Business Monday: Culture of trust ‘vital’ for internal communications

DEVELOPING a culture of trust and mutual respect is vital for successful internal communications. That’s the view of Ron Johnson, Managing Director of Blueprint Creative, a branding agency that helps companies to improve their internal and external communications.

Johnson was one of the participants in a panel discussion held by the Barbados Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), held recently at The Island Inn Hotel. The theme of the panel discussion was ‘Learning From The Best: Successful Internal Communications Practices in Barbados’, and featured representatives from Barbadian companies that are respected for their internal communications programmes.

As part of the panel discussion, Johnson gave a broad overview of some of the internal communications initiatives used by his company, Blueprint Creative. These initiatives include “Monday Morning Meetings”, designed to intercept any Monday morning blues and inspire team members for the week ahead, scheduled departmental meetings, a monthly e-mail newsletter, an instant messaging chat group, one-one-one meetings between team members and their immediate supervisors, and various technological applications designed to ensure that team members received the opportunity to make meaningful suggestions which can help the company to grow.

The internal communications initiatives used by Blueprint Creative seem to be paying off. In 2012, the company was presented with a Barbados’ Best Employers (BBE) Award, a biennial award that recognises organisations with exemplary cultures, working environments and HR practices. In 2014, the company was a finalist in that year’s BBE programme.

Speaking at the conclusion of the panel discussion, Johnson was quick to acknowledge that while the company’s current communications initiatives were successful, those same initiatives would be highly ineffective if the company didn’t have a strong company culture of trust and mutual respect.

“Many times, companies’ internal communications are ineffective, not because of the specific communications channels they use, but because employees don’t trust their employers or their fellow employees,” he said.

“If you want your internal communications to be impactful, you absolutely must develop a culture of discipline, trust and clarity. Otherwise your newsletters will go unread, your staff meetings will be ineffective, and your office celebrations will come across as being hollow and nothing more than a charade.”

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