If you take a closer look at most organizations, you would find that they understand the importance of strategic communication with customers and/or partners… Large investments are being made to produce communication plans for external use. You also would find that there is an understanding of the importance of developing strategic plans to guide longer term decision-making. After all you have to know “Where you want to be and how you are going to get there” otherwise it would be impossible to coordinate organizational resources so that you get to where you want to go.
However, I wouldn’t be surprised if majority of those companies overlooked the importance of the INTERNAL COMMUNICATION. Decisions on what information should be delivered to staff, when and how it should be delivered are often made reactively (when there is a need).
It’s a bit of a mystery why this happens, but there is no doubt that strategic internal communication planning can be a proactive approach to building a better, more directed and efficient workforce.
Some of the most successful companies build teams that understand the mission, goals, values and policies/procedures of the organization. People talk about the Microsoft’s “way”, or the Google’s “way” to describe the organizational culture… the culture their entire staff shares.
Google Blogoscoped recently came up with a nice post where they listed down the 25 mission statements of the top tech companies and websites. Here are some examples I particularly liked:
IBM: IBM, we strive to lead in the invention, development and manufacture of the industry most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, storage systems and microelectronics. We translate these advanced technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions, services and consulting businesses worldwide.
Microsoft: Microsoft, our mission and values are to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.
Cisco: Cisco … enables people to make powerful connections whether in business, education, philanthropy, or creativity. Cisco hardware, software, and service offerings are used to create the Internet solutions that make networks possible-providing easy access to information anywhere, at any time.
Google: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Yahoo: To connect people to their passions, their communities, and the world’s knowledge.
Adobe: Our mission is to revolutionize how the world engages with ideas and information.
As you can see, there are no intentions to dominate or control employees, but to make them feel as the part of the “family” and direct their energy towards a set of common goals on which they can act every day. This brings synergy to the workplace, and allows better coordinated action. Other advantages include:
- Employees making more decisions independently as they have the tools and knowledge needed to make the “right” decisions.
- Employees identifying with a company, on the part of staff/family, with the goals, mission and procedures of the organization, which can result in a sense of “making a difference”. This can have direct impact on effort and efficiency.
- Employees having much less day-to-day conflict to deal with. Much conflict is generated by conflicting ideas on what is important to the organization…often an indicator that the people involved do not share a common vision or understanding.
Developing an effective Internal Communication Process is journey with no destination; it involves a lot effort, it has to stay consistent and dynamic. In my experience I have found utilization of the orientation/boarding programs, on-ongoing employee training, company-wide internal blog posts and most importantly managers representing what the company stands for to be most effective.
Now, ask yourself “Does my staff share the common vision and understanding?”
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
– George Bernard Shaw