Working on my thesis about internal communication, I found that there were no generally accepted definitions of internal communication in the existing literature. I, therefore, turned to seek PR professionals’ viewpoints on this.
This article is the collection of definitions of internal communication provided by PR professionals around the world.
Internal communications (IC) is the function responsible for effective communications among participants within an organisation. The scope of the function varies by organisation and practitioner, from producing and delivering messages and campaigns on behalf of management, to facilitating two-way dialogue and developing the communication skills of the organisation’s participants. – Wikipedia
“Internal communication is the communication discipline concerned with employees, enabling employee engagement and helping to deliver change” – Ann Pilkington, Director, PR Academy.
“Internal communication includes everything that gets said and shared inside an organisation. As a function its role is to curate, enable and advise on best practise for organisations to communicate effectively, efficiently and in an engaging way.” – Jenni Field, @mrsjennifield, Director, Redefining Communications, Chair of CIPR Inside and one of my fellow @theICcrowd co-founders
“Internal communication is when businesses are talking to their internal audience. It is the way in which the relationship between the business and employees is facilitated.” – Brittany Golob, Editor of Communicate Magazine.
“IC is the facilitation, creation, operation and elevation of conversation and communication inside an organisation” – Chuck Gose, ICology podcast host.
“For me, it’s all about being able to help foster dialogue between employees at all levels, which in turn helps everyone see the big picture. This helps drive productivity, loyalty, innovation, and belief in what the organisation is doing and everyone’s role in making success happen. Sounds easy in theory, but it’s much tougher in practice somewhere like the Middle East region, where IC is seen as a means for management to talk down to employees. We have to change this concept.” – Alex Malouf, Corporate Communications & Reputation Manager for the Arabian Peninsula, Procter & Gamble
“Internal communications is the art of engaging and communicating with and for your internal stakeholders. It has to be a two-way function and be tailored to suit the intended audience (i.e one size doesn’t fit all).” – Jack Adlam, Deputy Head of Communications, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust.
“Internal Communications’ function is to help leaders in your Department or Agency inform and engage employees, in a way which motivates staff to maximise their performance and deliver the business strategy most effectively. It is not about ‘sending out stuff’.” – Russell Grossman, Director of Communications, Office of Rail and Road and Government Communication Service Head of Profession for Internal Communications.
“Organisations need to communicate effectively with their employees. It sounds simple, but the reality is less so. And as organisations get bigger, this becomes a more complex challenge. At the most basic level, you have to communicate well at the right time so employees know what is expected of them and what is happening in the organisation. At a deeper level, for employees to feel engaged with their workplace and give their best, they have to believe their organisation cares about their views and understand how their role contributes towards overall business objectives.” – Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC).
For me, internal communications and employee engagement are almost synonymous. They are intrinsically linked. Internal communications is a core practice that results in engaged employees. After all, if communications are not aiming to engage, then what are doing? Delivering information about anything is a form of internal communication, but why not think about it as employee engagement?
Engage your target audiences with the right kind of message that’s appropriate for them. If the messages are received well, then the job is done. Simple. A health & safety card, for instance, might not lift one’s spirits immediately, but if delivered well, it becomes useful and interesting. That’s engagement in its simplest form. (Theteam.co.uk)
In our book, internal communication is broadly defined as the management of relationships with internal stakeholders. It encompasses all kinds of formal and informal communication that takes place internally at all levels of an organization, including hierarchical communication (i.e., top-down or bottom-up communication among managers, supervisors, and non-management employees), mass media communication (i.e., controlled messaging using various traditional and digital media channels), and informal networks (i.e., employee peer to peer communication). (Dr Rita Linjuan Men atUniversity of Florida )
Internal communication is a subset of effective business communication, which is built around this simple foundation: communication is a dialogue, not a monologue. In fact, communication is a dual listening process.
So Internal Communication, in a business context, is the dialogic process between employees and employer, and employees and employees. (Leehopkins.net)