Cody: Welcome to the ComplianceBridge Podcast, your source for the latest on risk management and policy and procedure management. My name is Cody Miles and I’ll be your host for today’s episode.
Today, I’ll be joined by Kaylie Meek to discuss the importance of creating an internal communication policy at your company. We will also talk about some of the key areas your policy should include to give your company – and it’s employees – the most protection.
Welcome to the podcast Kaylie, how are you?
Kaylie: Happy to be here!
Cody: Let’s get started. From a business perspective, what is the purpose of an internal communication policy? Should companies really be governing what their employees can and can’t say?
Kaylie: Within any organization, especially as it grows larger and larger, there are many pathways for communication to travel through. If you fail to create policies and procedures that regulate these pathways, you are putting your business interests at risk. These rules aren’t simply there to tell your employees what they can and can’t say – they actually exist for the benefit of your employees as well as your business. Your internal communication policy provides them guidance in uncertain situations, clarity on proper lines of communication and a unified standard for professional conduct.
Cody: What are some of these communication pathways that companies need to consider to develop a solid policy?
Kaylie: Well, if you think about it, all businesses are built on these pathways: staff meetings, emails, phone calls, text messages, Slack, Google Calendar, even an old-fashioned bulletin board. Every company does things differently, though. The importance of an internal communication policy is to determine which pathways will be used in your organization, how they will be used and where employees can go to find specific information.
Cody: But, what is a policy like this really protecting a company from?
Kaylie: For the company, it ensures that sensitive information is better protected from exposure to the public and that inappropriate content isn’t allowed to persist internally. No information can be 100% confidential, after all, and you wouldn’t want an ill-considered conversation to go public and be linked – however inaccurately – to the culture and values of your company. Nor would you want information that affects the safety of business interests to accidentally fall into the wrong hands.
For your employees, internal communication policy and procedures are essential to doing their job responsibly and avoiding mishaps: should they be encrypting their emails; should staff meeting agenda be updated on the company calendar; who is allowed to send official communications on behalf of the company? That sort of thing.
Cody: How do policy writers go about creating policy for internal communication?
Kaylie: They need to first begin by identifying the points in their communication network that are at the most risk of breakdown or breach. For instance, a key area to focus on are the company devices used daily for internal communications. Phones, laptops, tablets and desktops run the risk of being hacked, stolen, damaged or simply misused. Many an employee has been burned by the exposure of illicit messages with their fellow workers – the best way to make sure this doesn’t happen within your company is to have a zero tolerance policy and proper rules of conduct regarding the usage of company devices.
Cody: So, other than the usual communication pathways – email, phone calls, internal memos, etc. – what other areas should policy owners be sure not to overlook?
Kaylie: Well, one thing that could catch a company off guard if they don’t create rules regarding its usage are private social media groups. Private groups, such as those on Facebook, can be a great way to increase employee engagement, giving them a platform to share resources and company news with each other, but without proper admin oversight, things run the risk of getting out of hand. To avoid being blindsided with a scandal, your communication policy should address appropriate management of these kinds of social media groups for employees.
Cody: Before we go, do you have any tips for managing communications at a company?
Kaylie: Sure! A productive company is one whose employees can easily share and receive information pertinent to their jobs. To make things easier on you and everyone else, try to consolidate and centralize your content. Use your policy as an opportunity to implement a companywide communication platform such as Slack or G Suite. All of your news, announcements, discussions, surveys and anything else employees need to share with one another just needs to be in a consistent, accessible place. This also has the bonus of making your internal communication policy easier to draft.
Cody: Well thank you Kaylie for all of these insights. It sounds like there are a lot of different angles to consider when creating policies and procedures for internal communication within a company.
Internal communications is an important and timely topic for companies in virtually any industry, but we also know that within any business, there are many topics deserving this level of focus in the policy management process. Here at ComplianceBridge, we’re committed to helping you create your policies and procedures quickly and painlessly. Our TotalCompliance suite of products aid you each step of the way from policy writing to distribution to attestation and beyond. Request a demo today to learn more about our fleet of compliance and risk management products.