Friday’s PR Week featured recent research by Melcrum Publishing highlighting that “in-house communications professionals are steadfastly resisting the temptation to use blogs or webcasts as the main channel to communicate with staff.”
This begs the question should digital media ever be the dominant method of communication for an organisation? I am inclined to side with the two-thirds surveyed who believe face-to-face briefings to be the most effective channel to communicate with staff.
The digital geek within me is creaming about all of the new communication channels opened by digital and social media, and this is very true. But it should not mean that the traditional channels are completely rejected to make way for it. Digital communication should be supplementary to traditional channels, be it in-house magazines or face-to-face communications – they should provide added value for employees. A weblog might provide access to an MD that staff on the front-line would only have limited access to otherwise. But nothing should replace the weekly briefing from a line-manager.
Of course the emphasis that should be placed on digital media for internal communications will differ greatly depending on the company size, sector and employee access to computers etc. but it is equally important not to overlook the power of engagement in face-to-face communication, as it is to not overlook the opportunities that digital media offers.
In-house communications teams must strike a happy balance between embracing these new communications channels and not losing site of the importance of the personal touch.