Overview – Annual reports
Annual reports are the yearly reviews produced by publicly listed companies at the close of their fiscal year. They generally include statements about the organisation’s operational achievements, its earnings, disbursements, assets and liabilities.
Although primarily targeted at shareholders and investors, the annual report is also an important communication tactic for employees other than those who are shareholders. The annual report can offer employees substantial insights about the organisation: how it’s doing and where it’s headed. The annual report can also play a strategic communication role in articulating the organisation’s vision, values and operating philosophy to employees in the context of key performance parameters.
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Fostering employee understanding about the organisation.
✓ Providing employees with an at-a-glance perspective of the company’s progress over the previous year and objectives for the next 12 months.
✓ Providing an information source for potential employees and graduates.
✓ Tradeshows and leave-behind material.
✓ Including in a new recruit’s induction pack.
Things to consider:
⇒ Confirm that the design and content of the annual report align with what is being communicated internally to employees. For example, employ a more scaled-down and sober design and format during periods of cost-cutting and downsizing.
⇒ Provide context to the information and strategic imperatives in the annual report by publishing quotes from interviews with key employee constituents.
⇒ Use writing, editing and design techniques to achieve clarity and consistency of messages in a style and language that reflect the organisation.
⇒ Use employees’ photos and profiles to provide a human ‘face’ to the organisation.
⇒ Promote publication of the annual report via relevant internal communication tactics.
⇒ Distribute to employees as required.
Ensure design of the annual report accurately reflects the organisation’s internal brand. Develop authentic messages that concur with employees’ experiences of the organisation. These attributes help ensure the annual report achieves credibility with employees and shareholders.