Such well drawn up policy documents ensure clarity and effectiveness in the matter of giving out information and having interactions with the media and the public.
As we have noted earlier, the cardinal principles of communication cover adequacy, transparency and consistency. Communication policy may also include ‘Disclosure Policy’.
The policy guidelines will have to cover in detail these aspects as well. While the contours of a policy document on communication may vary depending upon the nature of business, size and spread of the organization, the following specifics could perhaps receive some attention:
1. The designated person or persons who will be interacting with the media, i.e., appointing specific spokespersons
2 The authority or the specific person who will be approving press releases and other important literature meant for the public
3. The varied formal and informal forums where information and relevant details will be made available to employees, customers and the public
4. The frequency of letters to employees and customers from the CEO and other top management functionaries
5. The type and range of in-house bulletins for employees
6. The feedback systems appropriate to the organization
The manner in which the organization will respond to frauds, damaging press reports and other such adverse developments is also a matter of policy. Swift action will have to be taken in response to such developments by issuing rejoinders, meeting the press, interacting with the public or contacting the opinion makers, as the case may be.
This aspect of damage control is indeed a very important facet of any effective communication and public relations strategy.
Effective communication presupposes not only strengthening of information sharing relating to positive developments, but also addressing and appropriately dealing with negative happenings. A well-designed communication policy should cover all such areas.
Besides laying emphasis on adequacy, transparency and consistency, progressive organizations also work towards creating an internal environment and a work culture that facilitates freedom of speech, forthright expression of views and even the voice of dissent, irrespective of hierarchical differences.
Under such a situation, there is an unhindered flow of communication taking place at various levels and in all directions. Well drawn up policy guidelines relating to communication aid and abet free and effective flow of communication within and without.