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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Strategic and Operational Communications

There are two main kinds of Internal/Employee Communications:
Strategic and Operational

Organizations communicate for ongoing business operations but they also need to communicate big changes, important updates and new approaches.

Organizations use strategic communications to communicate about:
  • a new agenda--a new focus on digital platforms for communicating internally instead of paper memos
  • a specific problem or issue to address--a need to tighten overtime rules to save money
  • a new approach to the work they do--how they interact with customers 
Example:
Company Inc. has to communicate with employees about the need to tighten the rules on overtime activities during a tough period. 
A strategy for this situation might recommend:
  • emphasizing life-work balance as a priority, during this tough time
  • encourage flexible work schedules, but urging employees not to work longer hours
  • focus on the temporary nature of the adjustment
  • remind employees that overtime is an added bonus, not a guarantee
Organizations use operational communications all the time to share critical information to their employees on a timely basis so they can do their jobs. This information might include:
  • directives/policies on how to interact with customers
  • cheatsheets or technical manuals on how to use the computer systems and software 
  • updates to standard health & safety training
  • materials that show the how-to basics of various aspects of their job

Timing is critical for both strategic and operational communications, though often operational communications tends to get the most attention due to the ongoing and pressing nature of doing the job and supporting customers.

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