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The new era of management represents a turning point in workforce demographics. Organizations' competitive existence has increased; technical advances continue to shape organizational structures; and the need for formal and informal communities within organizations has increased (Wintoki, Linck & Netter, 2012). Furthermore, baby boomers are reaching retirement age, millennials are assuming key roles in managerial matters and advancing into managerial jobs, and members of Generation Z are graduating from college. These dynamics characterize workplace concerns such as accountability and develop novel mechanisms for how employers react to, speak to, and listen to their workers. As a result, the concept of internal communication comes into play (Miller & Barbour, 2014). It entails a generic expression of informal and formal communication that an organization undertakes to its close stakeholders.
There exists a broad range of internal communication strategies that organizations employ, including vertical, informal, horizontal, formal communication (Crespo, Griffith & Lages, 2014). For efficient management and organization success, organizations must ensure effective internal communication. Effective internal communication aids improving employee engagement, enabling employees to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities as well as ensuring all stakeholders work towards same organizational goals (Vaara et al., 2012). Accordingly, this paper outlines different aspects of internal communication taking into consideration internal communication in evolving environment, sustainable communication efforts, and development of organizational internal communication programs.
Internal Communication in an Evolving Organizational Environment
Current Climate of Internal Communication
The climate of organizational internal communication entails the atmosphere of teams and organizational communication systems. The current climate of internal organization characterizes different components including creating a positive communication and organizational environment. Positive organizational and communication climate is created through participative decision-making, openness, supportiveness, trust and emphasis on high-quality goals. In an attempt to achieve corporate goals, many factors influence communication systems (Caunter, Jackson & Geach, 2017; Karanges, 2014). The factors are the climate of communication, which can be either positive or negative. Positive communication climate is fundamental to the people and organizations since it creates an organizational climate of mutual trust, establishes effective communication systems, foster mentality communication, and foster motivational strategies. On the other hand, negative communication climate entails the existence of communication environment that characterize physical, language and personal barriers that hinder the effectiveness of internal communication systems in an organization (Schneider, Ehrhart & Macey, 2013). Notably, the current climate of internal communication also characterizes the application of employee-fronted internal communications, the perpetuity of emails, the rise of enterprise social networks and the validation of internal communications.
Organizational Disadvantages of Internal Communication
One of the existing obstacles to organizational success is an informational deficit. Informational deficit refers to the insufficiency of the vertical and horizontal spread of information. The deficit, therefore, characterizes the disadvantages of internal communication in organizational management (Boczkowski & Mitchelstein, 2012). As such, the disadvantages include conflict creation, time wastage and issues relating to performance review. As regards to conflict, some organizational employees may take advantage of internal communication benefits to create unnecessary arguments and engagements with the management or other members of the team hence leading to a conflict which results into disruption of operations and tensions (Lumineau, Eckerd & Handley, 2015). Disruptions of operations affect the continuity of organizational activities hence curtail the goals and objectives of any company. On the other hand, conflicts resulting from misapplication of internal communication create tensions in different levels of management, which in turn lead to lose of control and misunderstanding resulting in possible demotivation of employees. Time wastage of internal communication includes spending much of time gossiping and engaging in other unnecessary communication that does not align with organizational objectives. As such, there is a need to ensure adequate systems that make it mandatory that information shared is for the benefit of an organization. Besides, when an organization uses performance reviews as an internal communication system to outline the challenges facing employees and their personal goal, it may be difficult to obtain sufficient information from some employees due to fear of warnings or disciplinary actions against those who did not meet set performance standards.
Core Benefits of Internal Communication
Internal communication is the core lifeblood of organizations. Both external and internal communications are fundamental in controlling the daily activities of organizational operations. As such, the core benefits of international include fostering motivation, control, coordination, aiding in decision-making, developing managerial efficiency and ensuring proper supervision of organizational activities and resources. Adequate implementation of internal communication motivates organizational employees by providing good leadership among subordinates and staff members it is only through adequate and effective internal communication that members of organizations feel they are part of the company (Mishra, Boynton & Mishra, 2014; Colleoni, 2013). While control is an essential part of an organization, coordination helps sets goals in different departments and units courtesy of internal communication. In decision-making, internal communication helps in improving the quality of decisions made due to adequate sharing of information and participative leadership, which in turn improve productivity, ensure adequate supervision as well as foster managerial efficiency. Besides, the existence of effective internal communication systems in an organization reduces labor turnover rates and upholds smooth functioning of individuals due to a cordial relationship that it creates between employees and the management.
Sustainable Internal Communication Efforts
Internal communication is among the fundamental needs for corporate organizations and sustainability is a crucial challenge for many organizations. The process of internal communication should as such, address organizational issues relating to procedures, rewards, people, and structure (Kataria, Kataria & Garg, 2013)
. The function of human resources can aid in achieving sustainability where the strategies that characterize employee development are communicated efficiently as well as integrated with functional, business and corporate strategy (Kuehn & Weber, 2015).
Internal Communication Tools: Employee Communications
There are many tools that an organization can employ in internal communications. The importance of internal communication necessitates the needs for the communication tools to deliver or rather transfer information in an organization hence aiding employee communication. Despite the size of an organization, communication is fundamental for building operations, capabilities, productivity, competencies and for aligning teams and creating a corporate culture (Katzy, Bondar & Mason, 2012). Effective internal communication makes all the differences that a company needs to stain competitive and survive the dynamic environment.
As such, having adequate communication systems calls for right tools. The tools include streams, charts, document sharing, team spaces and news (Verčič, Verčič & Sriramesh, 2012; Huy & Shipilov, 2012). Streams are free-forms of open communication platforms such as Twitter and help individuals stay updated about the vibe of an organization. Chats such as Skype and Instant Messenger are essential for small and fast group communication. News aids in communicating necessary information to different organizational departments. It is the core of communication and aligns individuals with common priorities (Verčič, Verčič & Sriramesh, 2012; Huy & Shipilov, 2012). On the other hand, document sharing and library include information passed through published work on documents, video, spreadsheet and presentation among others. Team spaces help teams and groups foster collaboration and get to work. Elements of team spaces include calendars, chat and document sharing and task management. Effective application of the internal communication tools depends on communication needs as shown in the appendix (Jorfi et al., 2014).
Ethical Leadership in Internal Communication
Over the years, authentic and transformational leadership styles have been seen as characterizing ethical components which also aligns with the notion of symmetrical communication (Men & Stacks, 2014). While ethical leadership is a positive leadership style that organizations should put on top of their leadership lists of effective corporate governance, the positive impact of ethical leadership on employee outcomes and internal communication incorporate the change in behavior on symmetrical communication, improved employee engagement and leadership credibility. As such, it promotes trust, feedback, and ethical culture, tolerance, openness, and credibility, reciprocity, adequacy of information, effective decision making, negotiation and employee-centered style among others (Men, 2015).
Internal Communication Crisis Sustainability
Sustainability is a major concern for every organization, and the growing level of competition creates a threat to long-term survival of the business entities (Singh, 2013). Sustainability takes into consideration profit, people, and the planet which forms the backbone of sustainability. Adequate analysis of organizations indicates that elements such as process, rewards, strategy, structure, and processes are intertwined with initiatives of sustainability that helps organizations realize competitive advantage. Internal communication is vital for greater employee engagement and can help solve these elements and lead sustainability. Internal communication crisis entails the breakdown of international communication systems leading to conflicts, poor decision making, and organizational efficiencies. To solve the communication and sustainability issues, there is a need to incorporate the principles of sustainability into business decisions and communication systems (Singh, 2013). Sustainability can also be achieved through internal payback, that is, what an organization offers to its stakeholders is key to solving challenges of sustainability.
Development of Organization Internal Communication Program
Managerial Responsibility in Internal Communication
Internal communication is about facilitating conversation and as such, an organizational management plays a key role in such communications. The managerial responsibility in this regard involves the role of top management, human resources and team managers in fostering internal communication. Senior leaders role, in this case, involves making frequent announcements as well as updates about the status of an organization, the internal and external environment and invite stakeholders to share in their views (Ruck & Welch, 2012; Mishra, Boynton & Mishra, 2014). Human resources, on the other hand, play more than a transactional role in internal communication. It facilitates the communication by creating internal communication strategy and using the systems to employ and manage employees (Ruck & Welch, 2012; Mishra, Boynton & Mishra, 2014). Team managers create micro communication channels and foster team communications.
Key Internal Communication Plans and Strategy
In most cases, developing and delivering internal communication plans and strategy rest in the hands of organizational development or human resources. Adequate and practical approach to employ in developing a good internal communication plan starts with why the organization needs to have the plan. It is why something takes place the way it does. Notably, effective communication is not an end, but a means to an end (DiSanza & Legge, 2016). Therefore, the key to internal communication plan and strategy entails following specific steps in the plan development; researching the plan, planning, ensuring the plan is business problem-oriented, committed drive force, understating available tools, ensuring consistency, catering for two-way communications, avoiding overwhelming employees, ensuring the plan is inclusive, ensuring standardized internal and external communication and planning for disaster and contingency.
Organizational Internal Communication Effectiveness
The internal communication systems play essential roles in organizational success through the influence they put on critical success factors such as retention, performance, satisfaction, and engagement. As such, it has a direct effect on a company_x0092_s bottom line. Nevertheless, organizational stakeholders may find it difficult to prove the value of internal communication since they cannot qualify or quantify its impact. However, what determines the nature of internal communication is its effectiveness (Srivastava & Srivastava, 2016; Bücker et al., 2014). The effectiveness of internal communication in an organization depends on communication systems, leadership styles, organizational culture and nature of communication among others.
In conclusion, the modern days of management mark tipping points for workforce demographics as organizations improve on their competitive nature. Based on the above analysis, it is evident that internal communication plays a fundamental role in the organizational management hence the need to manage issues relating to communication systems, sustainability and developing internal communication programs. Efforts geared towards solving communication issues characterize successful organizational management.
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