Internal Communication Strategy at small companies?

Some days ago I was taking part in an online debate about internal comm strategies at small companies. Do businesses with a few employees -they could fit just in a one-room office- really need internal communication strategies? For sure, they do. The risk comes when you think that a small team can be led with -so to speak- one hand and that one first message is enough. Or, perhaps, you may think that different roles and tasks have nothing to share among them. Here is the mistake.

Employees need to feel a part of a whole project; they need to know where the company is going and must contribute the company’s goals from their experience and vision. Even the most uncooperative employee is a part of a whole and needs to feel like that. Are your employees identified with the company’s goals?

Values of team working are being polite, helpful, respectful, collaborative; they must understand each other, meet mutual needs and cover each other to supply a good service. A good team-working employee has a good eye for realising that a colleague may be a bit Imageoverwhelmed at some point and replaces him/her for attending a phone-call or whatever the colleague may be required for.

This attitude can be based on natural skills, but the company can also contribute them without leaving everything to the nature. This is part of an internal strategy as well.

In our century, we are evolving from managerial business roles to collaborative ones. This also requires the CEO’s attention: how to make the employees partake in meetings, goals’ design, give them a say, give them voice, ask for their opinions, etc.

Employees want to promote themselves and to keep growing from a professional point of view. The company must also offer them opportunities to improve their skills, their professional qualification, their formation… It will have an positive effect on the whole business. New languages, professional courses, … There are many institutions to finance these courses .

Employees like enjoying as well. The workplace can not be an unpleasant space. They spend more hours a day at the job post than with their own families of in their private lives. So, the office has to be a comfortable place to be in, from all points of view: furniture, environment, kitchen points, cleanliness, rest areas … It could be the first place to have a nice environmental behaviour. Let us start recycling in our own offices!

Employees are a community. They may like sharing informations, opinions, events… And the CEO must be aware about this and facilitate the means, social media platforms included, to share whatever they want.

These are basic fields, most of them deduced from ordinary life at a small company. The advantage in large companies is that there usually is a person in charge of these matters; the risk in small companies is that nobody cares about this function.




The experience with speakers through this MA in Public Relations

The MA in Public Relations provided by the University of Westminster consists of both an academic and practical experience.
Besides the group works and constant practical assignments, I would like to share with my readers our experience with the speakers.
We met some of them in their workplaces (the Ministry of Defence, the agency, The British Library) and others came to the campus to give their lectures.

In this second term, we have received the visit of four speakers in the module about Corporate Communications at Marylebone Campus.

Images provided by LinkedIn

Images provided by LinkedIn: J. Frost, K. Ruck, M. Hoevel and C. Lowe

The first speaker was Jessica Frost, from Regester Larkin. She talked about reputation and risk management, and one of the things I liked most was her CV and her professional attitude and skills, coming as she did from another professional area. Apart from that, she described reputation management through those six verbs: predict, prepare, prevent, resolve, respond and recover. She talked about crisis management and the role of social media when an organisation is being challenged by a crisis: to what extent the organisation needs to understand its audiences, influencers, the social media platforms and channels, and the rules of engagement on social media. And the big piece of advice for preventing crisis: rehearse, rehearse and rehearse.
Next speaker was Kevin Ruck, from PR Academy. His lecture was about Internal Communications, and he described a broad landscape about internal communications theories and practices. He proposed public relations as a strategic management, according to J. E. Grunig´s model, and through an interactive lecture guided us within the employee voice concept, the importance of employee engagement (built from leadership, engaging managers, voice and integrity). He was a wise expert with a recently published book, ‘Exploring Internal Communication’. Usually after the speakers’ lectures we the students had to present a case study about the same topic; none of the speakers used to remain during our presentations, but that day the guest decided to stay. Guess who was presenting that day… It was me!!
After Mr. Ruck’s visit, we received an expert in Corporate Social Responsibility: Michael Hoevel from Glasshouse Partnership. It was a clever lecture about the reasons why business do CSR, the concepts of power, influence and efficiency, the accountability structure and the need of an integrated CSR aimed to benefit the whole organisation.
The last speaker in the term was Chris Lowe from College Public Policy. It was the first time I heard about lobbying from a professional practitioner. It turn out amazing and I particularly enjoyed when he described his activity as a perfectly legitimate task not as terrible as it is perceived in my country, where lobbying is still pervaded with secrecy and suspicion.
Bringing professional PR to this MA has been absolutely rewarding and effective for our knowledge and experience. It encourages us to face the future with good prospects.