When we talk about public relations, people usually think about it almost exclusively in an external capacity, i.e. looking to create a positive image of your company or organisation in the eyes of people and bodies outside of your institution.
That’s understandable, I mean…it has the word ‘public’ in it, after all.
But when we talk about public relations, or even communications generally, we mustn’t forget the vital role internal PR plays in helping organisations achieve their wider goals.
So, for anyone that isn’t too familiar with the role of an internal PR professional, I thought I’d give you a crash course in what exactly these individuals do, and why they’re so important.
Well, let me start by making it crystal clear what PR more generally is all about
Public relations is widely considered to be the practice of determining an organisation’s public reputation and brand image, through actively seeking to shape the information that is shared with the outside world.
It encapsulates smaller, more niche fields like ‘media relations’.
PR is all about creating a positive relationship between an organisation and its wide array of stakeholders, whether they’re inside or outside of the company, government or university.
This is often achieved through effective and wide-reaching brand and media campaigns, in which an organisation will look to emphasise its strengths and what separates it from its competitors.
Through the effective use of PR and communications, your establishment can cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with its key stakeholders, bringing with it significant benefits.
So now we’re all clear what exactly PR is, what do internal PRs do?
Just as external PRs look to shape their company’s image as a positive one in the eyes of external stakeholders – such as customers, shareholders, and the wider public as a whole – internal PRs look to create a positive view of their organisation from the perspective of employees.
This is crucial to the success of your institution, irrespective of what service it provides. Creating a healthy and successful relationship between regular colleagues and C-suite executives, must be a key component of any organisation’s business model.
“But, why?” I hear you ask. Well…
First and foremost, colleagues who have a positive image of the company they work for, are more likely to have better morale when it comes to working than those who don’t view their institution in the same light.
This is really important as, ultimately, a happy employee is a productive employee.
This, therefore, is one of the key roles an internal PR professional has: to do what they can to bolster morale by creating a positive view of their organisation.
A sure way in which internal PR can bolster morale is through keeping employees in the loop about company achievements and successes.
If your organisation has had a great year, let your colleagues know about it. Make them aware of what you, as a team, have achieved.
Alongside this, internal PRs should be ensuring that individual employee achievements aren’t going unnoticed.
Whether it’s a shout out for a ‘time served’ achievement, or letting the rest of the company know about someone who’s been named employee of the month, you as an internal PR professional need to ensure that colleagues are aware that your organisation appreciates everything they do, and all that they’ve achieved.
Morale is key to the success of any organisation. So it’s key that internal PRs do what they can to boost colleague moods wherever they can!
Creating a two-way communication stream
Internal PRs are fundamental in creating an ongoing dialogue between those in C-suite positions, and the wider organisation as a whole, helping to communicate company updates, goals and changes.
However, one thing people seem to forget about this dialogue, is that goes both ways. Just as you want to make sure that internal audiences are aware of these company updates, they too want to be heard.
Establishing an effective two-way communications stream ensures that corporate departments are able to share key information with the wider organisation, and keep abreast of wider internal public opinion towards company initiatives.
Whether it’s through anonymous feedback forms or colleague questionnaires, offering employees a means of communicating their view to the decision-makers of the organisation is not only a great way of gauging internal public opinion, but also a sure way of boosting colleague morale.
It ensures that these colleagues really do feel as though they, and their views, are valued by the company. Which, of course, they are!
Aside from boosting morale, and creating avenues for cross-company dialogue, internal PRs are also there to help communicate fundamental information, particularly in times of change or uncertainty.
They provide a key role in ensuring that everyone in the business is aware of any upcoming changes and how it could affect them.
There’s nothing worse than an employee finding out about a major change from an external source i.e. the newspapers have picked up this information before that actual employee has.
So, internal PRs have the important job of communicating major changes to colleagues, presenting this information in a way that is both informative, yet as positive as possible about the business as a whole.
Ensuring that you keep the wider workforce in the loop around key business moves is fundamental as, once again, it reinforces the idea that you value them, their opinion, and their support.
Internal PR plays a crucial role in shaping the relationship colleagues have with the company as a whole. They act as resident cheerleaders for company and colleague achievements; creators of dialogue between the C-suite and the wider workforce; and they play a major role in keeping the organisation as a whole informed during periods of major change.
They’re key to the success of any organisation, and arguably don’t get the credit they deserve.