In an article at the Intranet Journal, Paul Chin discusses the various media used in corporate communications.
According to Chin, it is the responsibility of an organization to inform its employees by creating a message and sending it out through the most effective and efficient medium to ensure that employees receive and understand it. He adds that the corporate message has to compete with a lot of other information in getting the employee’s attention. Some employees will listen, some will misunderstand the message, and others will ignore it completely. The author recommends awareness of the receivers’ habits and idiosyncrasies as the basis for deciding on the appropriate message and medium.
Chin points out that the corporate intranet is one of the old stalwarts of corporate communications. The downside, he says, is that employees do not know when new information is posted unless they access the system regularly. Those who are busy or are otherwise unable to check in may miss important announcements.
The email is another medium for corporate communications. Chin says it was the biggest advancement in corporate communication since a single message can be sent to all employees anywhere at the same time. The downside, he says, is that employees stopped reading them. With the huge volume of email that employees receive daily, the corporate email may not be able to grab the employee’s attention because: it is indistinguishable from other e-mail, it may be mistaken as spam, it may be filtered out, or it may be ignored because the employee feels he has no choice in what he is receiving.
A newer medium for internal corporate communications, according to Chin, is the Rich Site Summary or RSS. It provides more communication control, he says, because senders can create categorized topical feeds and receivers can choose the feeds they subscribe to, ensuring that employees receive only what is relevant to them in a medium separate from all the email “chatter” and cannot be blocked by filters. Users are also given a headline and a short synopsis of the message.
Two other alternatives presented by Chin for corporate communications are podcasting (audio) and vodcasting (video). He says users can subscribe to topical podcast and vodcast feeds in the same way they do for RSS. The downside to listening or viewing these feeds without headphones, he points out, is that users could disturb others in the office.
In the end, Chin says the organization can only control the message and the medium but not the receiver. It is the responsibility of the employee to be receptive to the corporate message.
Indeed, communication is always a loop and never a one-way process.