When you think of public relations, images of a person speaking in front of throngs of reporters, writing a press release or brainstorming the next great social media strategy may come to mind. All three of those images are examples of what communications professionals do, but PR isn’t just about communicating with the media or the general public.
Communications professionals also can help business managers with addressing intra-organizational audiences. Companies large and small have internal segments of individuals–such as employees or shareholders–that can be demanding audiences, especially during times of organizational change or financial instability. Moreover, unfettered discontent within an organization can be as draining or damaging to a company’s resources and brand as many external public relations threats.
Whether a company is growing or in crisis, there are complex situations where a communications professional can help resolve internal communications challenges by developing and delivering resounding messages that offer reassurance or confidence during stressful times.
Here are three examples of internal audiences that communications professionals can help companies manage:
Those having a financial stake in a company can be a business manager’s most demanding audience. Shareholders, investors and owners not involved in the day-to-day affairs of a company can take up hours of a manager’s time each week with requests (sometimes demands) for information about finances or operations, and sometimes can become a hindrance to a company’s continued success.
A communications professional can act as a single point of contact between financial stakeholders and management, gathering information stakeholders request and relaying their feedback to management in a constructive fashion. This type of role is especially important during times of crisis, as such situations can produce anxiety and fear in those invested in a company. Having a designated professional handling such an audience can free up an organization’s leadership team to focus on resolving the crisis.
Managers have the most direct lines of communication with a company’s workforce, but organizations going through a period of growth or decline can experience losses in productivity from the anxiety-producing situations. It can be difficult for managers to continue doing their jobs while also ministering to their subordinates’ fears.
A communications professional–who isn’t tied to the organizational tree–can deliver a company’s messaging to employees, counsel managers on how to best relate to their subordinates and work with upper management on developing intra-company communications strategies to help managers and employees stay focused on their work.
While not strictly an internal audience, a company’s partner organizations make up another non-public audience that is often essential to its success. Major organizational changes can be unnerving for outside companies who rely on your company as part of their supply chain.
Having a communications professional act as a single point of contact for its suppliers, distributors and vendors can free up its managers and directors to attend to an organization’s operational needs.