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Internal communication and public sector service delivery

Simon Wakeman asked me some searching questions recently about internal communication and public sector service delivery. This is really going to be important with the forthcoming government spending cuts.

The first question of the interview is repeated here. The full interview is on Simon’s blog.

Simon: So Kevin, what are the links between internal communication and service delivery /organisational reputation? How do we demonstrate the business value of internal communication?

In a service based organisation, your employees are your brand. Internal communication is fundamental to employee engagement. Engaged employees create an engaging brand. And engaging brands are more successful.

The evidence for this simple equation is overwhelming, though, as ever with communication it is difficult to prove direct correlations.

In terms of return on investment, the Towers Watson Communication Report for 2009-10 found that companies that are highly effective communicators had 47 percent higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that are the least effective communicators.

However, in the same report, it was found that a little more than half of companies are effective at educating employees on company values. This is reinforced by research conducted for the CIPD in 2006 that showed that only 32 per cent of employees feel that they are both fully/fairly well informed and also have opportunities for upward feedback. This is group is, unsurprisingly, highly engaged.

In their report to the UK government in 2009, MacLeod and Clarke argue strongly that “there is evidence that improving engagement correlates with improving performance”. According to Gallup, in addition to profitability, other benefits of employee engagement include higher customer advocacy and higher productivity.

Gallup also found that eighty-six per cent of engaged employees say they very often feel happy at work and happy employees are more likely to provide a good service that reinforces organisational reputation than unhappy employees.

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