There are three core areas at the heart of internal communication (Mast, 2016): intranet as communication platform, magazines and printed services, and personal communication.
1. Intranet as Communication Platform
The first core area of internal corporate communication is intranet as communication platform. According to Mast (2016), an intranet represents a clear improvement in communication processes and helps all stakeholders in completing tasks and projects. Companies use and adapt an intranet to their specific needs and use it for various purposes. Flexibility and timing play here an important role as well: an intranet platform provides information without hierarchical barriers and is always available (when there is Internet).
However, there are some challenges. Because of an increased amount of information, it is difficult to find relevant data. Also, employees refuse to use their company’s intranet if they do not see any benefit in it. As a result, internal communication specialists are not posting new content and some employees see the intranet as an obsolescent platform. Thus, internal communication professionals together with other departments should further develop an internal corporate communication network and address the arising issues.
2. Magazines and Printed Services
The second core area of internal corporate communication is magazines, especially employee magazines, and printed services. Employee magazines focus on providing context, explaining background information and evaluating analysis. They also help companies make their identities tangible, help employees orient themselves within the company, and strengthen the connection between employees and the company.
Employee magazines are gaining relevance when some employees have no or limited access to electronic media. Also, employees trust internal printed magazines more because they are professionally produced and they promote transparency. They also create a "we-feeling" in which every employee sees himself or herself as part of the organisation or company.
3. Personal Communication
The third core area of internal corporate communication is personal communication between senior management and their employees, and between colleagues. Face-to-face communication is becoming more important and its contents and processes should be tailored according to the needs of the senior management and employees. Clampitt (2013) claims that personal communication is the most efficient form of communication because it achieves several purposes at once. It provides information, encourages interaction, interprets information and represents influence. Meetings and face-to-face talks motivate communication partners to provide feedback to one another.
Besides, direct communication lays a foundation for employee integration and engagement as well as for employee guidance and support. Internal communication encompasses various formats: events, feedback meetings, business conferences, town hall meetings, talks with the CEO, employee meetings and other formats. Depending on the organisation’s or company’s goals, objectives and activities, internal communication department should decide what format to use and what format will work best in the current circumstances.
In conclusion, internal communication is one of the main disciplines within an organisation or company. Its three core areas - intranet as communication platform, magazines and printed services, and personal communication – should be developed and used holistically. Success of every organisation or company starts in-house with the informed, motivated and engaged employees.
Article written by Liudmila Kazak,
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1. Clampitt, P.G. (2013) Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness. Problems – Strategies – Solutions. 5th ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
2. Mast, C. (2016) „Kommunikation mit den Mitarbeitern“, in Unternehmenskommunikation. Konstanz und München: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, pp. 286 – 292