bobbie smith

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author, message master, strategist, speaker, artist (ink), social media & arts promoter

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The "C" Word

In the Communications field, the "C" word can mean numerous things.
In Internal or Employee Communications, we often refer to big "C" and little "c" communications.

Big "C" Communications tends to include official communications tactics and products that get everyone's attention in an organization: posters, banners, advertising, website splash pages, e-newsletters, town halls and major 'memos', to name a few.

Little "c" communications tends to be the internal, day-to-day business communications in a workplace about doing the work itself such messages about new procedures, processes, policies and plans, also internal emails, operational and tactical messages.

The "C" word that is missing from this discussion is Culture. These are the ideas and messages that Culture communicates:

How people behave in their workplace. 
What the culture tolerates as appropriate or inappropriate behaviour. For example, what goes unnoticed versus what gets attention
  • If people tend to hunt and peck on their keyboards in quiet cubicles and only look up if someone makes a noise, that's quite a different environment from a boisterous and collaborative culture which encourages dynamic behaviour.
  • If subtle sexism is tolerated, that gives men and women social cues on how to respond and what they are willing to tolerate if they stay in the culture.
  • Is the workplace a flex-schedule/telecommute-friendly environment where it's acceptable to work from home and/or work late hours one day and come in a little later the next? Or is it a 'you-must-physically-be-here' to be working, kind of culture?
There are many shades of grey in the culture of an organization and it does take time and effort to shift the negatives toward the positives; either way, any communicator who ignores culture will likely be ineffective, no matter how good their writing and strategies are.

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