Corporate communication helps keep your employees connected to the business. From headquarters to those working remotely, corporate communication is all about how to communicate your values, mission and culture inside your business and to the world. However, before you can master your corporate communication, you need to understand what it is.
Defining corporate communication
Any communication related to your values, policies or goals falls under corporate communication. However, it doesn't include things like messages you send or social responsibility statements. Instead, it includes your corporate brand identity and tone. In other words, the way your company sounds.
For distributed teams across the globe and fully remote operations, corporate communications unite workers together. The corporate communication audiences can include:
- board members
- the press
- current employees
- future employees
Corporate communication can be divided into two separate categories: internal communication and external communication. Historically, external communication was reserved for the PR department, whereas internal communication was reserved for the HR department. However, that's changing. Now, effective corporate communication needs to be aligned and present in every facet of the business.
Whether or not your company values corporate communications, every organization sends messages about the company internally and externally all the time. Corporate communication is simply formalizing these inevitable conversations and applying some strategy to them. If you don't have a formal corporate communication strategy, you aren't alone. Approximately 60% of companies don't have an internal communication strategy. However, here's why you should consider changing it.
The importance of corporate communication
If you ask corporate executives, the majority of them would agree that corporate communication is important. But why?
Companies talk all the time. They're discussing the company's mission and values, and they're doing so across a variety of different formats - from press releases and presentations to annual reports and webinars, your organization is communicating all the time.
This nonstop communication has implications and can affect crucial things like your company's reputation. If your corporate communication strategies are working well, you can increase brand awareness and improve loyalty. However, if they aren't working well, you could have a problem on your hands. Corporate communication also includes your customer service approach and language. As a result, the teams that handle your customer chat, phone lines, social media and email services need to play a part in creating and executing your corporate communication strategy.
Corporate communication becomes critical in times of crisis because it aids in brand protection and perception. However, the best organizations use proactive corporate communications rather than reactive ones. They have thorough communications all year long - not just during times of crisis. By doing so, these organizations are viewed more favorably by onlookers and associates because their responses aren't just one-offs.
5 benefits of internal corporate communication
Internal communication is just one part of the total corporate communication strategy. Historically, internal corporate communication includes training, updates, internal newsletters and more. More recently, internal corporate communication also includes social channels, live chat, video streaming, webinars and more.
Internal communication is essential because employees want to hear from their leaders. They want to stay updated on company news. However, internal communication isn't a one-way street. It's not just about how corporate communicates with their employees. It's also about how employees communicate with corporate. The most effective companies often have avenues to give employees a voice.
There are several benefits to having an ironclad internal corporate communication strategy. Here are five of those benefits.
Connecting the frontline workers
Staying in touch with deskless and frontline workers is critical. However, studies show a significant gap between headquarters and frontline employees. This communication gap can be problematic. After all, it's these frontline workers who often have the most direct effect on a company's brand. Therefore, having an internal communication strategy that connects corporate to the deskless workers is a massive benefit to any organization.
Internal communications are a critical component of successful employee engagement strategies because internal communications are how companies can make people feel connected to the mission. Internal communication can help build loyalty, bridge gaps and reduce conflict and confusion. Plus, with an increasing number of employees working remotely, internal communications becomes even more critical to keep employees engaged.
The best organizations and teams use internal communications to create, convey and retain company culture. Company culture (and the ways in which we communicate it) is particularly important in this period of remote and hybrid work where company culture isn't something employees can feel at physical locations. Instead, company culture is increasingly becoming something that needs to be developed and maintained virtually.
During times of change - like a restructure, office move or unexpected emergency, your staff will undoubtedly have a lot of questions. Transparent and effective communication helps to address those questions and alleviate concerns before they arise.
A testing environment
Like all good technology, communications also have to be tried and tested before they're perfected. Internal communications provide a terrific testing ground to try out new messages before pushing them out elsewhere. This allows you to get reactions and feedback and tweak your tone and messaging before publishing or communicating it outside the organization.
How to improve corporate communication
There are several proven best practices for improving corporate communication. They include:
- Make leaders relatable and visible
- Ensure all people across the organization have a voice
- Be transparent
- Maintain two-way communication lines
- Be open about making mistakes and taking risks
Here are a few specific ways to make corporate communications better in your organization
Establish some guidelines
Having consistency throughout your entire organization can be challenging, especially when dealing with global teams across multiple locations, languages and time zones. That's why having some clear communication guidelines is one of the best ways to keep your brand's conversations consistent.
Business silos can make effective communication nearly impossible. For example, if your compliance team speaks differently from your HR team, who speaks differently than your marketing and sales teams, it will be nearly impossible to establish a consistent company culture.
Improve interpersonal skills
If you notice your teams, supervisors or executives lack interpersonal skills, it might be time to invest in some training. Individual and group training to improve communication skills can go a long way toward cleaning up internal communication and eliminating miscommunications.
Policies for corporate communication
Establishing external and internal communications policies can help companies create expectations and standards. Consider having representatives from each department have a say in the final policy. Once your company publishes these policies, you'll need to devote time to regularly review and update them to make sure nothing has changed since the last update.
An external policy should communicate messaging, but it should also outline who is authorized to have conversations with the public. Your external policy should clearly outline how employees are expected to speak about the company and with whom they're allowed to communicate. Doing so reduces the risk of an employee accidentally harming our brand's reputation with misaligned messaging.
So, how can you create an effective corporate communication strategy?
Tips to establish an effective corporate communication strategy
- Have clear goals
- Set metrics to measure success
- Measure results and continually improve and evolve
For the best results, your communication teams need to have clear access to the organization's heads. You want there to be consistency between the messages sent by the PR, HR team and CEO. To maintain effective strategies, you need to regularly review corporate communications and find any overlaps, inconsistencies or risks. With regular reviews, you should be able to eliminate changes that aren't working and create ones that do work.
Ultimately, corporate and business communication strategies affect every part of your organization, and it's part of what keeps employees engaged and connected. By focusing on corporate communications, you'll see an increase in employee engagement and loyalty, which will boost productive metrics and success.
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