During this time of tight budgets, many employers have dramatically reduced their internal communications initiatives. A recent study indicates they may be making a mistake.

The Corporate Credibility and Employee Communications Survey, published by the Society for Human Resource Management, is blunt about what is at stake for corporations.

“At a time when public distrust of big business is at an all time high, organizations should strive to appreciate and place a high value on their employees.”

The survey found that employees generally believe their companies are doing a good job of showing appreciation for their employees. Fifty-nine percent rate their company “very good” or “good.”

When HCA-Gulf Coast Division asked Dan and his team to design and implement an internal campaign, they understood the consequences. Hit by a serious nursing shortage, they needed to make sure HCA’s nurses felt appreciated in order to reduce turnover.

The resulting campaign consisted of fun on-the-job events, posters, banners and other collateral, and an op-ed in The Houston Chronicle. It culminated with HCA hosting thousands of nurses for “Nurses Night” at a Houston Astros game. The evening featured a nurse throwing out the first pitch and a PSA on the Jumbo-Tron.

“The internal campaign made our nurses really shine and integrated perfectly with our external advertising program,” said Angela McPike, HCA’s director of marketing.

According to HCA’s internal polling, employee satisfaction improved to its highest level since polling was initiated. HCA’s human resources office reported that turnover among nurses fell to its lowest level in years.

How can you use an internal communications program to make a positive difference for your company? The national survey indicates you should simply get communications flowing. When asked how their company could strengthen credibility among employees, 84 percent said they should share good news and bad news as promptly and as fully as possible. Seventy-eight percent asked for increased two-way communication between management and employees.