It has been my experience that organizations fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of external communications. It is not to make the organization look good. (Believe it or not, experts in image management do make this mistake.)
It is simply to provide facts, either directly or by making the appropriate connections. I remember when a respected reporter at a well known media outlet told me that the more you’re talking to reporters, the stronger the trust between the reporter and the organization, and the less likely it is that a crisis will destroy you.
The same holds true for internal communications. No your employees aren’t reading fluff, although they do like to see what’s happening around town and with their colleagues. What people really want is to work for an excellent organization that does quality work, meaningful work, work that makes a difference in somebody’s life at the very least. And they want to hear, whether from you or directly from supervisor or colleagues, about how that’s happening.
It goes without saying that people want to work for an ethical organization that is safe for them and their coworkers. We’ve grown used to the paradigm of the employee who is fearful and tries to keep their job by avoiding any trouble whatsoever. But nobody thrives in such an environment. Just the opposite.
If you want to maximize your value, your potential value, the social glue within your organization, your relationships with outside stakeholders, and your image to the outside world, focus on doing things right and on encouraging people to do the right things.
There is an element of academic education and training that is separate from all this. I don’t deny that a lot of skill goes into how you communicate, and that every single organizational culture is different from every other.
But “first things first” is a good place to start, and a good person (maybe a person who cares about goodness?) is a good kind of employee to have around, even if I wildly disagree with them. I like to see principles at work.
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy). All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.