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Mastering Internal Communication: Connect Your Mission and Manpower
CONNECT YOUR MISSION
DON’T LET THIS
HAPPEN TO YOU!
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 2
Effective Communicators Increase Profit
The Problem with Paper
8 Part One
Policy Updates: Managing Change in the Workplace
15 Part Two
Onboarding: Retaining Your Talent
23 Part Three
Management Communication: Strategic Outcomes and Outputs
37 Try Ving!
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 3
Managing your human capital. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. And
that someone is probably you.
To excel at human resource management, it helps to have the best tools at your
fingertips to produce the best possible results.
And the results you want are these: turning your employees into effective com-
municators that increase your bottom line. These two elements—effective
communicators and company profits—are directly related.
Unfortunately, many companies still have not embraced communication tech-
nologies and automated office innovations to streamline internal communica-
tion procedures and improve employee engagement.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 4
For example, the traditional “hierarchy” model of communication in which in-
formation trickles down from top management to front-line workers is fraught
with problems. Slow distribution, misplaced data, and lost information are
So why is efficient internal communication so crucial? Check out this fact
from Edelman Insights: Comprehending Change 3.0:
Companies with effective communicators achieved 47% higher total
returns to shareholders over the last five years compared to firms
judged to have less effective communications.
Bottom line? Mastering internal communication means creating effec-
tive communicators, which, in turn, increases your company’s profits.
Ready to revamp your HR department’s internal communications? Let’s get
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 5
Shocking Statistics about Paper
Clinging to paper-based HR procedures cre-
ates a big money pit.
Going Paperless Saves Time and Hassle
(larsonallen.com) highlights the money-
draining inefficiencies of paper:
► 7.5% of documents are lost; the remain-
ing 3% are misfiled.
► Average labor costs spent by organiza-
tions: $20 to file a document, $120 to find
a misfiled document, $200 to reproduce a lost document
► Average cost to manually process a single invoice: $24
► Workers spend 5-15% of their time reading information but up to 50% of their time try-
ing to locate it.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 6
We can all relate to the frustration of losing papers, misfiling documents, and
trying to remember where in the world we put that important letter. But, do we
realize just how much these little frustrations cost our companies?
Just as the horse-drawn carriage was replaced by the automobile, the tradi-
tional method of communication is now outdated and inefficient because of
today’s 24/7 technological access.
Employees now expect frequent and timely updates about workplace changes.
They want to know how those situations will affect them. They need access to
all the information necessary to perform their jobs well, which also helps them
“buy in” to the company’s mission and goals.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 7
Just one strategy—improving internal communication with technology—
will help your organization to:
►► increase efficiency,
►► boost productivity,
►► generate more profit,
►► save resources,
►► enhance communication,
►► and streamline information distribution!
This eBook will help you to master internal communication with tech-
nology in three areas: policy updates, onboarding, and management
communication, crucial issues in every HR department.
As you harness technology to master internal communication, you will
create engaged, empowered, and well-informed employees. And these
kinds of employees are the best way to increase your bottom line!
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 8
Managing Change in the Workplace
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 9
Communications is a strategic function, and that change only
works when it is aligned with employee understanding, actions,
rewards and recognition.
It’s about perspective and behavior, which is neither a process
nor a destination.
It’s about engagement, rather than sheer information dissemi-
~ Edelman Insights, Comprehending Change 3.0
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 10
A Tough Job
HR departments have a lot to do.
They create workplace structures
and implement programs to help
increase employee motivation
and productivity; factor compli-
ance sessions and seminars into
the company’s time, budget, and employees’ development; help craft employee benefit
policies; and keep records of employees’ hiring and termination dates.
As if that’s not enough, HR professionals are often responsible for managing and com-
municating workplace policy updates, notifications, and changes. And these changes
often create feelings of fear, anxiety, and resistance in the majority of employees.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 11
According to a survey of HR professionals on change management (conducted by the SHRM),
the top three obstacles faced during major organizational changes are:
►► employee resistance (76%)
►► communication breakdown (72%)
►► insufficient time devoted to training (44%)
In Change management: the role of inter-
nal communication..., Tony Proctor and Io-
anna Doukakis reveal why employees resist
►► fear of the unknown
►► lack of information
►► threats to status
►► fear of failure
►► lack of perceived benefits
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 12
Edelman Insights: Comprehending Change 3.0 points out that “today’s work-
force—comprised of more millennials than Baby Boomers—demands trans-
parency, openness, involvement, and context to accept decisions.”
Insights also emphasizes that “In order to engage employees—particularly
talent—and make change a “real” thing, we must optimize new tech-
nologies and embrace greater openness to involve our people through
emotional as well as intellectual appeals . . .
. . . This highly emotional response requires us to rethink how we inter-
act, manage, and communicate with our people, and even more impor-
tantly, how we engage them throughout the journey.”
Whether your workforce is comprised of a majority of millenials or Baby Boom-
ers, it’s clear that harnessing new technologies eases the process of change
for everyone, especially yourself!
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 13
So what does “rethinking our communication strategies” really look like?
After revealing the problems resulting from their study of an organization’s
poor communication management, Proctor and Doukakis discuss a few
techniques to combat the “organizational malaise” and negative feelings of
►► Wherever possible, and by using technology, short cut the distribu-
tion of information through middle managers and make it directly
available to frontline workers.
►► Involve employees in the change process early, consult with them,
and help them own the new ideas for themselves.
►► Trust, empowerment, and effective communication are the keys to
successful internal marketing.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 14
Communication is the spear-
head of ensuring that successful
change can take place. It helps to
overcome ambiguity and uncer-
tainty and provides information
and power to those who are the
subject of change.
~ Proctor and Doukakis
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 15
Retaining Your Talent
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 16
In the long run, inefficient communication procedures produce
more than just a few little frustrations, including increased
costs, higher turnover, and slower start times.
~ Going Paperless Saves Time and Hassle
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 17
Will They Stay?
You spent months recruting candidates, trying to
find the best person to fit the position. It was a lot
of work, but you finally found someone great and
made them an offer.
They accepted the job, but, unfortunately, that
doesn’t mean they’ve decided to stay.
The Aberdeen Group (Onboarding Benchmark Re-
port: Technology Drivers Help Improve the New Hire Experience) reports that although
90% of companies believe that employees decide whether or not to stay during the
first six months, many refuse to realize the impact of onboarding on retention rates.
Onboarding. It’s more important than you thought. But why?
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 18
It all comes back to too much paper.
Reliance on paper-based onboarding practices
results in the following troubles:
► increased costs
► decreased time to productivity
► generating a bad first impression that
negatively affects the company brand
Many employees would rather quit early than wait around to see if things get any better.
Those who do choose to stick it out may cause damage to the company image due to their
However, new hires quitting is not an unfamiliar problem. A recent survey conducted by
the SHRM reports that one of the top three challenges facing HR professionals in the
next ten years is retaining and rewarding the best employees.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 19
Aberdeen’s report states that automated and web-based solutions allow effi-
cient management of the following three components essential for every new
►► forms management
►► tasks management
►► employee socialization in the company culture
In other words, adopting an electronic solution that automates the com-
pletion of forms both before a candidate starts and on their first day can
reduce inefficiency, costs, and extra time associated with paper-based
form completion. (Aberdeen Group)
Because a company’s onboarding process is a key factor in retention, more
companies and HR professionals would do well to take a look at their current
internal communication practices and streamline them with technology.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 20
Put it in the cloud.
By eliminating paper-based and spreadsheet pro-
cedures and considering web-based technology
solutions, companies propel themselves towards
reducing costs and turnover and creating faster start times.
“An automated solution,” says Aberdeen, “can help pull information from an exist-
ing . . . system, notify the necessary departments, and provide the new hire with
information about forms management, tasks management and socialization.”
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 21
More How-to Solutions
Another solution is trusting your employees to “serve themselves.”
Overcoming Top Myths in HR (allthingsworkplace.com) emphasizes
the technological capabilities of employees:
“Self-service HR has become so invaluable that a September 2006
Forrester Research report termed it ‘an essential core applica-
tion’ for businesses.
The report pointed to the ability of Human Resource Management
Systems (HRMS) to help manage personnel costs, operate effi-
cient business processes, comply with regulations and manage
legal exposures, and optimize the value of human capital.”
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 22
Automated solutions can help
companies address pressures
to improve retention rates,
improve time to productiv-
ity, and improve the company
~ Aberdeen Report
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 23
Strategic Outcomes and Outputs
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 24
. . . The majority of internal communication remains dominat-
ed by technical, journalistic-like skills, such as producing slick
employee newsletters instead of concentrating on developing
relationships with employees and strategically planning the
objectives of internal communication.
~ Laoise O’Murchu
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 25
Making It Virtual
If internal communication is the foundation of em-
ployee engagement, then technology is the glue
that connects all of the pieces of your organiza-
Technological communication methods keep ev-
eryone on the same page no matter where they
are or what assignments are on their plates.
This type of “virtual management” is ideal for the following areas:
►► Companies with a geographically dispersed workforce (i.e. sales reps)
►► Collaborative meeting preparation and follow-up
►► Employee mentorship and performance coaching
►► Multi-project management
►► Compliance training updates
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 26
A Closer Look
Let’s take a closer look at one management issue that would definitely benefit from
electronic solutions: compliance training.
Many industries, particularly food service and healthcare, face heavy regulations and
require frequent training on the latest updates and procedures to comply with new
rules. Failing to comply with these new rules can result in terrible consequences and/
or penalties for employees, their clients, and the organization itself.
The Evolution of Human Resource Management, a SHRM article by Reed and Gus-
dorf, discusses the future of ongoing compliance training:
Overall, employment regulation will continue, from revised I-9 forms to new in-
terpretations of the ADA and FMLA. HR must maintain appropriate compliance
and ensure that staff is trained to meet regulatory requirements.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 27
Still wavering about whether or not to go electronic? Check out this list that
shows even more of the systems where technology helps human resource
►► Systems for e-recruitment
►► Online short-listing of applicants
►► Psychometric training
►► Payroll systems
►► Employment data
►► Recruitment administration
►► Pre-employment checks
►► Development of online training strategies
These Areas, Too!
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 28
Of course, this type of “virtual management” doesn’t just happen. It must be strategic.
In Biting the hand that starves us: Internal Communicators who fail to talk the facts and
figures language of the corporate suite or C-suite, Laoise O’Murchu discusses strategy
development. The companies she studied were unable to pintpoint specific, measurable
benefits from their internal communication goals
She discovered that none of the companies’ objectives for their commu-
nication activities were SMART, an acronym for five strategic elements:
Specfic • Measurable • Achievable • Realistic • Timed
Without SMART objectives, says O’Murchu, positive changes and ben-
efits from internal communication activities cannot be gathered or mea-
sured. Vague goals produce uncertain results; strategic goals produce
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 29
Lest we forget why it’s so crucial to have strategic internal communications that
create effective communicators, let us take a moment to remember the reason.
Employee engagement is the key to increasing your company’s profit.
This is a good motto to have whenever you feel overwhelmed while planning a
revamp of your department’s communication procedures. Need another statistic?
A study conducted by ISR (a Chicago-based HR research and consulting firm) of
more than 600,000 employees from seventy-one global companies revealed that
employee engagement significantly impacts the financial bottom line.
During the study period, high-engagement companies improved 19.2%
while low-engagement companies declined 32.7% in operating income.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 30
The best communication, O’Murchu emphasizes, has both the sender and
the recipient exchanging information to increase understanding on both
sides by creating and sharing meaning.
Meaningful, two-way communication. Outcomes vs. outputs. Instead of just
producing cool newsletters, we should start gathering feedback from our
staff and engaging their help in planning the company’s goals.
We can start focusing on our communication outcomes rather than just our
outputs by asking the following questions, suggests O’Murchu:
►► How can we demonstrate that the communication tools are
contributing to the organization’s strategic objectives?
►► How can we quantify the value of the communication tools?
►► What impact are our communication activities having on
the organization’s bottom line?
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 31
Internal Communication, Information Satisfaction and Sense of Community:
the Effect of Personal Influence by White, Vanc, and Stafford emphasizes that
strategically cultivating internal communication produces a number of positive
results, both internal and external:
“The competitive advantage of strategic internal communication comes
not only from the obvious benefits of employee satisfaction and produc-
tivity, but also from the positive contributions that well-informed em-
ployees can make to a company’s external public relations efforts.”
Your employees are your best ambassadors and PR representatives about
your company and its products and/or services. Make sure your “internal mar-
keting” gets just as much attention as your external public relations efforts.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 32
“Internal communication is not a one-
way information dump. It’s critical to
capture feedback and to ‘involve and
consult’ your employees rather than
‘tell and sell.’”
~ Dennis Rutzou
The Poor Relation of External Comms
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 33
The Bottom Line
The key to mastering internal communication is connecting your
mission to your manpower with technological solutions.
Paper-based procedures reduce efficiency, decrease profits,
and increase employee turnover. Technological solutions boost
efficiency, reduce costs, and offer the convenience of “virtual
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 34
Mastering internal communication is not only possible but
crucial to the success and profitability of your organization.
Effective communicators increase profits. Engaged employ-
ees improve your bottom line.
As you consider revamping your HR department’s internal
communications, keep the following tips in mind:
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 35
Effective communicators achieve more ROI.
Paper-based procedures reduce efficiency
and increase costs.
Automated solutions improve retention
rates and productivity.
Internal communication objectives must
be strategic and SMART.
Two-way communication is the best choice.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 36
Frequently, HR managers can accomplish more and further
prove their worth to the company by relying more heavily on em-
ployees and technology that can help them to focus on the most
~ Overcoming Top Myths in HR
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 37
Ving is an all-in-one communication tool
that ensures your most important messages
are read, understood, and acted on.
With Ving, you create and share multi-media
messages that capture real-time recipient
interactions viewable on the engagement
HR professionals use Ving to:
►► Communicate policy updates
►► Streamline onboarding procedures
►► Improve management
Get started now.
Try Ving for free!
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 38
About the Author & Designer
Rebecca Whittenberger is an eleven-year veteran of
working in non-profit organizations and academic institu-
tions. She served as curator of education and education
consultant for the Mahoning Valley Historical Society for
six years and is currently a communications specialist in
marketing and public relations at Ving.
“Mastering Internal Communication” by Rebecca Whittenberger 39
►► Aberdeen Group, “Onboarding Benchmark Report: Technology Drivers Help Improve the New Hire Experience.”
►► “Biting the hand that starves us: Internal Communicators who fail to talk the facts and figures language of the cor-
porate suite or C-suite” by Laoise O’Murchu.
►► “Change management: the role of internal communication and employee development” by Tony Proctor and Io-
anna Doukakis. Corporate Communications; 2003; 8, 4; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 268.
►► Dennis Rutzou, Public Relations Internal Communications, “The poor relation of external comms.” http://www.drpr.
►► Edelman Insights: Comprehending Change 3.0: Edelman Change and Employee Engagement (slide show).
►► “Internal Communication, Information Satisfaction and Sense of Community: The Effect of Personal Influence” by
White, Vanc, and Stafford.
►► “Overcoming Top Myths In HR” http://www.allthingsworkplace.com/2010/03/overcoming-top-myths-in-hr.html
(“HR’s role: strategic and/or tactical”).
►► Society for Human Resource Management, “The Evolution of Human Resource Management” by Sandy Reed,
SPHR and Myrna L. Gusdorf, MBA, SPHR.
►► Society for Human Resource Management, “Challenges Facing HR Over the Next Ten Years,” 2012.
►► Society for Human Resource Management, 2007 Change Management Survey Report.