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Mastering Internal Communication: Connect Your Mission and Manpower


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Strategic internal communication is the foundation of every successful business. Discover how to improve your communication strategies with the research and insights offered in this in eBook.

Published in: Business, Technology

Mastering Internal Communication: Connect Your Mission and Manpower

  2. 2. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 2 Contents 3 Introduction Effective Communicators Increase Profit The Problem with Paper 8 Part One Policy Updates: Managing Change in the Workplace 15 Part Two Onboarding: Retaining Your Talent 23 Part Three Management Communication: Strategic Outcomes and Outputs 37 Try Ving!
  3. 3. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 3 Introduction Managing your human capital. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. And that someone is probably you. To excel at human resource management, it helps to have the best tools at your fingertips to produce the best possible results. And the results you want are these: turning your employees into effective com- municators that increase your bottom line. These two elements—effective communicators and company profits—are directly related. Unfortunately, many companies still have not embraced communication tech- nologies and automated office innovations to streamline internal communica- tion procedures and improve employee engagement.
  4. 4. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 4 For example, the traditional “hierarchy” model of communication in which in- formation trickles down from top management to front-line workers is fraught with problems. Slow distribution, misplaced data, and lost information are common issues. So why is efficient internal communication so crucial? Check out this fact from Edelman Insights: Comprehending Change 3.0: Companies with effective communicators achieved 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared to firms judged to have less effective communications. Bottom line? Mastering internal communication means creating effec- tive communicators, which, in turn, increases your company’s profits. Ready to revamp your HR department’s internal communications? Let’s get started!
  5. 5. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 5 Shocking Statistics about Paper Clinging to paper-based HR procedures cre- ates a big money pit. Going Paperless Saves Time and Hassle ( highlights the money- draining inefficiencies of paper: ► 7.5% of documents are lost; the remain- ing 3% are misfiled. ► Average labor costs spent by organiza- tions: $20 to file a document, $120 to find a misfiled document, $200 to reproduce a lost document ► Average cost to manually process a single invoice: $24 ► Workers spend 5-15% of their time reading information but up to 50% of their time try- ing to locate it.
  6. 6. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 6 We can all relate to the frustration of losing papers, misfiling documents, and trying to remember where in the world we put that important letter. But, do we realize just how much these little frustrations cost our companies? Just as the horse-drawn carriage was replaced by the automobile, the tradi- tional method of communication is now outdated and inefficient because of today’s 24/7 technological access. Employees now expect frequent and timely updates about workplace changes. They want to know how those situations will affect them. They need access to all the information necessary to perform their jobs well, which also helps them “buy in” to the company’s mission and goals.
  7. 7. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 7 Just one strategy—improving internal communication with technology— will help your organization to: ►► increase efficiency, ►► boost productivity, ►► generate more profit, ►► save resources, ►► enhance communication, ►► and streamline information distribution! This eBook will help you to master internal communication with tech- nology in three areas: policy updates, onboarding, and management communication, crucial issues in every HR department. As you harness technology to master internal communication, you will create engaged, empowered, and well-informed employees. And these kinds of employees are the best way to increase your bottom line!
  8. 8. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 8 PART ONE Policy Updates: Managing Change in the Workplace
  9. 9. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 9 Communications is a strategic function, and that change only works when it is aligned with employee understanding, actions, rewards and recognition. It’s about perspective and behavior, which is neither a process nor a destination. It’s about engagement, rather than sheer information dissemi- nation. ~ Edelman Insights, Comprehending Change 3.0
  10. 10. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 10 A Tough Job HR departments have a lot to do. They create workplace structures and implement programs to help increase employee motivation and productivity; factor compli- ance sessions and seminars into the company’s time, budget, and employees’ development; help craft employee benefit policies; and keep records of employees’ hiring and termination dates. As if that’s not enough, HR professionals are often responsible for managing and com- municating workplace policy updates, notifications, and changes. And these changes often create feelings of fear, anxiety, and resistance in the majority of employees.
  11. 11. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 11 Data Time According to a survey of HR professionals on change management (conducted by the SHRM), the top three obstacles faced during major organizational changes are: ►► employee resistance (76%) ►► communication breakdown (72%) ►► insufficient time devoted to training (44%) In Change management: the role of inter- nal communication..., Tony Proctor and Io- anna Doukakis reveal why employees resist change: ►► fear of the unknown ►► lack of information ►► threats to status ►► fear of failure ►► lack of perceived benefits
  12. 12. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 12 Embracing Change Edelman Insights: Comprehending Change 3.0 points out that “today’s work- force—comprised of more millennials than Baby Boomers—demands trans- parency, openness, involvement, and context to accept decisions.” Insights also emphasizes that “In order to engage employees—particularly talent—and make change a “real” thing, we must optimize new tech- nologies and embrace greater openness to involve our people through emotional as well as intellectual appeals . . . . . . This highly emotional response requires us to rethink how we inter- act, manage, and communicate with our people, and even more impor- tantly, how we engage them throughout the journey.” Whether your workforce is comprised of a majority of millenials or Baby Boom- ers, it’s clear that harnessing new technologies eases the process of change for everyone, especially yourself!
  13. 13. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 13 How-to Solutions So what does “rethinking our communication strategies” really look like? After revealing the problems resulting from their study of an organization’s poor communication management, Proctor and Doukakis discuss a few techniques to combat the “organizational malaise” and negative feelings of employees: ►► Wherever possible, and by using technology, short cut the distribu- tion of information through middle managers and make it directly available to frontline workers. ►► Involve employees in the change process early, consult with them, and help them own the new ideas for themselves. ►► Trust, empowerment, and effective communication are the keys to successful internal marketing.
  14. 14. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 14 Communication is the spear- head of ensuring that successful change can take place. It helps to overcome ambiguity and uncer- tainty and provides information and power to those who are the subject of change. ~ Proctor and Doukakis
  15. 15. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 15 PART TWO Onboarding: Retaining Your Talent
  16. 16. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 16 In the long run, inefficient communication procedures produce more than just a few little frustrations, including increased costs, higher turnover, and slower start times. ~ Going Paperless Saves Time and Hassle
  17. 17. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 17 Will They Stay? You spent months recruting candidates, trying to find the best person to fit the position. It was a lot of work, but you finally found someone great and made them an offer. They accepted the job, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’ve decided to stay. The Aberdeen Group (Onboarding Benchmark Re- port: Technology Drivers Help Improve the New Hire Experience) reports that although 90% of companies believe that employees decide whether or not to stay during the first six months, many refuse to realize the impact of onboarding on retention rates. Onboarding. It’s more important than you thought. But why?
  18. 18. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 18 Pesky Paper It all comes back to too much paper. Reliance on paper-based onboarding practices results in the following troubles: ► increased costs ► decreased time to productivity ► generating a bad first impression that negatively affects the company brand Many employees would rather quit early than wait around to see if things get any better. Those who do choose to stick it out may cause damage to the company image due to their negative feelings. However, new hires quitting is not an unfamiliar problem. A recent survey conducted by the SHRM reports that one of the top three challenges facing HR professionals in the next ten years is retaining and rewarding the best employees.
  19. 19. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 19 Automate It Aberdeen’s report states that automated and web-based solutions allow effi- cient management of the following three components essential for every new worker: ►► forms management ►► tasks management ►► employee socialization in the company culture In other words, adopting an electronic solution that automates the com- pletion of forms both before a candidate starts and on their first day can reduce inefficiency, costs, and extra time associated with paper-based form completion. (Aberdeen Group) Because a company’s onboarding process is a key factor in retention, more companies and HR professionals would do well to take a look at their current internal communication practices and streamline them with technology.
  20. 20. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 20 How-To Solutions Put it in the cloud. By eliminating paper-based and spreadsheet pro- cedures and considering web-based technology solutions, companies propel themselves towards reducing costs and turnover and creating faster start times. “An automated solution,” says Aberdeen, “can help pull information from an exist- ing . . . system, notify the necessary departments, and provide the new hire with information about forms management, tasks management and socialization.”
  21. 21. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 21 More How-to Solutions Another solution is trusting your employees to “serve themselves.” Overcoming Top Myths in HR ( emphasizes the technological capabilities of employees: “Self-service HR has become so invaluable that a September 2006 Forrester Research report termed it ‘an essential core applica- tion’ for businesses. The report pointed to the ability of Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) to help manage personnel costs, operate effi- cient business processes, comply with regulations and manage legal exposures, and optimize the value of human capital.”
  22. 22. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 22 Automated solutions can help companies address pressures to improve retention rates, improve time to productiv- ity, and improve the company brand. ~ Aberdeen Report
  23. 23. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 23 Management Communication: Strategic Outcomes and Outputs PART THREE
  24. 24. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 24 . . . The majority of internal communication remains dominat- ed by technical, journalistic-like skills, such as producing slick employee newsletters instead of concentrating on developing relationships with employees and strategically planning the objectives of internal communication. ~ Laoise O’Murchu
  25. 25. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 25 Making It Virtual If internal communication is the foundation of em- ployee engagement, then technology is the glue that connects all of the pieces of your organiza- tion together. Technological communication methods keep ev- eryone on the same page no matter where they are or what assignments are on their plates. This type of “virtual management” is ideal for the following areas: ►► Companies with a geographically dispersed workforce (i.e. sales reps) ►► Collaborative meeting preparation and follow-up ►► Employee mentorship and performance coaching ►► Multi-project management ►► Compliance training updates
  26. 26. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 26 A Closer Look Let’s take a closer look at one management issue that would definitely benefit from electronic solutions: compliance training. Many industries, particularly food service and healthcare, face heavy regulations and require frequent training on the latest updates and procedures to comply with new rules. Failing to comply with these new rules can result in terrible consequences and/ or penalties for employees, their clients, and the organization itself. The Evolution of Human Resource Management, a SHRM article by Reed and Gus- dorf, discusses the future of ongoing compliance training: Overall, employment regulation will continue, from revised I-9 forms to new in- terpretations of the ADA and FMLA. HR must maintain appropriate compliance and ensure that staff is trained to meet regulatory requirements.
  27. 27. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 27 Still wavering about whether or not to go electronic? Check out this list that shows even more of the systems where technology helps human resource management: ►► Systems for e-recruitment ►► Online short-listing of applicants ►► Psychometric training ►► Payroll systems ►► Employment data ►► Recruitment administration ►► References ►► Pre-employment checks ►► Development of online training strategies Source: These Areas, Too!
  28. 28. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 28 Get Smart Of course, this type of “virtual management” doesn’t just happen. It must be strategic. In Biting the hand that starves us: Internal Communicators who fail to talk the facts and figures language of the corporate suite or C-suite, Laoise O’Murchu discusses strategy development. The companies she studied were unable to pintpoint specific, measurable benefits from their internal communication goals She discovered that none of the companies’ objectives for their commu- nication activities were SMART, an acronym for five strategic elements: Specfic • Measurable • Achievable • Realistic • Timed Without SMART objectives, says O’Murchu, positive changes and ben- efits from internal communication activities cannot be gathered or mea- sured. Vague goals produce uncertain results; strategic goals produce defined results.
  29. 29. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 29 Why Strategy? Lest we forget why it’s so crucial to have strategic internal communications that create effective communicators, let us take a moment to remember the reason. Employee engagement is the key to increasing your company’s profit. This is a good motto to have whenever you feel overwhelmed while planning a revamp of your department’s communication procedures. Need another statistic? A study conducted by ISR (a Chicago-based HR research and consulting firm) of more than 600,000 employees from seventy-one global companies revealed that employee engagement significantly impacts the financial bottom line. During the study period, high-engagement companies improved 19.2% while low-engagement companies declined 32.7% in operating income.
  30. 30. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 30 How-To Solutions The best communication, O’Murchu emphasizes, has both the sender and the recipient exchanging information to increase understanding on both sides by creating and sharing meaning. Meaningful, two-way communication. Outcomes vs. outputs. Instead of just producing cool newsletters, we should start gathering feedback from our staff and engaging their help in planning the company’s goals. We can start focusing on our communication outcomes rather than just our outputs by asking the following questions, suggests O’Murchu: ►► How can we demonstrate that the communication tools are contributing to the organization’s strategic objectives? ►► How can we quantify the value of the communication tools? ►► What impact are our communication activities having on the organization’s bottom line?
  31. 31. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 31 Employee Ambassadors Internal Communication, Information Satisfaction and Sense of Community: the Effect of Personal Influence by White, Vanc, and Stafford emphasizes that strategically cultivating internal communication produces a number of positive results, both internal and external: “The competitive advantage of strategic internal communication comes not only from the obvious benefits of employee satisfaction and produc- tivity, but also from the positive contributions that well-informed em- ployees can make to a company’s external public relations efforts.” Your employees are your best ambassadors and PR representatives about your company and its products and/or services. Make sure your “internal mar- keting” gets just as much attention as your external public relations efforts.
  32. 32. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 32 “Internal communication is not a one- way information dump. It’s critical to capture feedback and to ‘involve and consult’ your employees rather than ‘tell and sell.’” ~ Dennis Rutzou The Poor Relation of External Comms
  33. 33. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 33 The Bottom Line The key to mastering internal communication is connecting your mission to your manpower with technological solutions. Paper-based procedures reduce efficiency, decrease profits, and increase employee turnover. Technological solutions boost efficiency, reduce costs, and offer the convenience of “virtual management.”
  34. 34. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 34 Mastering internal communication is not only possible but crucial to the success and profitability of your organization. Effective communicators increase profits. Engaged employ- ees improve your bottom line. As you consider revamping your HR department’s internal communications, keep the following tips in mind:
  35. 35. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 35 Effective communicators achieve more ROI. Paper-based procedures reduce efficiency and increase costs. Automated solutions improve retention rates and productivity. Internal communication objectives must be strategic and SMART. Two-way communication is the best choice.
  36. 36. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 36 Frequently, HR managers can accomplish more and further prove their worth to the company by relying more heavily on em- ployees and technology that can help them to focus on the most important issues. ~ Overcoming Top Myths in HR
  37. 37. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 37 Ving is an all-in-one communication tool that ensures your most important messages are read, understood, and acted on. With Ving, you create and share multi-media messages that capture real-time recipient interactions viewable on the engagement dashboard. HR professionals use Ving to: ►► Communicate policy updates ►► Streamline onboarding procedures ►► Improve management communications Get started now. Try Ving for free!
  38. 38. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 38 About the Author & Designer Rebecca Whittenberger is an eleven-year veteran of working in non-profit organizations and academic institu- tions. She served as curator of education and education consultant for the Mahoning Valley Historical Society for six years and is currently a communications specialist in marketing and public relations at Ving.
  39. 39. “Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 39 Resources ►► Aberdeen Group, “Onboarding Benchmark Report: Technology Drivers Help Improve the New Hire Experience.” ►► “Biting the hand that starves us: Internal Communicators who fail to talk the facts and figures language of the cor- porate suite or C-suite” by Laoise O’Murchu. ►► “Change management: the role of internal communication and employee development” by Tony Proctor and Io- anna Doukakis. Corporate Communications; 2003; 8, 4; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 268. ►► Dennis Rutzou, Public Relations Internal Communications, “The poor relation of external comms.” http://www.drpr. ►► Edelman Insights: Comprehending Change 3.0: Edelman Change and Employee Engagement (slide show). ►► “Internal Communication, Information Satisfaction and Sense of Community: The Effect of Personal Influence” by White, Vanc, and Stafford. ►► “Overcoming Top Myths In HR” (“HR’s role: strategic and/or tactical”). ►► Society for Human Resource Management, “The Evolution of Human Resource Management” by Sandy Reed, SPHR and Myrna L. Gusdorf, MBA, SPHR. ►► Society for Human Resource Management, “Challenges Facing HR Over the Next Ten Years,” 2012. ►► Society for Human Resource Management, 2007 Change Management Survey Report.