"Change your thoughts and you change your world." (Norman Vincent Peale, 1998 - 1993)
History speaks that if one has to survive and live long he has to change. In fact change only creates history, opening the doors of new scenario. Therefore, change is necessary in every aspect of our life whether it is change in personal life, change in society, environment, behaviour, change in information, technology, culture, communication etc. [a][b]
But first of all we should know that what is communication?
- Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages.
- But the effective communication is when, the message is understood and when it induces action or boosts the receiver to conceive the message in new ways.
Communication is an essential function of enterprise.
- Whether written or oral, it is the conduit through which an enterprise speaks to its customers.
- It is mechanism of management for influencing employees and directing the work they do.
- And it is the means through which employees provide the information and feedback, which management need to make sound decisions.
An organisation that is clear, consistent and effective in its communications with customers, employees, shareholder, creditors, and the community is in good position to establish trust and to evoke their collaboration.
Internal communication in the context of change.
- We know that, communication is the key process that can influence how effectively the internal management of an organisation adjusts to change. The quality of communication can have an important impact on the success and growth of any firm.
- Among all the types of changes one change, on which growth of a company and ultimately growth of the nation is dependent is, it's internal organisation and for the smooth working of the system, and for that, effective communication is essential.
- Therefore, the area on which we are focus on is the change in the internal communication that is the ways, the challenges, can be seen within the organisation.
What is internal communication?
- Internal communication refers to the exchange of information and ideas within organisation.
- Internal communication helps employees do their jobs, develop a clear sense of the organisation's mission, and identify and react quickly to potential problem.
- It helps to maintain a healthy flow of information within organisation, effective communicators use both formal and informal channels.
Basic forms of communication -
- Nonverbal Communication - Nonverbal communication comprises of eye contact facial expression, Voice tone, body attitude, motions and positioning within members. It may also include the way we wear our clothes or the silence we keep.
- Verbal Communication- Verbal Communication is the another way of communicating people face to face and its components are word language, speaking and sound.
Levels of managers
The basis on which levels of managers can be differentiated are-
Impact of change on communication process -
According to Clampitt, Dekoch and Cashman (2000), "managers can communicate about anything but not about everything, so implicitly or explicitly, they make choice about communication context."
Process of Change
- Communication within an entrepreneurial start-up venture tends to be centralised, informal and face to face. The founding owner-managers have direct control over most aspects of the business and are able to keep in direct contact with small team of employees, and let them know the urgency of change.
- Due to change in information technology, the meetings can be virtual by creating virtual environment, even though they are not at same place.
- Particularly in larger companies like IBM, managers report to directions, who in turn report to top managers like VP then VP had meeting with top Executives and by any means of communication, inform about decision to the middle level managers which in turn if required the message by general announcement to employees.
There are many common things between different managers.
- All of them plan, organise, control and lead.
- All managers with different functional titles and different responsibilities spend tremendous amount of their time with public and employees speaking to them, listening their views, influencing, motivating them and attending meetings.
The soaring importance of time, money and competition gives birth to the requirement of change.
For example, If a manager have any information and consultation for example, say London works Council agreement or any other pre-existing agreement or where manager is legally required to inform and consult with employees on any matters, then any consulting and informing manager do must comply with terms of that agreement or other legal requirement.[c]
Steps involved in change and how it is managed within the levels-
Change Model -
The communication between these levels depends upon the change in situation, time valuation and market scenario.
Change in communication Between different levels
At managerial position there are mainly four levels.
The type of the information shared between different levels of employees and the input a company expects to get , depends on the size of the business, its nature as well as its structure, which is the main cause of rise in variety and change, in the ways of communication between managers & managers, managers & employee etc.
- Their decisions and unconscious act can affect the shape of communication networks. For example if a company merge or acquire any other company then the structure of the organisation will definitely going to change, the levels in the organisation will see the change and thus in turn the process of communication within the firm changes.
- They can communicate with selective members, rather than with all and vice versa, by providing authorisation to others to talk to them. For e.g. the VP of a company will consult, middle level managers directly and not to the employees.
- They can give priority to a particular channel for transferring certain kinds of information. E.g. by telephones, e-mails, video conferencing etc.
Some of the recent changes we can see in internal organisation are-
- Even the Chief Executives (whom we think that they might be insulated from other people and small worker, up there in executive cabin) reportedly spend about 75% of their time dealing directly with other people. The top executives want to know the requirements, the problems that the employees in his company are facing and try to solve them because if employees are happy then only they can work effectively.
- Top managers tend to spend most of their time in planning and setting goals.
- Middle managers playing key role between interaction of top managers and firstline managers, then convert the goals into specific projects for their subordinates to execute.
- First line managers that are supervisors, then concentrate on directing and controlling the employees who actually do the work on these projects.
Different components & supports, which can be used in internal communication.
Internal communication includes sharing of ideas and messages with superiors, workers and subordinates.
Component of change
Change in ways of internal communications.
Some of them are-
- Telephone - Telephone is the most frequently used source of communication, it is used in about 52% of the total sources.
- E-mail - Second is the email, comprising 30 % of the total supports. Due to the soaring use of the internet because of the speed and cost effectiveness, the internal communication is switching towards the electronic mail as whole of the documents and files can be sent to many employees at a time.
- Voice mail- If a manager or an employee is busy and not able to attend the calls then he or she can send or receive the voice mail after recording the message. This saves the time and also prevents the dropping of the message. Its share is about 22%.
- Interoffice mail- As the name suggests that it is the mail that travels within the office. The internal communication in big organisations mainly uses this kind of sources. About 18% of the sources is used in the form of interoffice mail.
- UPS mail - It also comprises of 18 %.
- Fax - Facsimile is used in internal organisation if one want to send hard copy directly like notices or bills etc. It covers 15 %.
- Post-it notes- Its share is 11%. It is only used by manager for giving notice or any announcement in general.
- Phone message slips - It is also known as SMS, it covers 10 % and it is used frequently used in organisation for sending short messages.
- Pager- It is out dated now having only 4 % of share.
- Overnight courier- The urgency of overnight courier (having 4% contribution) for sending parcels, is to ensure that the business survives and thrives.
- Cell Phone - It comprises of 3 percentages.
- USPS Express Mail - It also has very little share of 3 %.
The above data taken from Pitney Bones INC. which shows percentage of particular source is used in communication-(process and practice)
For most managers' everyday communication in form of writing consists of memos, letters and e-mails.
For the internal organisation the memo- that is memorandum is the most common form of communication. A memo may be just a paragraph or two, or it may run on several pages.
As the technology is advancing there are new several ways emerging for a manager to contact with his boss or employees.
He can communicate with the help of intranet for e.g., through mail, voice conferencing, video conferencing, general announcement through wireless transmission etc. But they all must adapt to these changes, they should know how to use them and also the security threat increases.
Following is the example of a company using new technology of communication and also explaining flow of communication[d]
The communication takes place in every organisation. The internal shareholders are the employees and workers. There are many forms of communication between them. Employees are working in various departments of the Vodafone organisation and have various roles to perform.
For them the key toll to promote better communication in a fast changing world is intranet.
Flow of communication in Vodafone-
- Vertically - Top Down approach, from senior to junior employees. The understanding of the employees regarding company's priorities, needs, and understanding, performance of tasks, is improved in great respect. Transparency and openness allows information to flow upwards and downwards too. Thus senior managers of the company can be in touch with the employees' concerns and ideas.
- Horizontally - across the organisation levels, departments and teams. Here each of the individuals carry out their roles efficiently, effectively and complete the tasks.
Tools for Internal communication in Vodafone -
In a fast-changing world the key tool to promote effective communication is an intranet. This is same as internet but in this area is restricted within employees of the organisation.
The ease of sending emails, text messages overload can be a problem. Vodafone prioritises message to its employees to make sure that they are received in a targeted and timely way through their phones, e-mails or any other media. Vodafone also uses a firewall to keep itself prevented from SPAM to safeguard employees.
Communication barriers that can prevail in internal communication/ obstacles that create misunderstanding -
- Perceptual and language difference- Even though two employee have experienced the identical event, their mental images of that event will not be same, so people of different ages, nationalities, cultures, education, occupation, sex, status and so on will have different perceptions. Differences in perception are often the main cause of many of the other barriers to communication.
- Restrictive environment - By the time message travels all the way whether it is growing down the level or up the chain, it may bear little resemblance to the original idea which can create misunderstanding.
- Distraction - Business messages can be interrupted or distorted by a wide variety of distraction whether instrumental or by natural effect, like there may be poor acoustics or it may be the case of poor connection.
- Deceptive tactics- Use of deceptive tactics to manipulate receivers blocks communication and finally leads to failure.
- Language differences - Language comes under formal communication. It is not possible that persons unknown to each other's language can communicate with each other effectively.
Communication barriers in internal communication can be overcomes by / overcoming interpersonal communication barriers -
A major part of successful communication is listening.
- Taking an audience centred approach - It means focusing on and caring about internal members of audience.
- Promote the growth of an open communication climate - Open communication in internal communication is very necessary that is there should be two way communications between members of different level. eg... Sainsbury, Tesco's etc. Executives, themselves got o the store and have communication with the staff, understanding their problems and listing their suggestions. This practice tends workers to think that this is their own company and work for its growth.
- Commit to ethical communication.
- Create clean efficient message.
Challenges while dealing with international team i.e. Globalisation and a culturally Diverse Workforce -
Globalisation is necessary because some organisations are less likely to survive the rigorous change; the economics of the world are at present experiencing as they are moribund and bound by the tradition of their parent country. One of the biggest problems in managing an organisation today is failing to adapt to the changing world.
While dealing with the international team following points comes into consideration -
Today, to compete on a global scale more and more businesses are crossing national boundaries.
Soaring globalisation and workforce multifariousness mean that employees as well as top level managers must understand the laws, customs and business practices of various nations and also they should be able to communicate with people who speak different languages.
The diversity of workforce and growth in international business dealings creates communication challenge. Today employee must communicate with people who speak English as a second language, some of the other languages are French and Spanish those are generally used.
In case of the mergers and acquisition of international teams, it might be possible that the structure of the organisation might get changed and also the ethics and culture of the organisation face alteration then it will be big challenge for the honchos as well as the staff to communicate with each other.
Recommendations for managers having to communicate in a context of change.
In the context of the change in the internal organisation, managers should create a shared sense of direction, establish priorities, reduce disorder and uncertainty and facilitate learning.
The managers should look into the PESTLE analysis of the company as it can be used examine the organisation environment and search for the manifest of change that might signal a problem or opportunity to expand.
The manager should shower practical information discuss details of project, so that they will feel informed and responsible and also give creative freedom to them, to explore the implication of the changing issues.
The CEO must provide facts to the shareholders of the company rather than giving impression i.e. should provide hard evidence.
The manager has some precise responsibilities; clearly state, why change, what is expected and what can you do for the audience.
Win heart and approval of others and offer recommendation i.e. to be efficacious, telling messages must show reader just how a product, service, or idea will benefit them specifically.
The managers should withhold the information until necessary. But when confronted by rumours managers should uphold the party line. (Clampitt, DeKoch and Cashman, 2000)
Interview with a professional.
- Profile -
- Interview Topic - Internal communication system
Director, Publisher Solutions, 24.7 Real Media, London
Q.1) Sir, what, according to you, is role of internal communication, in an organisation?
Ans.1) Internal communication has now become the major part of any company's system. It makes one feel, what his role in the company.
Q.2) What is the structure of internal communication in your company?
Ans.2) As far as structure is concerned, there is simple way of communication, in my company, that is in my case I have to talk to the employees and also to my MD, so every person according to the work has to communicate in his own way.
Q.3) What all problems do you face in the same, while dealing with your colleagues?
Ans.3) As such there is no problem that i face, but some time we have talks with our technical staff in USA, then at that time due the lot of technical stuff and variety of language creates little problem. Otherwise it is ok.
Q.4) One last question, what you suggest for the fore coming managers regarding internal communication.
Ans.4) I would only suggest that, be focused in work and improve your behaviour and also communication skill because it matters. Thank You
Thus, in the whole it is clear that internal communication plays a great role in an organisation, and the change in internal communication should be balanced by driving and restrained forces as successful change means a move forward to form a new equilibrium. Hence, this change, will promise the success of the organisation.
- http://www.iltanet.org/MainMenuCategory/Archives/ILTAManagementKnowledgebase/Communication/Communicating-Change-Effectively.aspx#298,27,It's Available Anytime, Anywhere