Internal communication influences corporate culture

Communication is one area that business leaders should attach great importance to. When we generally talk about communication, we cannot help but touch upon the aspect of corporate culture.  Then, it comes quite naturally to say that culture is critical to any organisation’s health, which, if fit and fine, leads to smooth functioning.

Internal Communications is a key to any organisation’s success. So, so providing employees with good information will help them go about their work confidently, and also project a face that adds to the corporate reputation.

Values come up, when you talk of corporate culture. Shared values affect internal communication, which in turn, influences important factors of a successful company – employees’ motivation, team cooperation, work effectiveness and so on. Internal communication includes information flow between colleagues and departments; it also points to the way the company presents itself externally and internally – sharing common visions, strategies and goals, understanding of relations between company processes, nature of employee evaluation (critique, appraisal, feedback) and managerial style.

Corporate Culture – provides the context

Whether or not your organisation has deliberately defined and shaped its internal culture, it is definitely influencing your organisation’s success right now. Your internal culture – what you collectively value, how you do things, common beliefs and expectations – defines your organisation. It manifests itself everywhere: in how your employees interact with one another, the care they take in performing their jobs and the way they treat customers.

A key issue of Internal/Employee Communications is Corporate Culture. Corporate Culture provides the context within which business is done. It underlines the values of the business which, in turn, will determine the state of how employees behave.

A strategy that can be taken up by businesses is having strong two-way internal communications which ensure a well-informed and involved workforce and a management team, who are in touch with the employees and their concerns.

Developing perceptions of a company

What role does internal communication and corporate culture play in how a company communicates externally? Internal communication influences a company’s corporate culture, which then, plays a role in a company’s brand reputation. People develop their perceptions of a company not simply from press releases and ads. Employees who are the ‘face’ of a business, are impacted by what they see and hear coming through the organisation, and certainly not just in a formal way. Ultimately, they are the individuals who paint the perception of the company.

Public Relations is, in fact, a strategic business function that should coordinate with marketing, so that it can have significant impact on the bottom line. A good PR person is skilled at having a finger on the pulse of the organisational communications –  to keep an ear open for rumors, or any nagging displeasure expressed and even identify people who do not ‘fit’ into the corporate culture. If they know the corporate vision, they can use their expertise to influence, persuade and change.

The relationship between Internal Communication & Corporate Culture

Now that the relationship between Internal Communication and Corporate Culture is clear, what could be the key principles that lead this relationship? Here are some guidelines:

  • Effective communication encourages a positive culture and is essential to the way employees work
  • Employees should be kept in the loop – they should be well informed about issues which could perhaps have an impact upon them, as employees
  • It would help improve the quality of services a company provides, if everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to the development of policies and practices
  • All employees should be valued as “ambassadors” or “brand evangelists” of the company
  • With training in effective communication, employees can be guided to match steps with the corporate culture

It takes a lot of work to improve internal communication and cultivate a strong internal culture, but the result is worth the time and effort, specially when you get it right.

After all it’s the process of telling your story. When the brand identity is put in place, it explains the brand storyline and sets down expectations for every member of the team to toe the line with the brand promise – ultimately impacting anyone (current or potential customer) the employees may come in contact with.

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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