Clear leadership, clarity of message and proper dialogue are the main focus for internal communications specialists, according to new research by a Midland agency.
Top Banana, based in Stourbridge, polled 120 communication directors, internal communication managers and senior communication advisers. It found internal communication budgets are being slashed in the recession, in some cases by up to 75 per cent.
Organisations across all sectors are reviewing their spending on big events, recognition programmes and the traditional annual conferences designed to explain business strategy.
But Top Banana’s research found that communication executives still understood the need to avoid keeping employees in a communication vacuum when the company enters difficulties.
The business found communications professionals are focused on thoughtful communication, with leadership development and employee engagement as the top two priorities for 2009.
Top Banana managing director Nick Terry said: “Against the current backdrop of economic certainty where employees are worried about their jobs, people are looking for clear and strong leadership; they want certainty and decisive action.
“Ultimately, they want a strong leader they can believe in who will take them through the recession and out at the other side. But they also want to input their own thoughts and ideas and be part of the team that builds the recovery.
“One of our clients, which is an international business with a multi-billion pound turnover, is expecting to achieve an annual saving of about £2million this year, having adopted exactly this approach to its internal communication strategy. ‘‘
Traditionally, the business ran a glitzy annual event in which the leader informed employees of their goals and the strategy for achieving them.
Mr Terry said: “This time, though, the leader exhibited the same strategic certainty, giving employees confidence for the future but then went on to engage individually with employees to hear their thoughts and ideas.
“By bringing together the top three priorities of good communicat ions – clear leadership, clarity of message and proper dialogue – in this way, he has got his communication strategy right and is reaping the rewards.”