When you think about public relations, you probably almost immediately think about the work that a company does to present itself in a favorable light with customers, stakeholders and the general public. However, there is a branch of public relations that doesn’t get as much attention but is equally as important: internal public relations.
The importance of internal communication in business cannot be understated – it ensures that your most valuable stakeholders, your employees, are kept informed and information is presented in a way that makes them excited about and engaged with the company.
Table of contents
What is internal public relations?
Internal public relations is a sphere of internal communications. What is internal communication? On the whole, internal communications covers the way that information is delivered within a company, from top to bottom, from bottom to top and among different teams and departments. The information can be about positive initiatives or could also be about bad news.
Within the internal communications spectrum, internal public relations is mostly concerned with accentuating the positive – or trying to ensure negative issues are presented in the most positive way possible.
Why is internal public relations important?
There are many positive reasons to incorporate an internal public relations strategy into your overall internal communications planning. Treating your internal audience as valued stakeholders can help to establish trust, enhance employee engagement levels, while also improving knowledge sharing so that employees are better informed.
A strong internal public relations program helps to enhance your external public relations efforts. If the “face” your company puts on for the public isn’t the same as the one its employees experience, it can make employees mistrustful, cynical and affect morale. And in today’s climate where disaffected employees can expose the reality of life at the company on social media, it can actually lead to a public relations headache if you treat your internal audience differently.
Internal public relations helps you to establish your internal brand and engage in authentic, meaningful communications with your employees. This will help them feel motivated, and can even assist to turn them into brand ambassadors for your company. This includes recommending your company as a great place to work, increasing loyalty and retention, and promoting the company’s products and services willingly to people that they know.
Your guide to internal public relations
Unfortunately, many organizations fail to account for internal public relations at all, even if they have excellent external public relations. The good news is, that if you don’t already have an internal public relations strategy in place, it is relatively easy to implement one. This guide can help you to deliver effective internal public relations in your organization:
1. Understand when you need internal public relations
There are some circumstances where you need to undertake internal public relations campaigns in order to keep employees informed. Common scenarios for this type of internal communication in organizations include:
- When the organization is in the news externally for good or bad reasons. Where possible you should be on the front foot communicating with employees to avoid rumors and misinformation as well as preventing anger that they had to learn about something affecting their workplace from an outside source.
- When there are major projects or initiatives that you want your employees to understand and support.
- When you are going through a major change initiative – you need to get the buy-in from employees and communicate it well so that it does not fail.
- When you want to recognize success – whether that is at a company, team or individual level.
- To promote internal events.
- To promote training and other career development opportunities.
- As part of the onboarding process when new employees are being welcomed to the organization.
2. Communicate well
When you need to communicate important information it is crucial that you do it appropriately so that the message isn’t lost. This includes:
- Communicating concisely and clearly
- Always be truthful
- Ensure that information is communicated in a timely manner
- Use a range of internal communication tools to ensure your information is received
3. Reinforce your internal branding
Your internal branding campaign isn’t just the colors, logos and graphic design that you use in your internal public relations efforts: it's also about being true to your company values, vision, mission and goals. Your internal public relations should always aim to reflect these things.
4. Help build internal relationships
When you’re responsible for internal public relations, you’re uniquely placed to develop relationships with key people across your organization. When you establish buy-in from the executive team you can also get support for internal public relations initiatives.
5. Develop a long term strategy and goals
Internal public relations shouldn’t be a quick fix to any company issues: you need to play the long game. This means it is important to develop an appropriate internal public relations strategy and long-term goals that align with the company’s overall goals.
6. Measure your actions
It’s important to define what the criteria will be for measuring your successes and how to evaluate the results against these criteria. This will help you to determine where you can improve on an ongoing basis.
7. Use internal communications software like DeskAlerts
DeskAlerts is an internal communications software system that is perfect for use in internal public relations activities. The system is installed on company computers, digital screens and employee mobile devices and allows you to quickly communicate with everyone at once, no matter where they are or what they are doing.
DeskAlerts features different communication channels that can boost the effectiveness of internal communication activities:
- Pop-up alerts that are designed to cut through the electronic noise to reach employees in real time, to deliver important information. Messages can’t be skipped or ignored, unlike email.
- Scrolling desktop tickers – a narrow band of text that scrolls across the screen and can be used to deliver headlines and links to further information.
- Corporate screensavers and wallpapers that can contain your branding and provide messaging in a colorful and engaging way.
- Digital signage that will turn any digital screen in your organization into an electronic billboard, and can be used to promote any internal public relations initiatives in a creative and eye-catching way.
Internal public relations is important for successful businesses to communicate with their employees, keeping them well-informed and engaged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are good public relations (PR) so important?
Public relations is important to build on your company’s marketing strategies and to ensure that you send the right messages, to the right people at the right time. It helps to strengthen the reputation of your brand and contributes heavily to the overall success of the organization.
Why is internal public relations important?
Internal public relations has an important role to play in the success of a company. When communication is ineffective, employees are not unified and working well together to achieve goals. Mistakes can be made, productivity and profitability lowered, and it can also result in employees who are disengaged, unmotivated and unhappy.
What is internal public relations?
Internal public relations refers to the promotional communication that takes place within an organization. It is designed to ensure that your employees love working for your company, and are happy and engaged.
What are the top three benefits of having an internal communications department?
The top three benefits to having an internal communications department in your organization are:
- The ability to respond quickly to any emergencies, problems or issues.
- The ability to ensure that you have better informed employees who understand what is expected of them in contributing to the company’s goals and successes.
- More highly engaged employees who are likely to be more productive, profitable and likely to keep working for your company into the future.