How To Create Integrated Communications

How To Create Integrated Communications

By Filipe Andrade

Establishing corporate communications, whether internal or external, is by itself a huge challenge; when well executed, it makes all the difference to an organization. When it doesn’t, it can have a tremendously negative impact.Creating integrated communications, by integrating both internal and external communications, forming a synergy between them, is a separate challenge. The result of an integrated communication, however, is substantially higher than any result from them separately.

To understand how to do internal and external communication in an integrated way, we need to first understand the specifications for each one of these ways of communicating in an organization.

Internal communications are commonly understood as a process of exchanges between the employees of an organization, involving all the team in the communicative process and the informative contents, whether vertically or horizontally. There are several internal communication tools and many ways to use this type of communication in a strategic way. The important thing is that this communication  needs to be taken seriously, and even more importantly, it needs to be considered as strategically relevant by managers.

External communications on the other hand, has an even more institutionalized and hierarchical character. This because, in these cases, there is a second filter inside the organization – not everything that’s relevant to the internal public is relevant to the external. And, unlike internal communications, which aims to integrate the team, the external aims to bring the organization to public attention, to be seen and recognized as such. This communication often happens through the work of the press office.

Integrated communication goes beyond. “[…]It presupposes not only a productive dialogue, but a joint planning. The decision-making process, which should include other instances of the company or entity apart from those specifically related to the communication/marketing, must be shared, even if there is a boss, a superintendent, or a general director to whom everybody reports to”, as argued by authors Cláudio Silva, Flávia Schroeder, Luciana Costa, Mariana Cumming and Ticiana Diniz, in the article ‘Comunicação Integrada como Ferramenta de Gestão’ (‘Integrated Communication as a Management Tool’).

The result of the integrated communication is a company image that is much more aligned, more global — as the authors mentioned above point out –, highlighting each sector of the corporation, its activities and specifications. And, even if it’s something new in the market, this is not just an option, but a necessity and a distinction in an organization. A trend that points to the future.

If your company needs help developing a way to work with communication in an integrated manner, please contact the specialists at Race Communications. We’d be happy to help!

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What Problems Can Poor Internal Communications Cause?

By Lívia Caixeta

Internal communications are gaining ground, little by little, in the corporate universe, mainly due to its strategic impact on the productivity of employees. In one of our previous post, “How can internal communications be strategic” Carlos Massarico explained very accurately one of the most important purposes that this tool fulfils:

“In short, strategic internal communication is the communication that is able to integrate every employee in the processes, objectives and goals of the company where they work, through a transparent and accessible flow of information. When these employees are aware of the direction of the company which they dedicate their time and effort to and when they believe in its missions, values and visions, this engagement becomes more natural and organic.”

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, when badly planned or badly executed, its consequences for the corporate environment can be serious.  Recently, in her article Four tips for effective internal communications”, Malin Teles brings up one of the possible consequences that poorly executed internal communications can bring:

“For example, failing to communicate well with employees often result in employee discontentment, lack of engagement and a high employee turnover. All which can be costly for the organisation.”

In extreme cases, considering that internal communication is the main forum for dialogue between managers, coworkers and teams, its absence can cause fatal consequences for a company: it can increase the distance between different hierarchical levels, contributing to the spreading of non official information – gossip – , the creation of a hostile work environment and, eventually, of a negative external image of the company.

Therefore, it is best not to leave any space for trouble! Define optimization strategies for the internal communications according to the reality and the needs of your company. If you would like to discover what you need to do to make your internal communication effective, contact us to learn more about what we can offer!

 

 

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How To Get Employees On Board In Times of Change

By Malin H. Teles

 

All organizations go through changes at one point or another. Being these structural, cultural, changes in routines, or a combination of these, such as when a merger of two companies happens. Managing this is not an easy task and requires, apart from specific knowledge about the area subject to change, profound knowledge in change communications.

People are naturally resistant to change, and many times intuitively see it as something negative, even though it may be something positive for them. We are creatures of habit and tend to see change as a threat.

So, how can we successfully manage this process? Clear communications are an absolute necessity, as well as a well thought out plan:

 

  • Plan well. This might seem obvious but still needs to be said – a well thought out plan, both for the process itself and the communication regarding it, is fundamental for successful change management. Timing is key. In other words, carefully considering when to announce alterations and when to implement it in relation to other circumstances for the organisation, can be helpful in avoiding unnecessary tension. Of course, it is not always possible to make these sorts of choices. But when possible, it is a good idea to not accumulate many different changes, or the announcement of them, but to try to spread them over time. Also, when it is to be implemented, aim to execute in several of steps. This allows for those who will be affected to gradually get used to the new situation.

 

  • Communicate the on beforehand. Some managers have the (wrong) idea that by taking employees by surprise and announcing news in the last minute, they eliminate any possibility for them to protest and put up a fight. This is a bad and utterly counterproductive strategy. Change is something people need time to get used to. Therefore, always try to prepare employees for it by communicating them well before a change will actually take place.

 

  • Invite employees into the discussion. One effective way to diminish resistance towards change, is allowing people to participate in the process. In other words, to as great an extent as possible, invite the employees who will be affected by the change to participate in the discussion at an early stage. Of course, it needs to be made very clear what is negotiable and not in order not to give false hope or the impression that they can influence decisions that, in reality, are non-negotiable.

 

  • Be clear and transparent. During the discussion as well as the implementation, always strive to communicate in a clear and transparent manner. By keeping the team well-informed, you can prevent the spreading of rumours or unfounded discontent regarding the changes. Moreover, it is a good idea to communicate a form of calendar of events. That is, provide the employees with milestones in form of dates when the different steps of the change are planned to occur. Before and during the implementation process, it is also important that everyone knows with whom they can clear any doubts and where to find information.

 

  • Provide the employees with what they need. For a change process to be successful and cause as little friction as possible, it is necessary that the co-workers not only get the information they need but also adequate training. For example, if a change involves a new system, new software, new routines or the use of new equipment, many (especially employees who have been in the organization for a long time) might resist the change for the simple reason that they feel insecure and unable in relation to the new routines or the new way of working. Don’t wait for them to ask for help or guidance – this might never happen. Instead, assume that training and help is needed and offer it to everyone involved. Apart from training it might also be necessary to allow for more time for employees to execute the same amount of work in the beginning after having implemented a new system, equipment or routine.

 

  • Go from private to public, not the other way around. A common mistake that managers make, is announcing changes regarding employees’ responsibilities or work routines in public before announcing them in private. That is, they announce the change regarding a specific employee or group of employees in front of the whole team before having spoken about the change with that employee or group of employees in private. This is a cardinal mistake which leaves the employee in a very uncomfortable situation and it can have a very bad effect on the relation and trust between the employee and the responsible manager. Therefore, whenever changes in responsibilities, work routines or other issues that impact a specific employee or group of employees are about to happen, always inform the person involved in private first, before informing the rest of the team. Also, once this has been done, let the person know on beforehand when it will be announced to the rest of the team.

 

All in all, change is difficult for everybody. Managers and employees alike. However, by planning well and being as transparent and open as possible, it is possible to get through the process with a positive result. And, most importantly, with your employees on board.

 

Article also published on Ragan.com.

 

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Content Production For Internal Communications

By Gabriel Pedreschi

The higher the number of employees in a company, the greater the challenge to reach all of them with the necessary information. For this reason, the help of a communications agency or consultancy is essential in producing content, assisting with the optimization of internal communications and the development of a strategy for creation, analysis and editing of internal content.

To reach all – or most – of the employees, the communications agency, together with the communications department of the company, need to follow a few important steps in order to keep the employees aligned with the organisation:

  • Assessment of the most appropriate communications channel;
  • News bulletin (for short and concise content)
  • Magazine (for more profound content)
  • Intranet blog (the amount of information can vary from post o post)
  • e-mail (Newsletter)
  • Casual language (so that everyone understands)
  • Content that catches the employees attention

With  correctly planned and executed internal communications, the employees will feel closer to the company and stay informed. This way generating a communications channel between the employer and the employees, engaging and integrating the coworkers.

To know more about the work of Race Communications in internal communications, click here.

 

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The Ripple Effects of An Unstable World on Internal Communications

By Rogério Artoni

In the past couple of years, the world has seen big political changes as well as a rise in nationalism and far-right extremism. We have experienced everything from a shaken European Union with the results of the Brexit referendum, to a baffled world when Donald Trump (a.k.a.self proclaimed  “stable genius”) won the US presidential election. Moreover, here in Brazil, the former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and the country saw an unprecedented decline in trust in the government. The effects of political instability is not limited to its effects on the economy or on diplomatic relations, but also has significant effects on various areas in organisations, including communications.

To start off, external uncertainty increases the need for, and importance of, internal stability and certainty. This goes for countries, as well as for companies and individuals. In companies and organisations in general, this means that leaders need to present certainty to their employees in form of a clear purpose. It is vital that members of the organisation are provided with a clear view of how their individual work is contributing to the purpose of the company on an organisational level. This way, they can feel assured that they are important to the company and that they are on the right path. In other words, leaders need to prioritize employee engagement to promote internal stability. One of the most important tools for accomplishing this is working on the internal communications of the organisation.

Moreover, the geopolitical uncertainties that damage or decrease cross-border unity, impacts multinational organisations in the way that those companies who manage to maintain a one-company culture across different countries, will have a competitive advantage. Consequently, those companies who fail to keep a unified culture, will be in disadvantage. Just as with communicating the purpose of individual employees work in the organisation, internal communications is also a vital tool for maintaining a solid and unified company culture. Of course, maintaining a one-company culture across borders and in offices in different cities and countries, is not an easy task. It is something that requires dedication, competence and exceptionally strong leadership, both on a global and national level.     

Strong leadership is, without a doubt, a success factor for businesses and other organisations overall. However, in times of crises and instability, it becomes even more important. Leaders, being these team leaders, middle managers or c-suite executives, play a crucial part in maintaining functioning internal communications and a stable climate within the organisations. It is, now more than ever, fundamental to view internal communications as an integral part of the organisation and to use it to promote transparency.

Apart from transparency, a strong leadership also requires emotional intelligence and empathy. To be able to communicate effectively, so that those whom you are communicating with understand what you intend them to understand, it is vital to have the capacity to see things from their perspective. This involves respecting the diversity within the organisation, being able to adapt your message to this diverse audience and, also, receiving their diverse responses.

This way, leaders can bring a sense of stability and security and diminish the negative effects of the external instability on the organisations.  

 

Text originally published in portuguese on Aberje’s site. An adapted version has also been published on Ragan.com.

 

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FOUR TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

By Malin H. Teles

It is a common belief among many communications professionals that the importance of internal communications in organisations is underestimated by high management. Although this might be true in some cases, generally speaking, internal communications is usually considered high priority among managers. However, the problem is many times that even though it is high priority, internal communications is often a misunderstood activity. Or, in other words, it is badly executed.

Poor internal communications can have severe negative impacts on an organisation and, hence, should never be neglected. For example, failing to communicate well with employees often result in employee discontent, lack of engagement and a high employee turnover. All which can be costly for the organisation.

To create a good foundation for your internal communications to build on, it is important to keep a few things in mind. Let’s have a closer look at them:

Internal Communications are not a separate activity but need to be integrated with everyday work.

Internal communications are very much a reflection of the company culture and also, an influencer on company culture. If you aspire to have a transparent and non-hierarchical organisation, the communications within that organisation need to favour this, and vice versa. In other words, you need to think of internal communications as an integral part of your job. This includes everything from internal emails, text messages, meetings, feedbacks, phone calls etc. The way this communication is conducted has to reflect the company culture you desire to create or maintain.

Create routines – who communicates what and when.

Regardless of what type of company culture the organisation has, it is necessary to have some form of routines for the internal communications. Team members, as well as managers, need to know where and how to find the information that they are looking for. And, perhaps more importantly, managers and team leaders need to know what, how and when they are supposed to communicate. Having this more or less predefined, facilitates for everyone and makes the information flow better. Moreover, it transmits a sense of stability and confidence within the organisation.

Be somewhat selective regarding what is communicated.

In an attempt to promote transparency, some companies make the mistake of communicating too much information to their employees. This can be a problem, not mainly because of the risk of communicating confidential information, but because of causing an overload of information. Before communicating something within the organisation, ask yourself the following question – Is this piece of information relevant to these people? Sometimes information might be relevant to all employees or all teams, but many times it is relevant only to a few teams or a few employees. If that is the case – share it only with those teams or individuals. This way you avoid bombarding people with irrelevant information and have a higher chance of getting noticed once you are sharing truly important information, as it won’t drown in irrelevant messages.

Communicate change on beforehand  and involve employees in the discussion.

Every organisation passes through times of change every once in a while. Even though changes are not always negative, people have a tendency to be reluctant to them, which makes it all the more important to plan well how the communication regarding them will be done. As a general rule, you can say that change should be communicated as early as possible. This way people affected by the change have a chance to get used to the idea before the change actually happens.
Also, another good way to diminish rejection or resistance to change is to involve those who will be affected in a discussion about the change at an early stage, before all decisions are already made. This gives people a sense of participation and a chance to be heard. Of course, some decisions are not negotiable, but, most changes contain parts that are. For example, it might be possible to adapt when or how a change is applied.

Following these recommendations, you have a solid basis to build your internal communications on. However, having an independent professional assess your communications routines can be helpful as you get an objective view of the situation and can get input on possible improvements.  

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HOW TO DO INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS…

…and have a sustainable and healthy relationship with your employees
By Lívia Caixeta

The health of a company has a lot in common with the health of a human body. Just as our organism, a company depends on the commitment and effort of several groups in order to function. And thinking about this analogy, employees are like cells. They are the ones who will make the oxygen and all nutrients to supply complex systems (breathing, digestion, nervous, etc.).

When our body gets sick, all parts of the organism suffer from the consequences of the pain/disease. From that moment, there is a general commotion so that the strange symptom is reversed and the routine returns to normal. It’s as if each cell received the information that it needs to do something to change the medical state.

The same happens inside a company. The employees need to be aware of the work routine, not only in their department but also in other departments. The work done in an integrated way prevents “space limits” from being invaded and prevents unnecessary distress. The team culture requires that each person bears in mind that the work of other people is as important as your own. And that this way, the road to the result may be even more harmonic and quicker.

Internal communications therefore have a strategic function in corporations. Through its many tools it’s possible to inform everyone what’s happening to different departments in the company, and then, to awaken this global vision in employees. Returning to the analogy, it’s as if the management model was the brain, the internal communicationss were the fluids and the employees were the cells.

 

Interested in the topic? Click here to see more information about this and other services offered by Race Communications.

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HOW TO INITIATE THE INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS OF YOUR COMPANY

By Rodolfo Zanchin

Here on Race Communications’ blog, you can always find a lot of tips related to the communications area as well as future trends regarding the communications market. This time, the topic is somewhat of a delicate one, as many companies still do not invest in their internal communication. In this post, we list some of the most important tips on how to initiate this service in a company, considering that internal communications is one of the main pillars for the success of a business.

It is a common thing to hear members of the c-suite say that internal communications only exists to waste money. Of course, this is not true. Internal communications serves as a support to the external communications, and vice versa. The idea is to keep employees aligned to make sure that the communications of the organisation overall is headed in the same direction: that of success.

In case you would like to initiate the work on the internal communication of your company, we suggest the following steps:

  • Organise the internal flow

Establish the roles and who will be the responsible person for the area. The idea is that (s)he  receives information from various sectors of the organisation and organises it in a way that the content is received by everyone. Also, it is important to remember events, promotions and acknowledgements.

  •  Take the opportunity to reinforce the company culture

Internal comuniques are an excellent opportunity to reinforce the company’s most important values. Use this method so that everyone stays aligned and are able to transmit the messages in an homogeneous manner.

  • Pay attention to the frequency

More than implementing, it is necessary to create routines for the internal communication to become recognised by the employees. For this reason, pay attention to the frequency of the comuniques, newsletters, internal magazines and other activities. Ideally, the employees show interest in participating in these new routines and practises.

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CASES OF SUCCESS IN MEDIA RELATIONS AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

By Filipe Andrade

Two of the services, among others, that Race Communication offers are Media Relations and Internal Communications.

In the city of Goiás, (where one of our offices is located), for example, Race was responsible for  the implementation of tools for internal communication at the Laboratório Teuto (Teuto Laboratory), at Indústria Química do Estado de Goiás, Iquego, (Chemical Industry of The State of Goiás) as well as at Unidonto Goiânia, an organization in the dental insurance industry. These are only a few  examples.

In the first case, Race was responsible for the implementation of a fortnightly bulletin which today has 162 editions. At Iquego, the same model was applied. At Unidonto Goiânia, a newsletter, with more than 100 editions, is being sent to the members and the same model will be applied, over the next few months, on yet another internal audience: the employees.  

In all of the cases, the most noticeable is the engagement of the audience in relation to these tools. It is common for the employees to, for example, send suggestions, ask for a specific content, send a suggestion for a topic or, in an informal conversation, cite information published in these forums.

In media relations, Race has also reached significant results together with its clients in Goiás. This year, Teuto was in the news in two separate editions of Folha de São Paulo, a result of media relations conducted by Race. A full page article was also published last month in the Sunday edition of O Popular, the main newspaper in the state. The strategy in both these cases was to not only present content linked directly to the organization but to contextualize the information with, for example, market statistics.

Apart from the visibility and credibility that it brings to the organization, the work creates a channel, a solid relationship between Race/the client/the media/Race. This makes the editorial staff feel more comfortable entering in contact with the media relations team, assured that they will be presented with relevant information as well as it makes the client feel comfortable presenting content that are of great interest to the public. And the one who always wins is the public.    

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HOW CAN THE INTERNAL COMMUNICATION BE STRATEGIC?

By Carlos Massarico

Engagement is the buzzword of the moment in companies that look to the future. Being able to rely on teams and employees who are truly motivated and committed to what they’re doing and who are proven to produce, generates growth and excellent results for businesses. And having within this process of renovation and innovation a good flow of information regarding what happens within the company is fundamental: this is internal communication in its essence.

In short, strategic internal communication is the communication that is able to integrate every employee in the processes, objectives and goals of the company where they work, through a transparent and accessible flow of information. When these employees are aware of the direction of the company which they dedicate their time and effort to and when they believe in its missions, values and visions, this engagement becomes more natural and organic.

The big challenge of today is understanding how to do this integration. If stability and financial rewards were the central elements to motivate previous generations, today we can note that this has already changed – a lot. The virtues of a good job, able to fulfill the expectations of more hyperactive generations, now includes new aspects such as making it clear that every employee is able to generate value to the business.

This creates a very clear answer: to add value to the work of each employee inside a company, it is necessary to integrate it – and to integrate it, it is necessary to unite departments and areas in favour of larger objectives. This is the importance of good internal communication; that it recognizes the efforts of each sector of the company as part of a living organism which acts together and not separated from the context.

Not always is this process of alignment between the areas easy, for everybody to work towards a common goal and to find personal satisfaction which will generate engagement. What is certain is that this reconstruction is necessary for the companies that aim to prosper in a market that is becoming more dynamic and more competitive by the day.

Enter in contact with us to know how we can help your business. Race Communications has expertise in the management of processes like these, training teams and implementing change in favour of the internal communication in small, medium and large companies.

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