Internal communications is divided in two general categories: employee relations and member relations.

Employee Relations include all communications between management and its personnel. Objectives in employee relations must work hand-in-hand with the organization's overall strategic mission and goals. The employee communications effort should be integrated into a regular, ongoing two-way program, which should be closely aligned with the organization's overall strategic objectives.

During in a crisis situation such as prolonged strike, you will need to craft messages with all of the organization's key publics in mind, from customers to suppliers to the financial community. To do so, you need to be a part of the strategic planning process and have access to all relevant information. As an informed spokesperson for the company, you can help to shape the message that will be directed to all the company's key audiences.

As a professional communicators, you will need to be exposed to many disciplines that are traditional strengths of the human resources department, such as organizational development practices and effective negotiating techniques. You need to develop a method to build loyalty and motivation in an increasingly diverse workforce along with keeping the company as a viable and relied-upon source of information for its employees.

Member Relations refers to communications inside a membership organization between the officers (management) and its members. These organizations include trade associations, professional associations, labor unions, interest groups, social and religious organizations, and thousands of other groups ranging from just a few members to a large scale global audience. Each organization needs a communicator to inform members about news and special events along with up-to-date information from the officers.

As a practitioner, you will often prepare and distribute membership publications on a regular basis, and also plan and execute membership conventions, seminars and meetings on a timely basis. Other tasks include such actions as promotion of industry research, preparation of industry statistics and data, and general promotion and development of the industry or profession represented by the membership. Also, designing and maintaining a user-friendly Web site is essential to reach virtually every member of the organization.

Copywright 2001, Sheila E. Fridman, Gainesville, Fla.
This site was last updated Wednesday, April 19, 2001.
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