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When internal communication goes badly wrong

When internal communications goes badly wrong

October 23, 2013

Does internal communication actually make any difference? Surely anyone can talk to their staff or colleagues? Why does an entire industry need to do it?

Questions that are sure to make every IC professional’s blood boil but, sadly, opinions that are regularly expressed.

Of course, those of us working inside the internal comms industry can reel off the answers to such lazy assumptions almost by heart.

Thanks to the likes of think-tank Engage for Success, we have reams of handy and eye-catching figures to highlight the importance of effective employee engagement.

Good internal communication ensures a business is more effective, more unified and delivers a clear and consistent message to its employees, in turn making them feel more valued.

It’s about listening, speaking, questioning and sharing feedback in a two-way direction.

Internal communication is a discipline that takes skill, understanding and no little talent.

Thankfully we’re seeing signs across the UK that big businesses are beginning to firmly grasp the nettle as far as the importance of employee engagement is concerned.

But there’s still those who believe they can turn their hand to motivation in the workplace – usually with, ahem, interesting results.

Step forward, the Tesco store in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

The Daily Mail reports a ‘motivational’ poster was put up to inspire colleagues in the store, where sales had been falling.

Fair enough. Sadly though, the poster features a man holding a GUN to his head along with the words: ‘Goodbye Haverfordwest, it’s been nice knowing you!’

See the poster here….

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

It was accompanied by the message: “Sales down last week. Dot com availability down. Waste up. Don’t panic, what’s the plan now.”

Oops. Inevitably, the poster attracted complaints and has now been removed.

A Tesco spokesman said: “This was clearly an error of judgement, in one store.

“The person responsible for the poster has apologised and it has been removed.”

The lesson? Simple: ignore the doubters. Internal communication is essential – and must be taken seriously.

Oh, and perhaps leave guns out of motivational posters too. Just a thought.