UNICEF: Internal Communication system
The United Nations Children’s Fund or most commonly known as UNICEF is program by the United Nation, whose purpose is to provide developmental and humanitarian assistance to mothers and children in the developing countries (UNICEF 2017).
Internal communication system is the function, which is designed for effective communication among the employees of an organization. This is a two-way process. There are various ways of internal communications, such as, email, telephonic conversation, newsletters, notices, leaflet, booklet, poster, websites, human resource portal and face to face interactions (Men 2014).
Like any other organizations, UNICEF also uses the above methods for communicating with the employees. Along with these, it also introduced intranet in 2009 and re-launched it on the SharePoint platform in 2014 for maintaining the communication process with its employees globally. Through intranet, the organization maintains a focal point for sharing educational and training documents for all the employees, creates internal communication plan for various activities, disseminates many internal communication products, like, international broadcast messages, blog post, newsletters, presentations, FAQs, webiners, office stories and manages the internal mobile apps and encourages more employees to use these communication products (UNICEF 2017).
SharePoint platform is a collaborative web based platform, integrated with MS Office. It is used to store, share, access and organize the business information of a company from any device using cloud computing. Employees of UNICEF use SharePoint for communicating among themselves and with the authority (Van Beneden 2015).
The advantages of using SharePoint are as follows:
- It offers accessibility to cloud, resulting in more collaboration from any device and at any point of time.
- Mobile access features make SharePoint quite user-friendly. It also allows the UNICEF employees to access the intranet even from the field.
- MS Office integration allows the employees to access the MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other products easily for their job and it is accessible by others when they are doing a collaborative job.
- The security options are greater in SharePoint that allows for enhanced authorization protocols and greater authentication so that the user access is completely individualized. This allows the users to access only the relevant information in the intranet for their work and none of the unnecessary information comes up (Stuart 2016).
The disadvantages of SharePoint are as follows:
- The search options need many internal customizations; hence, a lot of time needs to be spent on customizing the platform for the organization.
- The features are not easy for a new user and SharePoint also does not support any public websites for browsing to complete their work (Van Beneden 2015).
- Apps are difficult to use and sometimes isolated and unmanageable.
It can be recommended that, since SharePoint is a new platform, especially for the new employees, UNICEF must arrange training for them before creating their access. In many cases, the employees cannot understand the customized features and they make critical mistakes while accessing the platform. It creates a risk for data loss and security threat.
Internal communication chain refers to the structure of communication of the organization. In UNICEF, it works like other corporate houses. The head of the organization addresses the employees directly through newsletters, emails, web conference for any major announcement and the structure followed is the Pyramid network. In this network, the CEO, chairperson or MD of UNICEF directly communicates with different departments or regional offices in different locations. The head of the organization occupies the top position of every department and hence, the internal communication network structure takes the pyramidal form. In this network, diagonal or sideways communication usually takes place. The organization head uses various channels to communicate with the employees across the world. On the other hand, the employees also follow the hierarchy for responding to the messages (unicef.org 2017).
In the context UNICEF’s internal communication, Munter’s ‘Communication Strategy Model’ can be applied. It is a cyclical communication model between communicator and audience and the two way process of message and response. It also adds cultural context and channel choice. This circular model is more effective in two-way communication within an organization. This theory starts with organization as the communicator and its employees as the audience. UNICEF delivers its messages via various channels to its employees and their responses come as feedbacks (Bharadwaj 2017). Even if the internal communication network follows the pyramidal structure, the communication process takes the circular structure, as stated in the Munter’s model. UNICEF communicates with its employees through the head of the organization, and the employees respond to the company messages by giving feedbacks to their immediate supervisor. Hence, a circular process of internal communication is followed.
From the above discussion, it can be recommended that, UNICEF should make improvements in their feedback section for the employees. The organization has established the methods for delivering messages to their global employee base, but the feedback system for the employees are not designed properly and efficiently. In many cases, the responses from the employees do not reach the higher management, and the authority does not get proper feedbacks for their policies, messages or notices. Hence, the organization must focus on the efficient designing of the feedback system for the employees for a more effective two way internal communication plan.
Bharadwaj, A.V., 2017. Constructing Communication Strategy Templates for Managerial Persuasion and Argumentation Cases. International Journal of Marketing & Business Communication, 6(1).
Men, L.R., 2014. Strategic internal communication: Transformational leadership, communication channels, and employee satisfaction. Management Communication Quarterly, 28(2), pp.264-284.
Stuart, A., Ims Health Incorporated, 2016. Dynamic linking in sharepoint (TM). U.S. Patent 9,436,774.
UNICEF, 2017. UNICEF's mission statement. [online] UNICEF. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/about/who/index_mission.html [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017].
unicef.org, 2017. UNICEF - Communication for Development - Vision and Mission. [online] UNICEF. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/cbsc/index_42334.html [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017].
Van Beneden, P., 2015. What does information governance really mean for sharepoint?. IQ: The RIM Quarterly, 31(1), p.49.