The importance of internal communication in organisational culture

About the author

Kevin is a co-founder of PR Academy and is the author of Exploring Internal Communication published by Routledge. Kevin leads the CIPR Internal Communication Diploma course. PhD, MBA, BA Hons, PGCE, FCIPR, CMgr, MCMI.

The critical importance of internal communication was evident from the discussions about culture following the report on failures at the Mid Staffordshire hospital.

As Richard Vize says in his Guardian article, “The shocking treatment of NHS whistleblowers is totemic of the culture of conformity, secrecy and suppression which leads to scandals such as Mid Staffordshire.”

Internal communication has a fundamental role to play to ensure that employees know what is going on and, at the same time, have a say about what important matters that is treated seriously. It is fair to say that most of the time internal communication succeeds in providing information reasonably well, albeit to varying degrees in different organisations.

The responsibility to ensure that employee voice is also facilitated is more challenging.  However, unless this more sensitive aspect of internal communication is championed more by practitioners we are not fulfilling a wider responsibility that we have to employees. To paraphrase the late great Bill Shankly, “Some people believe internal communication is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”