
work of employees. teams, info on new products and services and news on competitors.
• Goals of employee communication. • Business unit heads – business unit matters at a high level.
o Create (among all employees) an understanding of the org’s • Subject matter experts – specialised topics e.g. HR and super.
mission, vision, goals, values, operations, products, services,
problems and achievements. Types of communication that work best
o Keep all employees informed on significant developments that • Senior management communication.
affect them. • Upward communication (extent to which managers understand and listen
o Solicit and encourage employee input for continuous improvement to employees).
of operations in order to achieve organisational goals. • Change communication.
o Satisfy employees’ desires to be kept informed and to participate in • Consultation and involvement.
the formal and informal activities. • Cross-functional communication.
o Generate a positive attitude to work. • Strategic direction.
o Communicate a cohesive view of the business priorities of the org • Job info and feedback.
and the need for change in response to changes in the operating • Immediate supervisor.
• Communication is everyone’s role – effective communicators need to Communicating business strategy clearly
address the ensuring issues in a systematic way. 1. Create ‘line of sight’ between overall strategy, team implementation and personal o Ensuring CEO and senior manager ownership for communication.
contribution. o Managing CEO symbolism.
2. Focus on relevance – consistent focus to show how work leads to quantifiable o Ensuring consistency of key messages across executives.
results. o Conducting ongoing but quick diagnostics and finetuning the
3. Create opportunity for employee dialogue as a fundamental component of approach.
communication. o Monitoring changing workforce needs and issues for the CEO.
4. Seek employee input about content and process before implementing changes. o Telephone follow up to staff about CEO presentations.
5. Build communication coaching and training of managers into the process. o Email feedback response systems to assess the extent to which
6. Focus on eliminating layers of info from strategy process. issues are understood and accepted by employees.
7. Lead with face-to-face communication and reinforce with formal communication
to provide further details (e.g. newsletters). Channels of employee communication
8. Spend time with leaders to ensure continuing alignment with daily variables and • Meetings; interviews; CEO emails to staff; newsletters.
the strategic direction. • Teleconferencing; copies of MRs; intranet; online bulletin.
CEO the key communicator The internal impact of the internet
• Needs to: • 2 way communication benefits.
o Communicate how the pressure of external events has forced the • Social media.
need for change. • Employee segmentation – communication more effective when tailored
o Communicate their personal vision. carefully to the individual’s interests, wants and needs.
o Report progress towards organisational goals.
o Be proactive by focusing on the future. Create partnerships with the HR department
o Model desired behaviours and values. • PR & HR are both:
o Visit, seek out views, listen and talk with staff. o People focused.
o Manage communication as an ongoing process. o Misunderstood by the rest of the business.
• Communicate with employees by: o Undervalued by many businesses.
o Discussing issues with frontline managers. o Seen as a corporate overhead that could be first to cut if times are
o Holding small group discussions and genuinely listen to staff. tough.
o Holding road shows with no hold or barred questions. o Hard to provide measurable results.
o Using broadcast emails/voicemails on a regular basis and as o Female dominated professions.
required by circumstances. o Being challenged to prove value.
o Explaining face-to-face while using print communication to confirm o Looking for a seat at the decision table.
details. o Trying to operate at a strategic level.
o Using external media to reach employees. • Benefits of partnership:
• Communicators can support CEOs by: o More effective achievements of PR goals and objectives.
o Identifying the concerns and needs to various internal audience o More status within the organisation.
segments. o More value-creation for the org.
o Developing and updating a communication plan for the various o More opportunity to get involved in important strategic issues.
audiences. o Greater access to budgets for cross-functional projects. The Communication Plan/Strategy ICM
o A chance to prove the worth of the PR group. Planning
Broad ideas for ICM.
Using PR to build the employer brand
• Employer brand says: Strategic thinking
o Who we are and what we do. • Strategy:
o What kind of place this is to work. o Aim of something, purpose or objectives.
o What the employer and employee get out of working there. o The determination of the basic long term goals and objectives of an
o What kind of people fit in there. enterprise and adoption of action and allocation and resources
• Employer branding makes good business sense. necessary for carrying out these goals.
o Link between satisfaction and engagement. o A unifying theme that gives coherence and direction to the actions
o Employer companies generate higher shareholder returns. and decisions of an individual/org (Grant).
o Good employer brand attracts top talent. o The way an org maximises its profit relevant to its competitors.
o Good employer brand keeps org ‘top of mind’ with potential job
candidates. • Provides a framework for the strategic and operational plans and through
• Stay consistent with marketing brands. the resulting strategy attempts to determine what the org should like in the
• Generated by experience, insight, knowledge, leadership, management,
observation and recognition.
• How a firm attempts to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
• Main reason for coordination of activities is to ensure everyone in the org
pulls in the same direction.
• Plans can be used to gain tangible and moral support of influential
• Written plans also inform finance people, suppliers, etc about the intention
of the org so they can help achieve its plans.
Discussing internal publics (Newsom & Haynes)
• Geographic location.
• Marital status.
• Household size.
PR plans/tactics • What you do to reach PR objectives/goals. • Other more pressing issues take over current programs.
• Built in a PR campaign/program to achieve a specific goal.
• Arise out of key strategies (after planning). Successful PR plans – measured by outcomes
• Designed for specific publics as each group may need a different • Evaluation - to foster understanding about outcomes between practitioners
approach. and stakeholders.
o Newsletters need to be published in different languages. o Have be achieved our goals/objectives.
o Newsletters – different focus for particular groups. o Have we improved.
• Types: o How do we really know our results.
o Interpersonal – face-to-face e.g. open days. o How efficiently did we arrive at the end of our strategic plan.
o Organisational media – e.g. newsletters, blogs. o How did our strategy change things.
o News media – e.g. media kit. o What did we achieve that we didn’t plan.
o Advertising and promo media – e.g. billboards.
A communications plan
Strategies are planned and reflect PR professionalism • Background/rationale:
• A strategic practitioner is professional because budget strategies and o Discuss what you know about the org.
overall organisational strategies reflect careful planning and management o Outline the argument.
by: • Target public:
o Objectives. o Very brief description of the key public (as specific as possible).
o Flow charts – network of activities. o E.g. Local Government employees and prospective contract and
o PERT charts – identifies critical path of essential activities that must community partners.
be done for the project to be completed on time. • Secondary target public:
o Asks: o Brief description of any other publics who may be interested.
! What has to happen. • Goal statement:
! What must happen when. o Sentence that encapsulates the outcome(s) required for the project
! How long will each task take. – written in present tense.
o E.g. As of Dec 1 2008 compliance of the YMCA Victoria Marketing
PR plans – limitations and communications as perceived by partners in surveys is now
• Needs to be revised when unexpected crises impact overall planning. 80%.
• Key objectives need to be revised to reflect and address publics • Objectives:
perception. o Statements that support goals and should be expressed in clear,
• Key messages are not reflected in practice. measurable terms.
• The public interpret an organisation’s practice as being in conflict with o Outline 4-5 outcomes that need to be achieved to ensure the goal
perceived needs. statement occurs.
• Online and offline messages are contradictory reflecting inconsistency in o E.g. to create awareness of the organisation in the fashion industry
planning and delivery. by end 2013.
• Planning takes place externally with little ownership of the plans and what • Strategy:
they mean. o Specific plans to reach an organisation’s objectives.
• Budget constraints in other areas that take priority. o PR plans, then specific strategies, then tactics. o Aimed to achieve effective output and expected outcomes.
• Key messages: Key publics
• Activities: • Publics – individuals, groups and corporate entities that we need to
• Timing: communicate with in order to achieve our objectives.
• Evalutation: o All different in intentions, objectives, influence and socioeconomic
Why plan o Need to appreciate these differences if you are to communicate
• To formalise and spell out the direction that organisation is taking (gives a effectively with them.
structure). o Your ethics/actions must be planned and sustained.
• Essential to showing your value to an org. o Having a good relationship with internal publics helps you to be
• To close the expectation gap (issues management). relevant and remain in business.
• Pre-empt organisational, stakeholder, internal community needs. o Enables you to experience little/no barriers to pass info across to
• Being one step ahead – proactive. them with respect to the objectives you want to achieve.
• Create opportunity. o Types of publics:
• Establish objectives that have long term positive outcomes. ! Latent – internally, people that are engaged in the company
that aren’t really active.
• Strategic plans are symbolic declarations that the strategies that have
thought carefully about problems and utilised their knowledge and power ! Active – active members of the org.
to resolve these problems. ! Activists and dessenters – people that support org; slag it off.
• The act of making a plan is to claim expertise because it requires the ! Primary and secondary – something might be a primary
participants to resolve situations. concern to some but a secondary one to others.
o Planning is a deeply political process in which it is highly desirable o Demographic thinking: internal publics.
for the practitioner to be a participant. ! Age; gender; occupation; education; marital status, etc.
• PR planning components: ! Used to find out how publics communicate.
o Preventative – issues management, preventing a crisis.
! If something can potentially go wrong then the preventative Tactics
plan can avoid it. • Designed for specific publics as each group may need a different
o Proactive – anticipating needs and being creative in addressing approach e.g.
them. o Newsletters published in different languages.
! If something is going to change in the org, good internal o Different focus for particular groups.
communications plan will know before it happens. o Newsletters withdrawn as they no longer serve a purpose.
• Strategic – needs research. • Need to constantly update your thinking.
o E.g. meeting to respond to rumours of a takeover. • Internal tactics:
o Responsible. o Intranets – group emails – the strategy to promote increased
o Transparent-ethical. participation in organisation’s decision making.
o Evaluated. o Bulletin boards.
• Need to reflect the mission and vision of an org. o Special events.
• Need to be adaptable. o Events to promote org – synthesis of internal/external PR planning.
• Values statements are becoming important. o Enclosed SM – private fb groups, google hangout, yammer. • Adverse findings.
Research • Line manager reluctance.
• Practitioner may: • Laziness.
o Conduct online/mail survey.
o Provide a hotline on a specific issue. When research indicates a different point of view
o Run focus groups. • Discuss outcomes with management and ensure tactics and strategies.
o SMS targeted groups. o Reflect the overall organisational goals and mission statement.
• Use research to present and justify plans. o Align with projected outcomes.
• To find out useful info relevant to what they’re working on to solve a o Practitioner works with the executive team in targeting prioritised
• To find out an issue/opportunity before we start to develop the strategy.
• To monitor progress and evaluate results: Budgeting
o Sample selected – work with one demographic. • PR plans are aligned with key objectives and budget strategies that are
o Collect and assess data. manageable.
o Qualitative and quantitative research important. o Need to have an understanding of budgeting.
! Quantitative – gives guidelines on trends.
• Possible considerations:
! Qualitative – gives in-depth understanding of issues e.g. o The launch of the event.
focus groups. o Running contests.
• Think about research before, during and after. o Staff time.
o Editing of all material.
Research design, aim and limitations o Cost of venues.
• Online questionnaires save time. o Printing costs for brochures.
• Research participants are busy people and may reject an offer to
participate in research.
• Questionnaire fatigue is now common.
• Need assistance with design of questionnaires and focus group
o Avoid bias, narrow perspective and include follow up questions that
assist in gaining an overall understanding.
Barriers to research (in external communications)
• Lack of professional experience.
• Lack of expertise.
• PR is too complex for evaluation.
• Fear of accountability.
• Inertia against new skills.
• Lack of comfort with numbers.
• Inability to gain funding. Story telling in PR ICM
What is story for ! Mutual benefit (we’re both great) – story about two parties
• Need to be playful. coming together.
• Desire to explain. ! Facts.
• Account for the things that are hard to grasp. • Get info and shape it by including and excluding things and using
• Communication of experience. language.
• Aesthetic need. • Framing for PR people:
• Record the past. o Metaphor, traditions, artefacts, stories, slogans/catchphrases,
Why we tell stories • How to use it in PR:
• Powerful communication tool that conveys an organisation’s values and o Look for stories that engage in everything you write.
resonates with publics. o Know how to ‘edit’.
• Practitioner’s role as narrator/facilitator of stories offers a way to motivate o Make sure you have three acts in your work.
and relate to publics and consumers. o Know your target publics and their stories.
• For IC – story telling creates reform, feeling of collectiveness and not just o What story suits your medium (efficacy).
working for a bureaucracy. o If your work begins with a question, answer it.
• More effective for people to remember key ideas. o Ensure your work has a theme and your story supports it.
Elements of story Anecdotes
• Character. • A short account of an entertaining or interesting incident.
• Conflict – competing goals. • A personality profile should contain a combination of description,
• Structure – progression. background info and anecdotes.
• Character change/growth. • It’s the anecdotes that bring profiles to life (Johnson & Zawali).
• Central consuming idea.
What is a story
• Creative demonstration of truth.
• The living proof of an idea.
• The conversion of idea into action.
• Story’s event structure is the means by which you first express and then
prove your idea (McKee).
• A window that is drawn around info that focuses on key info within through
inclusion, exclusion and emphasis (Hallahan).
• Effect on PR (Lundy):
! Moral norms (we’re great) – story that says we’re good. Boundary Spanning 27/05/13 3:53 PM
Boundary spanner o Relationship management.
Individuals within the organisation who frequently interact with the organisation’s o Strategic counselling.
environment and who gather, select and relay info to decision makers.
• Sits in systems theory. Environmental scanning
• Excellent communicators and key players with access to internal decision • Media and internet monitoring.
makers and key stakeholders. • Business intelligence gathering.
• Goal – to achieve mutual understanding between org and practitioners and • Networking and industry associations.
publics. • Stakeholder management.
• PR usually devote more attention to adjusting the environment around the • Environmental analysis:
org itself, but increasingly, boundary spanners are seen to help attune the o Economic e.g. market.
org to the environment. o Political e.g. government policies.
• PR theorists now recognise the importance of understanding the o Technological e.g. maturity of technology.
perspectives of relevant publics and using two-way communication. o Legal.
• Two-way symmetric communication with publics presents the best o Social/cultural e.g. lifestyle trends.
normative practice of PR. o Demographic.
• PR as boundary spanning: o Remote environment forecasting.
o Seen as a boundary spanning function. • SWOT.
o Corporate identity has benefits for employees and people not • PEST – political, economic, social and technological analysis.
directly part of the org. • PEEST – political, economic, environmental, social and technological
o Defining identity is the reason spanning is becoming more popular. analysis.
• Functions of boundary spanning: • EPISTLE – environmental, psychological, institutional and political
o Gaining info. impacts, social, technological, legal, economic.
o Achieving info.
o Facilitation of exchange through networking. Strategic counselling
• What they do: • Giving advice to CEO’s/senior staff.
o Gather and analyse info. • Confidant.
o Represent the org with funding bodies, government, corporate • Advocating for internal and external publics.
partners and media. • Can advise on:
o Maintain those relationships. o How to promote product/service.
• Internal boundary spanning: o Handle an issue/crisis.
o Use soft skills. o Understanding diversity.
o Non-hierarchical. • Successful strategic counselling:
o Dialogue based. o Understands broad and specific issues.
o Proactive. o Target public attitudes.
o Relationship based. o Can generate change in opinion and behaviour.
• Features: o Evaluation as tool to measure success.
o Environmental scanning. o ‘privilege’ of role.
o Networking, o Can research and implement strategic communication. o Understands how public policy issues are discussed and resolved. • Org-public relationships are represented by the patterns of interaction,
transaction, exchange and linkage between an org and its publics.
Networking o These relationships have properties that are distinct from the
• Using contacts made in business for purposes beyond the reason for the identities, attributes and perceptions of the individuals and social
initial contact e.g. sales rep asking customer for names of others who may collectivities in the relationships.
be interested in the product. o Dynamic in nature but org-public relationships can be described at
• The inter- or intra- exchange of services or info between different a single point in time and tracked over time.
individuals, groups, companies or institutions. • Making connections:
• Creates a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, o Formation of relationships occurs when:
insight, resources and info. ! Parties have perceptions and expectations of each other.
• Meeting people who can be of help to you and you being a help to them. ! When one or both parties need resources from the other.
• Internal networking: ! When one or both perceive mutual threats from an uncertain
o Strong connections throughout your own org will be a significant environment.
determinant of your success. ! When there is either a legal or voluntary necessity to
• Indicators of relationships:
• Effectively managing organisational-public relationships around common o Trust, openness, involvement, investment and commitment.
interests and shared goals. Professional r/ships. Services need to be delivered in a business manner.
• Overtime, results in mutual understanding and benefit for interacting
Services meet the need of publics.
organisations and publics. Demonstrate a willingness to invest financially in the org-
o Relationship of org and its publics forms the centre of PR activity. public relationship.
o Focus is on maintaining and improving those relationships.
Personal r/ships. Org’s reps engage in actions that build trust between org
o PR strategies and activities assessed according to how it will impact and the stakeholders.
upon relationships, rather than say, organisational benefits. Willing to invest time, energy, thoughts and feelings into
• Stakeholder management: their interaction with stakeholders.
o Giving way to the concept of stakeholder enabling. Take a personal interest in members of key publics.
o Means more emphasis on mutually beneficial dialogues. Org to be willing to demonstrate commitment to needs of
individual members of key publics.
Building relationships Community r/ships. Open with community members.
• Communicating and listening. Org suggest/sponsor events that are of interest to
• Understanding, empathising and resolving conflict. community members.
• Personal values. Org engages in activities that can be used to improve social
• Building trust. and economic aspects of the community.
• Relationships: Org takes an active role in community development.
o Connections between us.
o Internal and external community – when people are aware of and
interested in common ends and regulate their activity in view of Systems theory
those ends. Reputation 27/05/13 3:53 PM
• Main focus of PR is on developing and executing strategies that will
benefit an org. • Collection of images and perceptions.
o PR research emerged in systems theory. • Sum of predictable relations, behaviours, two-way communication by org,
o Epitomised by the work of Grunig and others. judged affectively and cognitively by stakeholders over time.
o Initially dominant approach in PR theory. • What people who matter think of you about the things that matter to them.
o Specific view of publics. • How its made:
o Normative – focused on the way the industry should perform. o What you think e.g. people you respect.
o In line with increasing professionalisation, education and o How all the influencers on you form a view about the org that then
approached PR from perspective of improving practice. influences you.
• 4 models of PR communication: o Its what you (are perceived to) to (or not to do).
o Press agentry – one-way, to generate positive media coverage. • Reputation = PP – E
o Public info – one-way, inform not persuade.
o Two-way asymmetrical – feedback not necessarily relevant. Corporate reputation
o Two-way symmetrical – feedback with PR person as mediator. • The overall estimation in which an org is held by its internal and external
stakeholders based on the org’s past actions and probability of its future
o Involves relationships with all stakeholders and is gained,
maintained and enhanced or detracted from over time.
o Achieves corporate worth – can achieve objectives more easily if it
has a good reputation among its stakeholders.
• Most important and difficult task to protect.
• Can’t control is but can operate in sound and ethical way and work to
ensure that stakeholders are aware of this.
• Driver of reputation – day-to-day experience of the org by any of the
Benefits of a good reputation
• Preference in doing business with a company when other companies’
products and services are available at a similar cost and quality.
• Ability to charge a premium for products/services.
• Support for org in times of controversy.
• Company’s value in the financial marketplace.
Main components of reputation
• Ethical – a company that behaves ethically is admirable, worthy of respect
• Employees/workplace – talented employees, treats its people well, an
appealing workplace. • Financial performance – financially strong, record of profitability, has Risking the corporate reputation
growth prospects. • Risk management:
• Leadership – leader not follower, is innovative. o Identifying the types of possible incidents/issues that could affect
• Management – well managed, high quality management, clear vision for the corporate reputation.
the future. o Categorising and ranking them.
• Social responsibility – recognises social responsibilities, supports good o Analysing for likely causes.
causes. o Measuring the possible impact.
• Customer focus – cares about customers, strongly committed to them. o Implementing a program to minimise the possibility of such
• Quality – offers high quality products and services. situations occurring.
• Reliability – stands behind its products and services, provides consistent
service. Trust and PR
• Emotional appeal – you feel good about it, its kind and fun. • For PR practice to be effective, people need to trust the practitioner.
• Requirement for practitioners is to have credibility.
The halo effect o Confidence that receivers have in the accuracy and truthfulness of
• The overall impression already held, not the result of adding up object- the message.
• Trust essential for good relationships.
• Reputation has 2 main components: • As PR becomes more focused on the outcomes of the practice and not
o Overall impression component. solely on the output of messages, the contribution of building, maintaining
o Object-specific component based on direct and indirect experiences and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships that help orgs achieve
and info received.