The news out there can be grim some days. So let’s keep it from the children—we wouldn’t want to upset the little dears.
That may be the philosophy of some companies’ internal communications, but don’t count American Electric Power among them.
AEP’s intranet includes news about the company and the industry from outside sources, even that which is negative about or appears slanted against the company’s position.
On any given day, it shares up to five external stories from outside media on the right-hand side of an intranet page, the same number of internally generated pieces on the left.
That can open debate in an industry under scrutiny by environmentalists and federal regulators (think coal and nuclear). But William Amurgis, director of internal communications, is confident that its 19,000 employees can handle the unfiltered news—and even discuss the issue at hand in the comments section of a given story.
“I look at our employees, and they’re very bright,” Amurgis says. “They’re very open-minded. They understand that not everything is positive and rosy, that not everything agrees with our company’s position. I feel an obligation to share with them things that may even be negative.”