In any organization, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and transparent.
A McKinsey Report stated that employees who feel more included in workplace communication are almost give times more likely to report increased productivity.
Who doesn’t prefer an efficient and engaged workforce? However, many companies fail to make long-term investments in a solid internal communication plan. This can lead to the eventual failure to carry out your organization’s objectives.
So, how does internal communication management contribute to your business's success?
What is internal communication & how it has evolved
First, let’s look into the definition of internal communication. It is the process by which information flows through an organization from top management to employees. It can also be the other way around, or it can laterally happen among the workforce.
Generally, the HR, PR, or Comms departments are responsible for dispersing the management’s message. Peer-to-peer communication usually depends on the employees themselves.
There are quite a few types of internal communication styles that can exist in a business.
However, the main outcome should be fostering collaboration, transparency, and feedback in the workplace.
Even the landscape of communication has changed over the last few years. Due to the pandemic, more workers are now operating remotely or even in a hybrid capacity. This means internal communications have changed to meet the needs of businesses and their employees.
With technology on the rise, there’s no shortage of communication tools and channels to leverage your strategy, from internal messaging apps to business phone systems. Therefore, organizations not only need to depend on traditional methods but also the new-age tools that have become popular in the recent years.
Forms & channels of internal communication
As the workforce can connect via various platforms, the main communication channels used regularly are: verbal, written and visual communication. All of which is quite self-explanatory.
- Verbal: passed on via word-of-mouth
- Written: emails, text messages, or any other written form of information
- Visual: graphical presentations such as posters or other illustrations
These can be formal or informal depending on the sensitivity of the information. It’s usually natural for employees to connect with peers and management through a formal platform.
Quite a few forms of communication can take place via these channels. To sum it up, here are the sources:
- Leadership: shares information related to the company’s goals and progress. They majorly focus on strengthening the organization’s culture.
- Team: among employees who work in the same group and want to achieve similar goals.
- Employee-to-employee: informal messaging among peers.
- Face-to-face: in-person briefs on shared tasks and projects.
- Resources: email, text messages, video calls, intranet, social platforms, etc.
According to another McKinsey report, email and other internal collaboration activities account for 42 percent of the average knowledge worker’s time.
It also talks about how improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent.
Apart from that, there are more ways that internal communication boosts your organizational growth.
9 Benefits of effective communication for your business
Sixty percent of companies don’t have a long-term strategy for their internal communications.
Overlooking investment in such a high ROI strategy can lead to a lack of interest in the company’s mission and can cause damage to your retention rates.
Before implementing an internal communications strategy, there are many factors to consider.
Some of which we’ve already discussed. Let’s delve deeper into the aspects that may influence your decision.
Promotes employee productivity & engagement
With employees having so much on their plate, it can get difficult to keep them engaged.
Allow your employees to freely share their feedback so they can feel like a part of the team.
The more engaged they are, the more likely they’ll invest their time in their work.
The employees become more loyal to the organization and show their commitment to the business. So how does internal communication play a part here?
Internal communication expert Rodney Gray believes the best types of direct communication needed to increase engagement are:
- Listening at all levels.
- Upward and two-way communication (primarily face-to-face, but even through social media)
- Information and onboarding kits, packs and guides.
In the case of remote workers, it’s better to focus on asynchronous methods that encourage productivity and enable interaction among them.
Creates a sense of trust & transparency among employees
The development of trust between management and employees occurs when an organization is open and transparent. For any organization to succeed, trust is essential.
Additionally, it gives employees a sense of belonging, resulting in support for the company's vision as well as increased output. This would be difficult to accomplish without effective communication.
Ensure the proper flow of information
74 percent of employees have the feeling they are missing out on important company news. Most employees spend hours and hours finding the right information for them. By maintaining a step-by-step process, it’s easier to pass on any necessary materials to those who need them.
Or it can be that there’s too much information being dispersed. It takes about 25 minutes to get back to work after being interrupted, which also affects employee efficiency.
In that case, giving employees access to the correct materials can only benefit your organization.
Reduces chances of conflict
In any team, conflict is bound to arise due to various personalities clashing with each other. It’s natural for each employee to have different ideals and beliefs.
However, this can cause rifts among them, which can make it difficult to finish work.
Without communicating, it can be challenging to get anyone’s message across.
At that point, employees can see each other’s points of view. Accepting individual cultures, diversity, experiences, and values can resolve conflicts at work. Moreover, allowing everyone to voice their opinions and concerns helps clear the air.
Aligns team’s goals & objectives
An IBM case study reports 72 percent of employees don’t have a full understanding of the company’s strategy.
By using an internal communication platform, it’s easier to give an overview of what the focus should be.
Highlighting specific benchmarks to reach and explaining the company’s vision makes employees more aware.
It allows them to be more confident in what they’re doing and have a grasp of their responsibilities.
Helps in handling rapid corporate changes or crises
Change is inevitable in any organization. Combatting that means having a quick way to get the message across to your peers and employees. Whether it’s via email, text message, or a social platform.
Leveraging internal communication in a crisis tamps down the rumors. This way, there’s no misinformation that clouds anyone’s judgment. From an external perspective as well, it enables the organization to maintain its reputation.
Breaks boundaries among teams
Globally, workforces are becoming more remote. It can be seem that a team can operate from anywhere in the world.
The pandemic has shown how important it is to stay connected, and it’s the same in the workplace.
Effective communication means understanding each other’s cultures and speaking habits.
So that no one feels left out or isolated. Having virtual trivia lunches and connecting on platforms one-on-one are just some examples of asynchronous communication you can utilize.
Establishes a Thriving Community Around Company Brand
When establishing long-term relationships with clients and employees, communication is absolutely essential. The internal team performs better and comprehends the company culture well.
Gartner Communications states,
“Employees who feel well-informed become a company’s most credible ambassadors externally, while they may become its fiercest critics if they do not.”
When an organization fosters this level of brand loyalty in its employees, it’s bound to reflect externally as well.
It's been proven that companies succeeding in providing quality customer experience have 60 percent more engaged employees.
Drives the growth of the organization
Communicating work deadlines and goals can really motivate employees to get their job done faster.
It allows them to see how their effort and contributions are impacting the bigger picture.
It also makes teams more responsive to feedback. They can rely on management or superiors for support and guidance.
Like a well-oiled machine, the sum of its parts allows the company to expand and perform its functions efficiently.
Although creating an internal communication strategy encourages your employees and management to create a better work environment — it doesn’t always work.
According to Salesforce, 86 percent of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.
Tracking and analyzing performance can assist you in measuring the effectiveness of internal communication.
Analytics is a great way to delve into the tools used for communication.
Whether employees are actually using those platforms, how often, and how helpful are they?
Pulse surveys are another great way to create a feedback loop for your organization.
Teams can express their honest opinions on what’s working and what isn’t.
However, there can be some obstacles in the way before even implementing such a strategy.
Internal communication challenges & solutions
Different businesses have different internal communication techniques and have resulting outcomes. But we all face more or less the same challenges.
Challenge #1: No clear guidelines regarding strategy
Without a proper play-by-play on what your internal communication plan looks like, it’s impossible to pave the road to success.
Nearly two-thirds of companies haven’t really thought about their communication strategy, as stated in the above sections.
This means there will be a drop in employee productivity and engagement. At one point, this will contribute to a negative growth rate for your organization.
Solution #1: Create a comprehensive plan for your strategy
Before jumping straight in, take a step back and conduct an audit. Check whether your employees prefer an asynchronous or synchronous communication method.
Pinpoint where communication is lacking and how you can help facilitate that process.
After that, start sketching out what resources you’ll need to invest in rolling out your strategy.
Once you can come to an agreement on what work’s best for your team, you can start breaking ground.
Challenge #2: Investing in the wrong communication tools
There are a ton of resources available as new technology is becoming more and more available. However, the majority are emails and company-wide newsletters that seem irrelevant now.
Modern employee engagement solutions can be a key first step in solving workplace communication issues.
Solution #2: Include modern tools in your organization
- What do your employees want?
- How are they comfortable expressing themselves?
- How many resources are you willing to invest in tools?
Answering these can help you understand what fits your needs.
Suppose most of your workers are operating from different locations; online sessions for interaction and collaboration between teams can be a good way to keep them engaged in the long run.
All you have to do is evaluate your options properly.
Challenge #3: Lack of collaboration
Honestly, large organizations have so many teams that it’s nearly impossible to see how they're all connected.
Any team might easily feel isolated from the pack.
Moreover, in the case of information, it seems that the data is being siloed. Not everyone has access to what they need.
This can create misinformation to spread across the organization.
Solution #3: Encourage teams to connect
High-performing organizations are 5.5 times more likely to encourage collaboration across teams than lower-performing organizations.
To ensure the effectiveness of your strategy, set up all-hands meetings or one-on-ones with individuals to link everyone together.
In terms of knowledge sharing, it’s important to remember that it has to reach the right audience.
So, try segmenting information according to who needs it. This way, no one gets left out.
Challenge #4: Aversion to change
Implementing an internal communication strategy means saying goodbye to many archaic and traditional methods. Phone calls become emails or online sessions. Employees may even start communicating on social platforms like Slack or Teams instead of email.
Many companies may not be on board with that. They’re mostly concerned about their budget limitations or the revenue generated.
Solution #4: Be willing to adapt
If you want to keep succeeding, you must be prepared to modify and develop your internal communication strategy as necessary.
Ask your staff in frequent surveys whether there are any modifications needed.
Keep track of the changes occurring internally within your company while updating and developing your strategy as needed.
Remember that despite the challenges, the right strategy can take your company to greater heights of success.
How to build a winning internal communication strategy with Scribe
Creating an internal strategy is vital to your organization’s growth. So, ask yourself – what should you focus on when starting to build the foundations:
- Analyze the current communication infrastructure of your organization.
- What are the gaps you’re facing, and how can you overcome them?
- Segment your employees into teams and identify their individual needs.
- Identify the main vision and mission of your company objectives.
- Select the tools and platforms you’ll be using to share information.
- Set KPIs to track the performance of your strategy and where you can improve.
Once you’ve set up your strategy, Scribe can be a great tool to collaborate and share information with your team.
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