How Unison makes the communication well within the company

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"Any act by which one person gives to or receives from person information about that person's needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or affective states. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or nonlinguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes” by Julia Scherba de Valenzuela 2007

Communication is very important for any business. This is very important for the company that all employees should assess this practice to ensure they are working well. In simple words communication helps employees to work towards the same goal by giving them similar direction and purpose.

Channels of communication

A medium or way in which a message or signal is transmitted to its desired targeted or audience .for example pass news or messages through print media or broadcast (electronic) media to people etc.


Unison is the public service union. This has got 1.3 million employees and has headquarters in London. They have got 12 regional offices including one in Scotland and Wales. In these offices almost 1200 staff is working and has got 1300 branches. There are so many conferences at regular intervals in order to sought out them members represent the issues. So in this way they need very good communications. In this case study we will see how UK biggest trade union arranges communications activities. In this case study we will see how different types of methods taken to help its members to deal with many issues which they face within their workplace.

Each branch has got one branch sectary which is elected by his or her colleagues. Unison acts for its member from public services and this include local authorities, NHS, police, electricity, gas, water, schools, colleges and transport sector.

In order to know how Unison makes the communication well within the company and outside the world, the process is revealed through Shannon Weaver model.

This process includes a transmitter sending the messages to its receiver or audience. One important thing is that transmitter always put the data into a form which receiver can understand. This is known as encoding. Transmitter can send the data through letter or email and receiver then translate the data through the process of decoding.

Internal and external communication

Internal communication

Internal communication always occurs between employees or departments of the same organization or company. Internal communication can occur in various forms such as team briefings, interviewing, employee or works councils meetings etc.

Projects groups at unison look at issues and help to put all policies into action, one example of internal communication at Unison is its in house magazine called InsideOut. This is weekly magazine and this sent to all employees, in this magazine whole range of issues and challenges for the staff is discussed. In this way Unison staff comes to know about the current affairs of the company. The details of new headquarters, fact about equal pay issues are also discussed in this magazine. These types of communications can be carried out by the email, posters, staff briefings etc.

External communication

External communication is the  exchange of data of information and messages between an organization and other organizations, unions or individuals that are not part of the organization. In this type of communication fields of the public relations, media relation, advertising, and marketing management can be put.

In 1300 branches of the Unison they need to convey issues to receivers and stakeholders in different types of fields. These issues may be equal matters, pensions, discussion and disputes as well.

Unison website at www.unison has played a major role to connect the company with outside world. Major issues such as collective bargaining, health and safety or to provide legal advice are supported by union by leaflets, booklets or other sources of communication. These things can be downloading from the internet as pdf files.

Formal and informal communication

Formal communication

"A presentation or written piece that strictly adheres to rules, conventions, and ceremony, and is free of colloquial expressions."  Sources (

A formal communication is explained as a means of communication that is generally controled by the managers or top management in an organization or in company. This is called the main line of the organization operational communication. Formal communication includes the reports, records, and other forms of communication that flow up and down in the management system.

Formal communication normally carried out by the well known channels of the organization. In Unison the expansion of the policy came from a procedure where it is committed from the members upwards. Members of the unison at branches discuss the policy issues and delegates from branches take part in annual meetings where debate is carried out about the issues. This type of the communication includes the paper based and electronic communication.

Informal communication

This type of the communication has not based on any set measures. Informal communication takes place outside the recognized communication networks. ; Like talking or share ideas in the lunchroom or hallways among employees. In this way team builds, working relationship can be improved. In this people are allowed to take initiatives into their own hands. In Unison employees are encouraged to share facts and skills through the publication of communication catalogues. In this way formal communication can be carried out by the employees who deal with daily problems of the organization. In informal communication which is between employers and representatives is carried out and this make the employees feel good.

Effective communication

People in the country are always touched with many issues by one or another way. Effective communication helps us to give us

  1. A direction for those involved in a dispute or issues
  2. An understanding to the varying groups of these issues involved
  3. Help and support for those issues who need it
  4. This can change the opinion about issues or disputes in that particular way so this can be solved.

Unison recently coordinated a National Health Services day of action. This was carried out because to secure the future of the NHS by influencing government policies. In order to advertise their campaign they published articles in local newspapers as well as provide leaflets to the people which describe the problems inside the NHS so that more people can come to know about the problems and can support their campaign.

Website of the unison was used to manage the activities. In this they try to encourage the members to lobby their MPs. On the day of action one open top bus was driven around the parliament square in London.  Huge coverage of the event by media was carried out. This campaign was supported by the unison and this was under the British Media Association.

In this way Unison was successful to make dispute more visible. In this way members will feel they are supported by the Union and this will feel them strong.

Barriers to communication

Some time message flow from the sender to receiver but sometime this may face problems. We cannot guarantee that receiver will receiver get the message or not.  This happen because sometime there is problem of communication between employees. These types of problems are considered as noise.  Noise can make the message weak or some destroy it. If message is hard to understand or have badly language this may be affected by the noise.

In Unison many members may have not full access to the computers or they might not be able to understand the latest technologies which are being used for the communication. Language problem may be there. Many members of the Unison may not have English their first language and this can lead language barriers.

To overcome from these problems unison has launched many ways in which members can access the technology and can use them.

The main problem in communication is interaction with lone workers. We can find many expert lone workers like lock keepers who are not easy to get hold of.  Now Unison has come up with many ways in which they emphasis on communication with individuals rather than groups.


I recommend that to improve communication in Unison we should have monthly meetings where all representatives from different branches can sit together where they can share their all problems and discuss broadly how they can improve communication among them.

By using internet they can make communication better. In their website one section should be different where they can publish latest news or current affairs of the Union. This section should be in front of the site where employees can easily access it.

Weekly or monthly mailing system should be there.  I mean to say that employees or people who are interested in the union should be updated regularly through emails or messaging. Its right that unison is sending mails to its employees to keep them update but they send when any major event take place. Union should give information to all its activities to employees whether it matters them or not. In this way they can come to know where their union is going in and what are future threats they may have etc.

There should organize public survey where selected employees or inspectors should go in public and check its members whether they are updated with current affairs of the union. If yes their name should be put in GOOD AND ACTIVE MEMBERS list and this list should be uploaded on internet. In this way members will motivated and will try to keep them more updated and actively take part in union. if they are not updated, members should be trained by the experts to how to get better access of the communication .


Definition of communication

Communication has great importance in union.  Communication encourages the motivation among employees by giving them information about the task to be done. If their performance is not up to mark how they can improve it can be done with communication. This is major source of information for the decision making body as it help to identify the alternatives course of action. Communication changes the attitude of the employees. Well informed employee is always very mannered and has good attitude rather than less informed individual. Communication also help the organization as well as employees to more socialize. In marketing communication play a vital role. Communication is major factor which help the management to control the organizational members behavior. When they companies policies, guidelines etc which clearly can pass to employees by better sources of communication.

A formal communication is explained as a means of communication that is generally controlled by the managers or top management in an organization or in company whereas informal communication has not based on any set measures. Informal communication takes place outside the recognized communication network. Effective communication helps us to give us direction for those involved in a dispute or issues and give understanding to the varying groups of these issues involved.

Some time message flow from the sender to receiver but sometime this may face problems. We cannot guarantee that receiver will receiver get the message or not and this called barriers of communication. Overall communication has a great importance in any organization.