The aim of internal communications is to help your department or agency deliver its business strategy by engaging and informing employees. If employees know what needs to be done, and what their role is in achieving this, then they can align their efforts to the strategy. It’s not enough just to tell employees what the strategy is; you have to equip them to deliver it through good internal communication and engagement.
This isn’t easy and you have to work hard at it.
Why is it important for internal communications to be strategic and what does it mean? In this video seminar, Jane Sparrow, Consultant, Expert Facilitator and author of The Culture Builders, explains how it’s added value to organisations she has worked for, and gives advice about how you can become more strategic.
For customer-facing organisations, internal communication and engagement is probably more important than any other communication discipline. And in every part of public service it sits at the heart of reputation management.
Reputation is built on three things:
It’s not hard to see where employee advocacy – where a staff member speaks positively about your organisation, both as an employer or employee – fits into this. See the Engagement chapter
If a customer has a good experience, nine times out of ten it’s due to how they’ve been dealt with. They then might go on and tell other people, and use you again. If a customer has a bad experience they are more likely to tell anyone who will listen, damaging your reputation.
While a glowing media story will highlight what you do and your achievements, if it isn’t matched on the ground in terms of customer experience it’s worthless. In fact, it’s more damaging as broken promises are worse than no promises at all.
Employees are a key component of your brand and what you offer customers. This can be someone buying a service, like a passport or a driving licence. Or consuming a service, like a visit to their Job Centre Plus for advice or calling the HMRC helpline to complete their tax return.
The overall success of your organisation’s business strategy depends on employees translating your brand values into appropriate behaviour on the ground. The critical points of contact between a customer and your organisation – telephone conversations, email exchanges and face-to-face engagement – are sometimes referred to as moments of truth. At each point of contact your brand promise is tested, hence the term moments of truth.
The greater number of contacts, the greater the danger of inconsistency. In large organisations the moments of truth can be managed by several departments, who may have different priorities, so the danger of inconsistency grows. Tighter management and coordination of internal communications is required to help consistency.
If employees understand your vision and values, and how they can put them into practice in their day-to-day jobs, then you are much more likely to achieve your business strategy.
But, typically 50 per cent of employees don’t know what the strategy is and only 25% ever get feedback on progress. The 25 percent are usually those positioned at the top of the organisation, so those on the front-line with all the customer contact have the least idea.