on... Internal Communications: Busting Silos

No matter how up-beat, attractive and engaging your external communications are, if no-one communicates internally, your organisation will fail:

·       It will fail to deliver on the implied or explicit promises of the marketing and external comms;

·       It will fail to justify the money and effort ploughed into the brand: it will ‘not be doing what it says on the tin’

·       It will fail to deliver good, responsive service to customers;

·       It will fail to deliver a happy and productive working environment which will motivate, engage, fully utilise the skills of, and retain the best employees.

So, poor internal communication is shockingly expensive and resource inefficient:

·       Best practice will not be shared between departments (‘silos’), so training budgets will be soaked up by a few individuals sitting in one corner or another.

·       Intelligence and data will not be shared freely and the consequent gaps and duplications will damage operations and customer response.

·       A competent, talent-spotting HR department will quickly become frustrated. Lively and costly recruits will be ground down by the rivalries and frictions between sections and leave, or sink down to the common level of torpor and indifference.

·       Even a decisive senior executive team will see the time and comprehension gap between policy making and     implementation widen.                                            

To quote myself:

The John Lewis Partnership is not only a successful retail company but the world's largest industrial democracy with 80,000+ employees spread over hundreds of sites. As such it has very extensive and sophisticated internal communications and change management mechanisms.
As Head of Press & PR, I would host visits from academics and foreign business and government delegations to explain how a philosophy of open engagement, consultation and communication with internal stakeholders had very practical outcomes: the JLP has the lowest 'wastage' (internal theft rate) of any comparable retail company. Although the JLP is highly managed it believes in
'management in a goldfish bowl'. Managers are expected to manage but must do so in the full knowledge that they will be held accountable for their decisions (through anonymous published correspondence and a requirement to answer to a number of democratically elected bodies). One can impose a new policy overnight but then have a long and rocky period of pushing and persuasion to secure successful implementation.
Alternatively, in the JLP manner, one can put effort up-front into informing, justifying and explaining the rationale for the new policy and… implementation goes like clockwork.


Just as with the external variety, internal communications are not ends in themselves. 

Whatever the medium (digital, print, social and interactive) they have one aim – to develop relationships and build trust, in order to foster a sense of common purpose to deliver exceptional service to customers and all stakeholders.

Contact FFN for...

For practical, business-enhancing solutions

T: 020 7101 3692
E: ME@ffnconsulting.co.uk