ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; Can internal communications keep up with external PR?

Paul Harrison Ford of Europe

Paul Harrison Ford of Europe

‘Our policy is that employees should know about major announcements

before they see them in the external media. We use the Ford

Communications Network, which is our own in-house TV system which covers

22 plants in the UK, as well as internal E-mail and fax systems. We can

hit the maximum audience of employees and are generally successful in

getting the news to employees in a timely manner.’

Joanne Rule, Royal College of Nursing

‘During our recent pay dispute, we did shift our effort away from

external to internal communications, which proved a very interesting

exercise for this department. Although we were doing our best to get our

message across through the media, we felt the process was out of

control. The difficulty was members were hearing all sorts of things

through managers and other unions about how the situation was being

handled. What worked for us was communications strategy that enabled us

to reach members and inform them how the dispute was progressing.’

Claire Stanton, PA Consulting

‘Yes, of course internal communication programmes can compete with

outside media attention. Ideally all communication strategies should

include crisis management plans for tackling likely scenarios, both

positive and negative, and educating key individuals on communications

implications. Regular dialogue between all communications functions

including PR and marketing is paramount to keep ‘communication hot

spots’ in check.’

Anthony Goodman, Smythe Dorward Lambert

‘It has been interesting to see British Gas recently appointing an

executive responsible for integrating internal and external

communications, because a lot of big companies do fall down on the

planning of communications.You can put in internal communications

systems using electronic or fax networks with an announcement simply

appearing on notice boards. If you get it right, you have a tailored

message to a well targeted audience, so it ought to work well.’

Peter Hill, Lloyd’s of London

‘Time and again organisations have over-looked their own employees,

stakeholders and others with a real interest in the success of their

businesses to their cost. External perceptions of an organisation are

important but information communicated internally which is relevant and

timely can only enhance, rather than undermine, external perceptions.

Well-ordered and structured communication with those who share

organisational goals helps pay dividends - literally.’

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