In Japan, there are more than seven million people with disabilities. Most of these people face discrimination when it comes to job recruitment due to the attitudes of most employers towards persons with disabilities. So as to address the situation, the government came up with the disabilities act. The key mandate of the act was to protect the employment rights of persons with disabilities.
In complying with this act, our organization is strategizing on ways of implementing successful inclusion. This will require effective internal communication aimed at creating awareness among the employees and other relevant stakeholders.
Internal Communication refers to communication that takes place within an organization. In most organizations, internal communication is mostly between the management and the employees or between the management and other stakeholders.
An effective campaign planning will require effective modes of internal communication so as to enhance dissemination and exchange of information in a more consistent and coordinated manner
Benefits of Internal Communication
First, internal communication enhances the experiences of the employees. Second, internal communications keep the employees informed and involved. Here, employees are kept informed on how to carry out their jobs, arising issues that may affect them and the priorities of the organization.
Employees are also informed on emerging policies and procedures. Third, internal communication improves the coordination of communication activities and sharing of best practice. Finally, internal communication enables an organization to deliver its priorities to citizens, partners and other stakeholders.
The Key Internal Communication Planning (ICP) Steps
The size of the organization will largely impact how we plan for internal communication. For instance, if the organization is small, a branch manager can solely draft an internal communication strategy especially if the elements of internal communication are his minors.
Alternatively, the manager can consult with the staff in making decisions. On the other hand, internal communication includes more players in larger organizations. Such players may include senior executives and human resource managers among others.
However, the general ICP process consists of eight steps. These steps include: identifying the culture wanted, identifying the communication tools that are available, determining the tools suited attainment of the vision, describing how each tool will be used, planning for remediation, planning for implementation, actual implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
Identifying the Culture Wanted
The culture we seek to create should promote the realization of the organization’s vision. In the case of our organization, our vision is to attain full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the organization. Thus we need to come up with values, principles and procedures that will bring this vision to life.
Identifying Communication Tools that are Available
Since internal communication is a broad area, we need to identify the most effective means of creating the corporate culture that we desire.
Some of the communication tools that are commonly used include: training, websites and internets, internal memos, newsletter, slogans, brochures, manager to staff communication, team addresses, policies and procedures, management behavior that sends messages and staff to management forums.
Determining the tools suited for attainment of the vision
Here, the tools that are most suitable for attainment of the vision are selected. In our case, training, brochures, websites and internets, internal memos, newsletters, slogans, manager to staff communication, team addresses, policies and procedures are all suited for the attainment of our vision.
Developing a description of how each tool will be used
It is important for people in charge of the communication tools to be well informed on how their tools fit into the entire context. For instance, managers need to understand how to write internal memos that match to the goals of internal communication. A corporate newsletter editor also needs to be well informed so as to convey information that promotes the desired culture.
Planning for remediation
This means that people in the organization needs to be informed on how to communicate. For instance, a corporate newsletter editor may need to learn what inclusion of persons with disabilities entails for him to be able to communicate effectively to the entire staff on this issue. This can be done by prior training.
Plan for Implementation
Planning for implementation requires that we know what we need to communicate and means of communicating it. Here, we can assign responsibilities to different members and dates for implementation process.
This will entail carrying out the actual plan so as to realize the desired culture or vision.
Monitoring and Evaluation
It is important that the effectiveness of the communication tools be assessed from time to time. This is because over time, some communication tools may become ineffective, thus requiring replacement. Annual surveys can be used to monitor progress.
Case Analysis of Companies that have Achieved Inclusion
These two companies have already attained successful inclusion in their companies. Thus, understanding their campaign strategies can be of much importance to our organization.
Toshiba Company began implementing inclusion in the year 2007. (Toshiba, 2011).The main campaign strategies that Toshiba used to attain inclusion were: education and training, newsletters and brochures. Toshiba (2011) highlights some of the activities that enhanced employees’ awareness of the importance of inclusion as:
Education and Training for the Employees
The company recruited experts who trained the employees on possible ways of supporting persons with disabilities at work place. The employees were also informed about the rights and limitations of persons with disabilities.
Development of “Kirameki” Newsletter
This newsletter was developed so as to raise awareness on the importance of diversity and inclusion. The newsletter which was also available in English translation used to be distributed to all employees.
According to Toshiba (2011), over a hundred thousand copies of the newsletters used to be distributed to individual employees and group companies. The newsletter’s main purpose was to raise awareness on the importance of inclusion and respect for diversity (Toshiba, 2011).
Brochure on Systems to Support Persons with Disabilities
The company designed brochures concerning the need of supporting persons with disabilities at work place and distributed them to all employees. The brochures highlighted the limitations faced by persons with disabilities and demonstrated possible ways of supporting them at work place. This equipped the employees with the knowledge required in supporting inclusion of persons with disabilities at work place.
Adoption of Slogans
Slogans such as “made for life” were used to campaign for inclusion of persons with disabilities in Japan.
Ernst & Young Company
This company was able to successfully implement inclusion by building understanding among people and providing guidance on work habits among its employees (Ernst & Young, 2011).
To start with, the company created a group known as Ernst & Young Accessibilities People Resource Network that provided guidance and raised awareness of work place issues that affected persons with disabilities (Ernst & Young, 2011).This group also held many internal conferences aimed at discussing ways that the firm could support persons with disabilities.
Secondly, the company created a group that was known as Abilities Network Championship. This group ensured that disabilities-awareness messages and educational materials were included in local meetings (Ernst & Young, 2011).
Finally, the company created an assistance program known as Network for Parents of Children with Special Health Care Needs. This program was aimed at ensuring that employees who have children with special needs were given fed with relevant information.
Conclusions and Decisions
Since inclusion of persons with disabilities is likely to cause anxiety, campaign planning is immensely important. So as to come up with an effective internal campaign strategy on inclusion, ICP is required.
Considering that inclusion may take a long duration before it is fully experienced, it is important to take a long term approach to guide ICP. For instance, we can take strategic ICP which is a long term approach as opposed to event based tactical communication planning which is usually short term.
Before commencing ICP, it is important that we bear in mind the kind of work place that is intended and the values, principles and procedures that need to be in place so as to attain the intended goals of the organization. Just like in any other strategic planning, we first need to come up with a vision for the organization followed by a well planned communication approach aimed at bringing the vision to reality.
Next, it is important that we take a very broad approach to internal communication. This can be achieved by ensuring that we do not only formulate statement of principles and display them on notice boards but also consider the behavior of managers and other internal decisions.
The behavior of managers and decisions made represent the real communication tools and if they are ignored, a conflicting situation will arise between the formal communications and the management actions and decisions. Thus, it is important that we come up with a consistent and a comprehensive approach to internal communication.
In addition, since Ernst & Young and Toshiba companies have achieved successful inclusion, we can adapt some of the communication tools and strategies that they used in their campaign. These include: use of education and training, newsletters, brochures, slogans and networks. The networks should be aimed at promoting inclusion by building understanding.
To start with, education and training can be carried out by recruiting experts to train the employees on possible ways of supporting persons with disabilities and the rights and limitations of persons with disabilities. Secondly, newsletters can be developed so as to raise awareness on the importance of diversity and inclusion. The newsletters should also be available in English translation so as to cater for diversity.
Individuals and group companies should be given copies of these newsletters. The newsletter’s main purpose should be to raise awareness on the importance of inclusion and respect for diversity (Toshiba, 2011).
Consequently, the company can design brochures that explain the need for supporting persons with disabilities. The brochures can then be distributed to the employees. Finally, relevant slogans that relate to inclusion can be formulated so as to raise awareness.
Bottom of Form Ernst & Young (2011). Bringing people together. Retrieved from https://www.ey.com/en_gl/who-we-are
Toshiba (2011). Corporate social responsibility: respect for diversity. Retrieved from http://www.toshiba.co.jp/csr/en/index.htm