Internal communication is a strategic part of public relations whose main objective is to improve employee engagement and ultimately organisational performance.
Mary Welch (2011) developed an interesting model of internal communication. According to the model, internal communications have the objective of creating a sense of belonging among employees and help them understand organisational processes and, more specifically, internal change.
Whilst the first level of engagement is merely emotional, the second level is rational as it focuses on the employees' cognitive engagement.
Another model is the so called AVID model, considered the best practice in internal communications. The names AVID stands for Alignment, Voice and Identification and it includes three levels of communications:
the alignment level where line managers connect with the team;
the voice level where employee share their views'
the identification level where employees understand company's values and objectives.
How many internal communications levels are there?
There are many levels of internal communications, depending on job seniority and cross-departmental collaboration. These are:
line manager communications;
middle management communications;
senior management communications.
As one can expect, for each level there are specific stakeholders involved and types of messaging.
Internal communications teams are often focused on informing employees at all levels about company's objectives and activities and providing them with a voice. However, to inform is not enough.
What tools can organisations use to enhance employee engagement?
Internal surveys can be a great tool not only to test awareness of organisational processes bur also check employees wellbeing and engagement.
Internal social networks
Internal social networks can promote internal collaboration and knowledge sharing across generations and geographies and provide freedom of expression.
These are a cost-effective way to share interactive content such as videos, blogs and events.
There are, of course, many other channels that employees find useful and engaging. These can include team meetings, email communications, town hall meetings, text messages and WhatsApp groups.
It is up to communications professionals to identify which channels can have the biggest impact on employee engagement.