Introduction by Kevin Ruck

My own beliefs about internal communication inevitably influence the structure and content of the book.

Firstly, I believe that internal communication is a critical management discipline that enables organisations to
be more successful. It is a primary enabler of employee engagement which is associated both with
organisational performance and employee well-being.

Secondly, I believe in taking an evidence-based approach to internal communication. This involves research,
analysis, reflection, objective setting and measurement.

Thirdly, I believe that internal communication is a management discipline in its own right. When it is positioned
solely as a sub-set of public relations, marketing or HR, it is marginalised and restricted to reactive tactics at
best. Although I acknowledge that it shares many similarities with other disciplines, it is also very different
because of the special considerations that apply to communication and engagement with employees.

Finally, I believe that best practice includes the facilitation of employee voice. If internal communication is
simply telling employees what senior managers think they should know, then it is a form of ‘distorted
communication’ or propaganda that disengages employees.

by Kevin Ruck

Towards Informed
Employee Voice

Research now indicates that keeping employees informed and providing them with a voice that is treated
seriously leads to higher levels of employee engagement.

Stakeholder model


A RADAR model of planning emphasizes research, assessment, decision-making, action and reviews.


of voice

There are six principles to get the advantages of clear communication - and each has specific techniques
to help you achieve your objectives: focus on the audience, set a clear goal, get the tone right, use words
that have a clear meaning, structure the communication to make your point, adapt to the medium.

Tone of voice

Internal Social Media

As social media tools become increasingly used inside organisations, the question is not which tool to use,
it is more how to ensure that employees value the opportunities provided.

Social media


Rather than diminish internal communication, the demand for change and greater employee engagement
makes it a more strategic, demanding and rewarding function. In many organisations, internal communication
has adopted the role title familiar in HR – ‘business partner’ - but what does this mean in practice and
how can it work?

The role

The role of the internal communication practitioner

In the final chapter of the book, Ann Pilkington reviews the changing nature of the role of the internal communication practitioner. This focuses on the importance of combining craft and managerial skills. It reviews the role of training and education and the development of internal communication as a profession.

Getting the language and tone right

Ellen Hake provides some great tips on writing and tone of voice. As practice moves towards a less formal style of communication, it is important to get the tone of voice right. Ellen sets out a framework for this, based on six steps; focus on the audience, set a clear goal, get the tone right, use words that have a clear meaning, structure the communication to make your point, and adapt to the medium.

Internal social media and intranets

The focus turns from planning and measurement processes to intranets and internal social media, two ‘hot topics’ for practice. Mark Morrell draws on his experience as the intranet manager at BT to provide a common sense guide to the management of your intranet as a great business tool. The chapter includes a section on implementing a governance framework and establishing publishing standards. Gloria Lombardi explores how internal social media is changing organisations and the way that internal communication is practised.

The chapter has sections on communities, co-creation, collaboration and knowledge sharing. It includes a number of examples of practice from the excellent simply-communicate archives at

Four steps to effective internal communication

In Part II of the book, our attention turns towards how we can develop effective internal communication practice. Laoise O’Murchu sets out four steps to successful internal communication.

The chapter includes an easy-to-use tool, an Organisational Communication Matrix, to measure and improve communication quality. I set out the basis for internal communication research that leads to measurable communication objectives. This chapter includes my new ICQ10 internal communication survey tool that enables practitioners to assess the most critical aspects of internal communication and organisational engagement.

Guy Bailey and James Harding provide a detailed case study of how to create an internal communication and engagement dashboard, based on pioneering work that they have initiated at the Home Office.

A critical and ethical approach to internal communication

In Chapter nine, the final chapter in Part I, an alternative, critical, approach to internal communication is explored. This chapter may be challenging reading for practitioners as it forces us to reflect deeply about our role and the ethics of internal communication.

Storytelling and dialogue

As chapter 7 author, Laoise O’Murchu, says, ‘Too often, executive communication gets lost in verbal rhetoric; company speak, lingo and jargon. Jargon and buzzwords often go right over the heads of employees.’ Laoise emphasises a move away from facts and figures to the use of emotion in internal communication through stories that are told by leaders.

Building on story telling in Chapter 8, Nigel de Bussy and Lokweetpun Suprawan discuss dialogue. As the authors explain, ‘Real dialogue emphasises listening rather than talking, having “positive regard” for the other person, and a willingness to change one’s own position.’ This chapter includes analysis of research conducted in Australia that shows that an employee orientation makes a strong contribution to corporate financial performance and its impact is greater than that of orientation towards any other individual primary stakeholder group, including shareholders, customers, suppliers, the community and the natural environment.

Communicating change

Paul Harrison examines how managers can lead employees through change and how resistance to change can be addressed. The chapter culminates with an analysis of the information that employees require in times of change.

Employee engagement and voice

Chapters 3, 4 and 5 are focused on the association between internal communication and employee engagement. In Chapter 3, Mary Welch charts the evolution of employee engagement and emphasises taking an employee-centric approach to practice. In Chapter 4, I review the state of internal communication practice in the UK and relate it to the four enablers of employee engagement set out in the MacLeod and Clarke report in 2009. Chapter 5 is focused on two enablers of engagement; keeping employees informed (strategic narrative) and employee voice. I set out the argument for making these aspects of internal communication the two primary principles for effective practice, forming a new concept; informed employee voice.

Organisational culture

In Chapter 2, Donna McAleese outlines the importance of organisational culture for internal communication practice. The chapter explores typologies of organisational culture, levels of culture and frameworks for culture change. It includes an in-depth discussion of Schein’s life cycle model and culture as a management tool.

Tracking the rise and rise of internal communication

The book starts with a brand new chapter on the history of internal communication. In our research we uncovered many interesting facts about the evolution of internal communication including an 1840 example of an employee newspaper that was written by employees for employees. However, this early trend of employee involvement soon disappeared, ‘industrial editors’ took over and this was the basis for most internal communication practice right up to the 1980s.

Chapter 17
Chapter 16
Chapter 14-15
Chapter 10-13
Chapter 9
Chapter 7-8
Chapter 6
Chapter 3-5
Chapter 2
Chapter 1
Edited by Kevin Ruck

This is a completely revised and extended third edition of the book. It is a collaborative project, involving 14 contributors who are academics and practitioners. What unites us is a belief in the value of internal communication which has, for far too long, been a neglected discipline.

It has been written for internal communication practitioners and students who are interested in developing a career that is based on academic thinking that makes practice more strategic and effective. The book also provides practitioners and students from different backgrounds, such as Media Relations, Public Affairs, Crisis Communication, Social and Digital Communication, HR and Marketing, with a dedicated perspective on internal communication.

The book is divided into two sections; Part I on internal communication theory and Part II on research, planning and measurement. The style of writing in Part I is academic, reflecting the importance of drawing upon established academic thinking for theory. The style of writing in Part II is less academic and more practical. The book is therefore structured in a way that stresses the importance of a theoretical underpinning for practice. This is important if internal communication is to become a more recognised professional discipline. It is not a book that focuses on tactics, other books already do this. Instead, it emphasises research and thoughtful planning before tactics are selected