Almost every person has information in digital format in the modern world, and the information can fall into the wrong hands without proper protection strategy. Establishing communication processes among employees is a key to minimizing the possibility of the loss of data and privacy (Zhang & Borden, 2020). To spread awareness on protecting information, there have to be communication strategies that would be understandable and accessible to every person regardless of their field of activity.
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Communication strategies on explaining cybersecurity and privacy related policies should be engaging for every employee. One way to describe engagement is “emotional and intellectual commitment to the organization” (Verčič & Vokić, 2017, p. 886). When describing a policy, besides its influence on the organization itself, every employee has to understand how the policy relates to them personally. To strengthen the commitment to the organization, there should be guidelines with examples on how a policy affects each employee, from the upper management to the secretary and the cleaning staff.
An important strategy to be implemented is explaining to people what to do in case of an emergency. For example, a strategy can include “behavioral recommendations,” which are step-by-step instructions that employees should follow in case of an information leak (Zhang & Borden, 2020, p. 1337). Besides understanding the importance of cybersecurity, people have to know who to contact or what exactly to do to protect privacy.
Another communication strategy that could be used is allowing all employees to discuss the policies that are to be implemented. Research shows that social media can be used for communication “across corporate departments, regions, and hierarchical levels” (Ewing et al., 2019, p. 112). When people get an announcement with a description of a new policy, there should be a link to a forum where everyone can leave their anonymous opinions, which should be taken into consideration by the management.
An important moment to consider is that there is no universal way of successfully communicating with all employees at once. Depending on the management level, employees prefer different communication methods (Arab & Muneeb, 2019). For example, not all employees are comfortable using emails as the main source of announcements, or not all employees can constantly use emails due to the specifics of their jobs (Arab & Muneeb, 2019). There should be more than one way of communicating with employees to convey information without additional questions.
Another way of explaining cybersecurity and privacy related policies is dividing employees into groups with mentors. Mentoring and coaching are considered to be “core competencies necessary for corporate communication” (Goodman, 2019, p. 4). Employees should be able to reach another employee who would be competent to answer their questions and clarify moments that they may not understand regarding a policy and possibly make changes to it.
When developing communication strategies, multiple conditions should be considered to find a common language with all employees. Communication strategies have to allow each employee to understand how a change in the organization affects them personally and what they can do about it. Employees have to be able to support new policies or have opportunities to make changes to questionable policies. If something raises doubts, there should be management representatives who would answer questions and explain the benefits. If employees see that the upper management is willing to communicate and discuss changes, they could be more likely to accept those changes.
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Arab, Z., & Muneeb, A. (2019). An employees’ perspective of effective communication as a strategy for enhancing organizational performance. Management, 2(1), 104-122.
Ewing, M., Men, L. R., & O’Neil, J. (2019). Using social media to engage employees: Insights from internal communication managers. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 13(2), 110-132.
Goodman, M. B. (2019). Introduction to the special issue: corporate communication–transformation of strategy. Journal of Business Strategy, 40(6), 3-8.
Verčič, A. T., & Vokić, N. P. (2017). Engaging employees through internal communication. Public Relations Review, 43(5), 885-893.
Zhang, X. A., & Borden, J. (2020). How to communicate cyber-risk? An examination of behavioral recommendations in cybersecurity crises. Journal of Risk Research, 23(10), 1336-1352.