As a company, it can be easy to prioritise your external PR and forget about the information you share with your internal audience – your employees, those responsible for the work being done. However, internal PR can play a crucial role in a corporate environment, with benefits worth considering as part of a complete communication strategy. It is something all too often left to the HR department, though – without truly considering its importance.
Why do you need internal PR
• Engagement. Having a tool for communicating your key messages to your team and generating employee engagement leads to a more productive workforce and better business. This is backed by research: it has been proven that organisations with highly engaged employees achieve an average double the annual net income of those with low engagement.
• Information. Employees should always find out news from the company first – not from the media. It not only builds a sense of loyalty, and unity, it helps you control how the message is delivered – and when.
• Talent. An effective internal PR strategy can attract better specialists — and keep them in the company. In addition to aiding productivity, studies show that highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their jobs than disengaged employees.
• Stability. If one person lives, strong internal PR ensures it doesn’t affect the whole company.
• Administration. Good internal PR ensures clearer communication with your employees, for reminders, announcements and more.
How can you make your internal PR effective
• Create one platform for communications. The starting point for an effective system is to provide a single, simple point of access with an internal web portal, corporate magazine or a similar platform. There are many ways to engage with your employees – all of them have potential to build motivation and a team spirit. You simply have to commit to one.
• Connect your internal and external PR. Internal PR can help employees embrace your external successes, raising morale and building pride in employees’ work. Why should just the public enjoy your success, after all? Conversely, your own staff can generate ideas for external PR and advertising campaigns – after all, who knows the product better? Bringing external PR and internal PR together draws the most out of both strategies – and can help deliver the company’s ethics and message to an external audience. For example, many companies have found success through using real employees in advertisements.
• Listen. Your employees need a way to submit questions and feedback. This feedback also needs to be acted upon. It’s vital that this system be in place, as your employees may be your best ambassadors but they can also be your harshest critics.
• Use internal communications appropriately. Internal PR is not just a channel to send your company news to your internal audience – it is a tool that can both celebrate your achievements and consider the impact your company news with have on employees. Do not merely send messages out, tailor them and develop a strategy – put your internal PR to a real, deliberate purpose.
Who is responsible for internal PR?
The final question, and one that brings us back to a point that, unchecked, could hinder an effective internal PR strategy: who is responsible for putting this system? It could fall to HR or a separate PR department entirely, depending on the size of the company, but whoever is made responsible the responsibility must be made clear and a strategy developed. And it must be connected to the PR department in order to strategically leverage public relations. The external team and internal PR specialists and managers have shared expectations about processes and procedures.
These are just the starting points for putting an effective internal PR system into place. The particulars will depend on your company – but whatever your size or industry you can be sure that strong internal PR will mean strong employee engagement and a more stable, better performing business. This in turn, can lead to a stronger outward image and more effective external PR. Consider the examples of Chobani’s CEO giving 10% of his shares to his employees or Admiral Group’s CEO’s $10M parting gift – these aren’t just companies people are talking about, they’re companies people want to work for.