Friday, February 1, 2008

Open Up: Time for Better Internal Communications

Share your strategy and even your numbers

Last week, we offered a few tips for marcomm planning in light of an uncertain economic outlook for 2008.

Upon review, let's add consistent internal communications to that list. Here's why.

Even during a boom, a strong internal communications program is vital to a positive, productive workforce. Then consider the current cloudy climate, when people start to worry about the economy—and about their jobs.

Absent clear communication from leadership, people fill the void with rumors and gossip. So it's more important than ever to be open with your employees.

Such regular communication instills confidence in your workers that your company is making strategic moves that ultimately benefit them and instill confidence that they know how to help the company cause. You've got to be straight with them about your company's goals, strategies and even financials.

Some companies may balk at the idea of sharing financials. But our market intelligence tells us that many firms learned some lessons from the last downturn, at the end of the tech bubble and after Sept. 11, 2001. They're likely better prepared today for a possible bumpy road than they were back in the days of irrational exuberance.

If your company is one of those wiser ones, you probably have some reassuring financial data to share. As part of a comprehensive, consistent internal communications program, opening your books can head off negative speculation, boost morale and strengthen the bond between company and employees.

In times of uncertainty, those are just the kinds of reinforcements you need.

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