As a knowledge-based organization, effective processes and mechanisms to identify, measure, nurture, and sustain talent are vital to becoming an effective research and technology organization RTO.
Even small companies should consider developing at least a rudimentary plan for communicating both internally and externally. Typically, very small businesses spend no time thinking about how to communicate essential information to employees internaland stakeholders customers, suppliers, etc.
It need not be complicated, or even a formal process. This article establishes six steps for planning your communication, informal or formal. Like all functional areas of a company, the Communication Department plays a key role in helping an organization reach its objectives.
It makes an organization understandable; it emphasizes its differences; it prioritizes messages for its key audiences. Ultimately, Communications works to package and position an organization - to make sure its messages are clear, coherent and consistent only then, can stakeholders be most supportive.
This packaging and positioning takes the form of a Strategic Communication Plan. Whether it's focused on the organization in its entirety or its products or services, it addresses two important areas: Internal Communication and External Communication.
Internal communication is concerned with creating and promoting a positive, productive workforce. External communication is concerned with the messages directed to outside audiences, with a goal of increasing visibility, enhancing reputation, and influencing perception.
Following is a six-step process for developing such a plan.
Every organization, no matter its size, needs to go through these steps. It's important to start by taking the time to determine your mission -- the real communication concerns and opportunities for improvement.
Are stakeholders confused and can communication clarify the mystery? Have internal or external audiences been neglected?
Is this the year to increase awareness and ramp up media relations efforts? Conduct a Communication Audit If objective research isn't done, the plan won't be customer focused and will tend to be based on past experience, historical knowledge, or hearsay.
Look at existing communication tools and messages being sent. Talk with folks inside and outside your organization about their perception of the organization. Who does it make sense to emulate?
Package and Position Formalize your messaging. How will you talk about your organization so your internal and external audiences will understand what you do? What are the differential advantages you need to accentuate?
Make sure you create official corporate communication tools to ensure consistency, e. Map the Audiences Determine your audiences that need to be reached and lay out a plan to connect with them. Think about existing channels of communication and current messages.
Leverage what's already in place. The objective of a Communications Department isn't necessarily to create new communication tools or establish new channels, but rather to make communications more effective.
Plan for Improvement Determine how to measure success. What quantitative and qualitative data will demonstrate that your communication strategy is on track? Be sure to have a consistent, sustainable process for connecting with your audiences, measure it, and don't forget to link your results to your initial communication plan objectives.
Execute the Plan Create an implementation plan, work it, and stick with it! It's as simple and difficult as that. An important point to remember throughout the development of your plan is that it's not necessary to focus on all your stakeholder groups at once.
The best strategy is to target those that will have the most immediate and positive impact on your business, and those that are a source of specific concern. Do your employees have a thorough understanding of your mission so they can work productively toward your goal?
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