Communication Climate

Businesses and organisations run hot and cold when it comes to getting their message across to their key audiences. Likewise, their audiences/target groups run hot and cold, and it depends very much on the communication climate that exists within that organization at a particular time. This essay attempts to show how both internal and external audiences are affected by the communication climate that exists with an organization. This essay will show how a good communications climate addresses internal & external issues, including: (INTERNAL) Overall effectiveness, Employee morale, productivity, Safety, Recruitment record, Supplier confidence (EXTERNAL) customer relations, investor relations, industry leadership, community acceptance

WHAT IS COMMUNICATIONS CLIMATE?

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We’ve all felt bright, hazy or stormy at work or in lectures.

Communications climate refers to the internal communications pattern within an organization (Kreps, 1990) and describes:

* the way we feel about the group or organisation we work for

* the extent to which we value, and feel valued, by others

* the overall working environment

* the way we react to the work environment

* how satisfying it is to communicate with others in the organisation.

* perceptions of what is important in the organisation (services, creativity or safety)

While it mostly affects internal issues, many external audiences are influenced. This is simply a natural flow on.

A good communication climate has been shown to enhance a business or organisation on many fronts

Where does it come from?

Just as the rain pours from above, so does the communication climate. Leadership has a strong influence on organisational climate. If the boss shows little concern or respect for members, the resulting climate will reflect that. The climate will either be friendly or unfriendly . . . effective or ineffective.

IS IT IMPORTANT?

They type of communication climate that exists within an organization is of vital importance, especially when you consider communications can affect:

* The way we work

* Who we talk to

* Whom we like

* How we feel

* How hard we work

* How innovative we are

* What we want to achieve

* How we fit in

If a business or organisation has a poor communications climate, it simply won’t be able to get the best from its workforce. And if the workforce projects a poor attitude, it will be picked up by outsiders.

At the heart of any communications plan is management’s desire to instigate and implement, Without willingness, any plan will fail, thereby affecting a company’s overall effectiveness.

1. COMPANY EFFECTIVENESS

This is a very general term and relates to all aspects of an organisation’s operations. Being effective means being able to operate successfully. An effective business is:

* Profitable

* Personable

* Passionate

* Single-minded

* Built solidly (foundation) for the future

* Open and accountable (Baskin, Aronoff, Lattimore, 1999)

They also outlined three factors which are important in achieving effectiveness:

* Leadership

* Employee development

* Communication

Today the need to align people’s skills with business goals is paramount in increasingly competitive markets.

The best business strategy requires the best people strategy. People drive an organization’s success.

2. INVESTOR RELATIONS

One of the key components of any communications strategy is investor relations. Successfully communicating with shareholders, both large and small, is key to the performance of a company’s stock.

The role of investor relations is extremely varied. It includes the ability to:

* Build interest in the company

* To create and maintain investor understanding & confidence

* Build relationships with financial community

* Disseminate information

* Sell company products

* Attract new investors

* Stabilise stock prices

* Win stockholder approval for management

* Increase company prestige and value

* Liaise with media (Wann, 1999)

Successful investor relations depends on:

* Understanding the audience

* Building relationships

* Explaining how company news and events relate to overall vision & strategy

If the market is not informed, then people will be sceptical about share prices and will shy away from trading. Consequently, the company will not be able to expand.

Most investors will base their decision to trade on an analysis of a company’s balance sheet, annual reports, share trends and price to earnings ratio.

When taking invertor relations into account as a component of communications climate, consider the number of areas involved:

* Annual reports

* Annual meetings

* Chairman/CEO speeches

* Analyst/portfolio manager presentations

* Roadshow presentations

* Quarterly reports

* CD ROM presentations for investment community

* Targeting of 13F and non 13F shareholders

* Peer analysis and tracking

* Web site content – Investor relations

* Public relations

* Perception studies

* Analyst/institutional teleconferences

Quite simply, if an organisation has a poor communications climate, a company’s ability to achieve financial success will be impeded. This is merely a result of information not being given to key audiences.