Communication of integrity
Multiple communication channels can be used to convey integrity-related messages.
Organisations commonly use multiple communication channels to reach the widest audience possible when conveying messages. The variety of communication channels should be used to raise awareness about the importance of integrity and to engage stakeholders (internal and external) in anti-corruption activities and to showcase that your organisation is acting with integrity via an external communications campaign. Each communication channel offers advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of message being delivered and the receivers of the message. Also, certain communication channels may cost more than others.1
PURPOSE & LINK TO INTEGRITY
Integrity should be an integral part of an organizations’ values and strategic considerations. It is therefore important to include integrity-related topics in internal and external communication, to discuss them during meetings (staff and management meetings) and to inform staff and other stakeholders adequately. Showcasing and celebrating successes motivates stakeholders (employees, partner organisations, public etc.) to continue their engagement and is an opportunity for the organisation to communicate the efforts made to increase the level of integrity and to improve reputation. However, it is important that integrity communication is sincere and reflects reality; otherwise it may backfire and generate cynicism and further debilitate the credibility of the organization.
- Do you have adequate integrity policies in place that can be communicated to externals? (Also check tools Anti-corruption policy, Anti-corruption commitments and Code of conduct)
Before starting your communications campaign, a communications strategy needs to be developed which outlines the purpose, objectives, target groups and messages of the campaign.
The most important thing in communications is to think about the receivers of the message. Who do you want to reach and how can these people or organisations be convinced of your message? Do you want to focus on internal communications or external? The more easily the issue can be communicated, the better the chance of winning the support and involvement of your target group. The core message must be brief and concise, and summarise what you are aiming for. This will help ensure communication is focused, coherent and effective.2 Once this is clarified, the required methods or channels can be selected to achieve your objectives. These are also described and explained in the communications plan.3
Examples of internal and external communication channels are:1
- Letters and memos are the most traditional written communication. Letters are commonly used to present official information to other organisations, to individuals or other stakeholders. Organisations can also use letters to communicate contracts or build professional relationships with other organisations in the same work area. Memos are usually an internal written communication format used to convey information to managers and employees. Nowadays organisations may be using fewer memos, since they are often being replaced by internal emails.
- Meetings offer organisations a way to convey information using a personal format. Meetings may include managers, employees or customers/users. Meetings are used to ensure that little or no confusion exists in the conveyed message; they allow individuals listening to the speaker to have an opportunity for asking questions or providing feedback. Meetings can also be used in order to allow for staff representatives to discuss integrity-related issues with the management, to produce new ideas or to communicate concerns of employees to the management.
- Email is an electronic form of written communication. This communication channel has become more popular as organisations increase the use of personal computers at work. Email offers a near-instant format to convey a message or transfer information to individuals inside or outside the organisation. Email communication is an inexpensive option for contacting internal and external stakeholders.
- Work performance assessments/ personal talks: regular talks between employees and their superior allow for employees to address their concerns or to communicate ideas and suggestions (e.g. with regard to integrity). These talks should be characterised by open discussions, where employees are not afraid to openly disclose their concerns. This format can also be used in order to assess the employees’ work performance and to discuss possibilities for personal and professional development and opportunities of engagement in the integrity change process.
To communicate success stories on IM implementation (e.g. jobs secured, lower costs) the company can use different tools. Internal communication tools include: award ceremonies, company newspapers, mailings and meetings. External communication tools include: conference presentations, project visits, partner network channels, website articles and press releases.
KEY GUIDING DOCUMENTS
Vitez, no year, 5 Different Formats of Business Communication, Demand Media, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/5-different-formats-business-communication-696.html, accessed 02.12.2015
WIN, 2010, Advocacy Guide: A Toolbox for Water Integrity Action, Water Integrity Network (WIN), Berlin
Hovland, 2005, Successful Communication: A Toolkit for Researchers and Civil Society Organisations, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Édes, B. W., 2009, Good Practices in Corruption Prevention: Preparing an Anticorruption Communications Strategy, Asian Development Bank (ADB), http://www.oecd.org/site/adboecdanti-corruptioninitiative/meetingsandconferences/42877355.pdf , accessed 28.10.2015
WIKIHOW, no year, How to Write a Memo, http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Memo, accessed 02.12.2015
Beare, K., How to Write a Business Memo, Abouteducation, http://esl.about.com/od/businessenglishwriting/a/bizdocs_2.htm, accessed 02.12.2015
Alley, M., Sample Memo Format, Writing and speaking guidelines, http://www.writing.engr.psu.edu/workbooks/memo_format.html, accessed 02.12.2015
WIKIHOW, no year, How to Run an Effective Meeting, http://www.wikihow.com/Run-an-Effective-Meeting, accessed 02.12.2015
Holden Leadership Center, Running Effective Meetings, http://leadership.uoregon.edu/resources/exercises_tips/skills/running_effective_meetings, accessed 02.12.2015
Academic Leadership Support, Lead meetings, University of Wisconsin-Madison, https://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/AcademicLeadershipSupport/LeadMeetings/tabid/74/Default.aspx, accessed 02.12.2015
- Vitez, no year, 5 Different Formats of Business Communication, Demand Media, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/5-different-formats-business-communication-696.html, accessed 02.12.2015
- WIN, 2010, Advocacy Guide: A Toolbox for Water Integrity Action, Water Integrity Network (WIN), Berlin
- Hovland, 2005, Successful Communication: A Toolkit for Researchers and Civil Society Organisations, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)