INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SHOULD STOP BEING RELEGATED TO BEING DETERMINANT OF A GOOD IMAGE AND RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS

The tendency to work to get a place in public opinion through external communication is often a trap many organizations have fallen for. They have bought into the idea that good external communication is more important than internal communication. They dedicate all their efforts to achieving prominence in the media or social networks as a great goal. However, the idea is correct, but it is often falsely founded. Those who think this way are already trapped in a false dilemma that has made them lean toward external communication at the sacrifice of internal communication. From this error, it returns slowly only if communication with internal audiences is in crisis. It is best to forget that you must choose one over the other. The two must run parallel, actively, effectively, and systematically applied so that the results are continuous and ascending.

According to Business Review, 86% of executives say that ineffective communication is the leading cause of the collapse of a company or area of work and weakens the trust that workers can have in the leader. Photo by: Jaime Lopes- Unsplash.

By Otto Gutierrez 4ottog@gmail.com

In the communication of the corporate world with customer and employee audiences that must be served, an exciting debate has begun to emerge. Traditional corporations and successful entrepreneurs today proclaim with arguments that the most important thing is to communicate with customers. The idea of ​​”customer first before everything else.” Others who succeeded in prioritizing their employees say the most important is to communicate well with them. Ensure they are engaged employees and go out of their way to offer the best customer service. “The client trusts on people of the organization.” There is a lot of business literature on this and many case studies. Hence the tendency to choose one type of communication over the other. The third stream of well-known organizations in their fields continues to develop equally without falling into the fashion trend.

This third current is the appropriate one. The modern world is not here to leave one communication option to the detriment of the other. You don’t have to go to those extremes. Now more than ever, we must take the best of both trends and apply them to our goal. My experience ratifies it, which is why I believe and subscribe to the importance of external communication hand in hand with internal communication. Today I will outline a sample plan for communication teams to see how far or how close they are to an excellent internal communication process.

Communication at work or organizational communication is the facilitator of processes and activities and becomes one of the fundamental pillars to ensure the well-being and fulfillment of the entity’s objectives. Let’s see the context in which this is done and define some basic concepts.

  1. CONTEXT

1.1 Objective. Efficient organizational communication aims to ensure a transparent relationship between all the members of a company and allow the achievement of its objectives in a practical, precise, and agile manner.

1.2 Strategic Communication Plan. It is the inescapable and determining instrument of how an organization communicates with its key audiences. It must describe both in general and in detail the means, the type of communication, the type of messages, the tone, the format, the periodicity, those responsible, and the evaluation and measurement mechanisms.

1.3 Types of Communication. They are internal and external communication. Internal communication addresses the organization’s members as an audience within it. External is related to everything that has to do with the exterior of the organization and the audiences established there.

1.4 Concept of Communication. There is usable and institutional communication. The usable one is the one that allows the realization of the company’s processes for the fulfillment of its goals. The institutional one is the one that is destined to build the corporate culture of the organization, and that is key so that the usable one obtains a greater ethical dimension.

2. ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION

2.1 Foundation. In an organization, communication feeds the company in the continuous exchange of knowledge and business culture with the environment and internally with its members.

• It is the fundamental axis for productivity.

• Effective communication allows the optimization of processes.

• Allows an excellent organizational climate to be built. This way, employees will feel like an essential part of the organization.

2.2 Scope. The communication processes within the organizational system constitute internal communication aimed at achieving stability in the organization to achieve its goals and creating and maintaining the organization’s culture (values and beliefs). 

Diagram 1. Internal Communication

2.3 The concept of culture is broad and diverse as approaches and realities exist. It is a symbol that includes actions, practices, ethical codes, and values. The importance of a cultural approach to communication lies in the fact that the organization can be perceived as a symbolic construction of senses and meanings. A process through which values are formed, transmitted, and developed.

3. ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION STRUCTURE

The objective of a business is to remain in the market with dynamism and effectiveness, meeting the demands of today’s markets. Organizations must stay updated daily, comply with trends, and innovate products and services. This goal is only possible if there is a commitment at the corporate level to give value to the vital communication processes. Companies serve as a vehicle to achieve institutional objectives and compete with other organizations.

In section 1.4, we mentioned the types of communication, highlighting that organizational communication is developed mainly through internal communication. Many authors recognize that internal communication gives rise to the following:

• Prepare a recognition of the company in an atmosphere of friendship and stimulating work activities.

• Being able to get to know the organization to a great extent and become familiar with them.

• Recognition of employee performance

• Promote the exchange of information (usable or institutional communication) throughout the organization.

• Encourage a positive organizational climate for the benefit of the entire organization.

• The organizational climate is the personal and physical environment from which business activities are carried out.

• Makes a clear difference in the meaning and action of external communication. Understood as all activities carried out by the organization, whose purpose is to maintain relations with the outside, which many popularly call public relations.

3.1 Scenarios. We find three scenarios when looking inside an organization to see where it should carry out its organizational communication efforts.

• Physical setting. The internal sphere can be considered all the decorative elements of the organization and the considered informative ones. for example, the symbols of “no trespassing,” “only authorized personnel,” etc.

• Social scene. Includes all the factors that are related to people. In addition to the interaction between them. An example, the use of roles of each member within a work meeting can be considered.

• Institutional scenario. It relates the messages that the organization issues to its members, suppliers, customers, and other people involved; Examples of this type of communication in this scenario are basically: memos, blackboard notices, and advertising, among many others.

3.2 Flows. Within an organization, communication must flow in different ways. There is talk of ascending, descending, and crossed communication.

Diagram 2. ow each one is executed

Descendant Communication

Oral and written communication format is used. This type of communication occurs at high hierarchical levels and with a specific direction toward the lower levels. Among the principal means used for verbal communication with the staff are presented:

SpeechesVia telephone
Staff Meeting

Regarding written communication, the most used means are:

MemorandumLetters
ReportsOperations manual
BrochuresReports, among many more

Ascendant Communication

Unlike upward communication, this type of organizational communication occurs when workers (subordinates) transmit information to their bosses. That is, this information flows from lower levels to higher hierarchy levels. This communication occurs in companies whose environment and process allow the participation of employees. The most used means for ascending information transmission are:

Regular MeetingPersonalized Interview
Quality CircleVia telephone
Through SurveysComplaints and Suggestions System

Cross Communication

Currently, organizations make great use of cross-communication, both oral and written. They primarily improve the vertical flow of information within companies. Within this type of flow, horizontal direction communication and the well-known diagonal flow are considered. The primary purpose of cross-communication is to increase the speed of the transmission of information, improve the understanding of the transmitted information, and coordinate efforts to achieve the company’s objectives.

It is essential to clarify that the company only sometimes follows the established flows at hierarchical levels. It is necessary to protect the information in the face of information problems or obstacles under the following premises:

• The use of communication must be presented when the company’s needs are so required.

• It is essential that employees refrain from exceeding the limits of authority allowed

• Employees must keep their managers or superiors informed of high-importance cross-tasks as information is concerned.

3.3 Types. Each type of communication has its function and advantage within the organization. We have mentioned oral and written communication, and now we have added non-verbal.

Written Communication

Written communication is characterized by having clear, precise, concrete, and correct messages, ensuring that the message reaches the recipients clearly and understandably. Examples of written communication are an Internal bulletin, Memorandum, Circular, Announcements, and Employee surveys. The main advantage of written communication is that it provides a record, reference, and legal protection of what is communicated. It promotes the uniform application of procedures and norms that collaborate in reducing communication costs. In addition, the content and context of the information are controlled. It is very efficient in faithfully building the corporate culture.

Oral Communication

Oral communication occurs when a face-to-face meeting occurs between two or more people. Although it is highly used within an organization, the compression of the transmitted information is only sometimes what is desired or expected. Some examples of oral communication are Conferences, Meetings and Assemblies, Videoconferences, and Telephone calls.

Non-verbal Communication

This type of communication is used in many ways in the organization. From the gestures of a speaker to supporting visual media. Which also aims to provide feedback on what is said. Some examples of visual media are. Murals, notice board, signage.

4. BARRIERS AND FAILURES OF ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION

According to Business Review, 86% of executives say that ineffective communication is the leading cause of the collapse of a company or area of work and weakens the trust that workers can have in the leader. The main barriers in communication, specifically in the case of organizations, are 12.

Lack or absence of planningConfusing assumptions or facts
Distortion of message context and/or semanticsInformation with limited listening and early evaluation of it
Poorly expressed informationInternational context barriers
Loss of information due to limited retentionMistrust or fears in communication
Impersonal CommunicationInsufficient time in the face of changes
Information overloadOther communication barriers

5. SITUATIONS IN WHICH COMMUNICATION AT WORK IS DIFFICULT

There are numerous situations in which communication within an organization can be difficult. They range from the different perspectives of each member of the workgroup. These external factors alter the company, the pressure people usually go through when faced with various tasks, or even the absence of communication.

Communication is the response to avoid many problems. It takes place in a planned manner by applying the strategic communication plan. Several studies show that communication difficulties are given attention when it is too late. Next, we will see the five most frequent factors that hinder good communication.

 • Use the same message for everyone

•Not sharing knowledge

• Stress

• Rumors

• Complicated communication

6. CONSEQUENCES OF BAD COMMUNICATION IN THE COMPANY

The communicative deficiencies begin in the company’s bases, in the identity or organizational climate formed from the employees’ experience.

The guarantee of an excellent internal climate depends on business leaders. However, on many occasions, they are the ones who ignore the actual being of the company. They erroneously transmit the business philosophy to their subordinates or by needing more knowledge about assertiveness or leadership.

7. COMMUNICATION AUDIT

The organization must ensure that communication is efficient. Despite point 4, there are options to improve communication processes; one is the organizational communication audit. An audit is a tool for evaluating communication skills, connections, policies, and procedures.

Diagram 3. Communication elements concerning the objectives

The model presented is related to the operational focus of management. The most critical networks in terms of communication for auditing are the following:

• Regulatory network refers to the activities, policies, processes, regulations, and relationships between bosses and employees.

• Innovative network includes solutions to problems and alternatives to new developments.

• Network that leads to integration through recognition, bonuses, and job promotions that relate the company’s objectives with those of individuals.

• Network (informative-instructive) that contains announcements, and publications, thus forming a network of company information.

8. CONCLUSIÓN

Organizational communication is an essential factor for business management to thrive. The members of an organization must know the channels and codes through which they can express themselves. The barriers between sender and receiver must be avoided or overcome. Good management will make the organization last.

We have seen various types of messages. Preferably, formal communication will use so there are no misunderstandings between employees and bosses or bosses and clients, which could damage the client-company relationship.

A message expressed clearly, in an environment, and with an adequate communication channel can be converted into action by the recipient. On the other hand, an unclear, imprecise and ambiguous message can cause problems in an organization. To learn more about this topic or if you need to structure internal communications in your organization, write to me at 4ottog@gmail.com and tell me about your project or need. I will surely be able to help you.

Published by OttoGutierrez.co

EXPERIENCED CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Marketing ~ Targeting ~ Multimedia Content Dynamic, forward-looking Communications Expert with a wealth of expertise in developing and implementing strategic communications programs “On” and “Off” line in alignment with business objectives to drive growth and profitability. Demonstrated success in public and media relations, employee communications, brand and image development, and targeting. Influential consultant accomplished in advising senior leadership in crisis and issues management. Expert-level degree of knowledge in visual production and presentation skills. Innovative, entrepreneurial, and high energy leader with solid interpersonal skills and ability to solve tough problems through effective relationship building. Additional areas of expertise include Public Affairs • Major Event Communications • Media Management • Bi-lingual: English / Spanish • Crisis Communications • Community Outreach • International Relations.

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