The business world is rapidly evolving. People have different mindsets and expectations. Internal communications become essential because there is an urgent need to increase collaboration and transparency for better understanding.
What is internal communication?
Let’s look at a simple example – a family of five. A mother wants to prepare dinner and calls home to tell her daughter to take the ingredients from the fridge. However, a lack of clarity in communication resulted in her daughter having to make “smart” guesses. Unfortunately, those guesses were wrong, and dinner was a mess.
Miscommunication can easily happen in our personal lives. The effects will be more profound when it occurs among team members in an organisation.
Internal communication is how people within a group communicate with each other or how different levels within the same organisation exchange information. It is all about having an effective flow of information, both up and down the management and employee chain. It’s also applicable horizontally among employees who work in groups for specific projects.
Internal communication works best when it is an interdisciplinary effort across all departments in the organisation. Depending on the organisation itself, the scope and strategy could differ. However, no matter how different it is, they all rest on the same goal – coherence, structure, and coordination among all employees.
Types of internal communication
Especially with the pandemic still looming over our heads, many have shifted to working remotely. As such, it explains the need for different communication channels. So be it working physically in the office or remotely, you can implement various internal communication techniques to help supplement the jobs at hand.
Intranet is one of the most popular platforms used in most organisations. Many companies rely on their intranet to disseminate information to their employees. It is sometimes seen as a one-stop centre for employees to obtain legitimate information on the company.
Types of internal communication:
- Management team – only dispense accurate information (strategies, plans, company results, internal and external information) to the employees.
- Teams – among team members working together on the same project.
- Individuals – face to face briefing on specific tasks.
- Peers – informal sharing between colleagues.
Channels of internal communication can include:
- Verbal – word-of-mouth passing of information (phone calls, video calls)
- Electronic – intranet, email, social media, messaging
- Paper – using written papers, documents, posters, etc.
Why is having good internal communication important?
Can you imagine a company where its employees do not communicate? Aside from having a boring and zombified culture, do you foresee a promising future for that company? The answer is a resounding “No.” As explained, internal communication is all about sharing relevant and meaningful information so that everyone can do their respective jobs well.
Although there are barriers to achieving good internal communication, you still need to invest time in having good internal communication, as the benefits you’ll reap are aplenty:
Increase employee engagement and motivation
People’s physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects will affect their employee engagement. As such, it has a direct impact on essential areas such as employee turnover, productivity and profitability.
Bear in mind that there’s a vast difference between ineffective, boring top-down announcements and well-thought-out, interactive conversations that truly matter. Encouraging employees to share ideas and opinions makes them feel valued and worthy. This automatically promotes engagement.
So, when crunch time comes, they’ll be more likely to go the extra mile to work for the organisation because they feel motivated to work harder and produce quality work.
Having good internal communication is about sharing ideas and is also about encouraging effective and meaningful communication among all. As such, never have one-way conversations only.
Giving your employees a good working experience and appreciating and celebrating important key milestones can motivate them to achieve greater heights. This experience can help reduce employee turnover rates.
An organisation must provide all the right conditions and ambience for its employees to give off their best daily; these are essential to encourage and motivate higher employee commitment and involvement in their organisation’s goals with a heightened sense of overall well-being.
Many times, a business owner would focus solely on making money. After all, this is the main collaboration reason you build a business. However, you cannot neglect explaining your organisation’s goals and objectives to the employees.
It is most unfortunate that many employees are not aware of its background, history, goals, and values. This can cause disharmony and the employees to work out of sync with one another. This often creates roadblocks, causing disgruntlement among them and hindering their productivity.
As such, organisations need to provide a platform (company intranet) for employees to learn and obtain such important information and for the employees to pose questions and provide feedback. This is an excellent way to get employees involved.
Keep your people in the loop
This is perhaps one of the most obvious reasons why having internal communication is important. Educating employees on the organisation’s goals and values is one thing, but keeping your employees updated consistently is another matter altogether.
Let’s face it – nobody likes to keep in the dark all the time. Regularly keeping your people informed of what’s happening in the organisation, including any upcoming events, policy changes, headcount changes, the overall health of the business, and others, makes them feel valued.
Having good internal communication is essential to keep everyone informed and aware of what is going on across all levels of an organisation. You can do so via simple digital signage at strategic places in the company. These are digital screens that display any important updated information at places where your employees frequent a lot.
Have a section in your company intranet on “Latest Updates.” Your employees will look forward to this section every day. You’d want your employees to feel empowered to be more involved and invested in the bigger picture.
Giving your people assurance amidst crisis
Things aren’t always hunky-dory; business can go downhill, organisations can restructure, staff cut, mergers, and acquisitions. It is during such times that having highly effective internal communication helps heaps. Like it or not, you have to face and address any difficult-to-have conversations.
Being honest and telling it while being delicate is crucial; this can create an atmosphere of openness and sincerity that can help your organisation whether such challenging times. Never take the cowardice approach, and run away. Address your employees’ concerns directly as you don’t want your people to second-guess and turn against you.
Use your internal communication to convey any short, and long-term resolutions along with crisis management plans. The goal is to protect the organisation’s morale and ensure its successful business continuity even amidst a crisis.
Foster and build stronger collaboration
An organisation is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore, it is essential to build stronger teams, nurturing each employee.
If information is not accurately transmitted to the right personnel, the chances of having miscommunication increase. Each employee will then function and operate on their own.
This is dangerous, highly ineffective, and inefficient. Therefore, effective and thorough internal communication within the project team is essential to helping the teamwork, and collaboration better. This is so that each team member becomes ‘well-oiled’ to function cohesively, forming a symbiotic work relationship.
Also, especially if the team members are in various geographical locations, you can use video conferencing tools, and instant messaging tools to help provide better collaboration.
Targeting diverse workforces
An organisation consists of workforces of different levels with different roles and responsibilities in various departments. For those with a global presence, there will be various locations, languages, regions involved. Having good internal communication would need to cater to all these.
All information must be digested and consumed precisely as it should be, depending on the targeted audience. You can explore tools that help target these various segments and groups while maintaining the core of the message across the whole organisation.
One size doesn’t fit all. Practice content targeting that is correctly applied so that your messages are optimised to the different groups to ensure communications resonate with all parts of the organisation.
People are different in many ways; this is evident from their myriad colourful characters. As such, clashes happen, and conflicts become inevitable in the workplace. Misunderstanding, miscommunication, a sense of lack of recognition, and motivation, are the common causes of internal conflicts.
This strife boils down to poor and ineffective communication. To overcome this, people need to come together and talk things out to clear the air; an organisation can encourage this by fostering a culture of respect, diversity, maturity, willingness to listen, allowing everyone to speak and address issues immediately before the wounds fester.
An organisation is always laden with rumours. This is because people will be people; you can’t control their mouths. Grapevine communication, aka informal communication, happens; this can spread like wildfires to many who may distort the true meaning of the content.
This can encourage further employee disgruntlement due to the many misunderstandings and distorted scepticism.
To help with this, the management needs to be as transparent as possible. They need to be tactful when giving quality transparency, creating a rumour-free working environment so that all employees are consistently assured of their trust in the organisation.
Therefore, employees are more aware of the facts and not easily distracted by inaccurate informal communication.
Control message content, timing, and integrity
You’d want to put in place good internal communication to have control over the content. You won’t want your employees to learn anything about the company via external sources. You’d want your employees to hear it from the horse’s mouth directly.
So, always make internal news available at all times, not just when a crisis happens. Utilise official forums and employee social network tools to disseminate information to your employees to clear the air if employees hear from such external sources.
Put in place several internal points of sources in your everyday operations that are readily available to employees. This helps you to stay ahead of the uncontrollable influx of information your employees would receive from external sources. Of course, your employees must know where to go for such information and only trust such internal sources only.
Keep a tight leash on your messages instead of leaving information up to your employees’ interpretations. Also, optimise the timing of the messages. Having the proper sequencing of your messages along with disseminating them at the best suitable time is essential; you don’t want to confuse and overwhelm your employees.
As such, you need to have the appropriate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for accessing, drafting, and approving the messages.
Ensure you implement the appropriate security measures to ensure only the right and trusted personnel have the proper access to the tools. You can explore password manager tools to help with managing your passwords for greater security.
You want the right information to disseminate to the workforce promptly, securely, and at the same time, not sacrificing quality.
Amplify your organisation’s culture
You can use your internal communications to help make your organisation’s culture manifest. After all, all your messages, updates, and announcements help shape how your employees interpret the cultural landscape of your organisation.
Build and centralise your internal communications strategy within the organisation’s culture. Staying consistent with the brand promises of your organisation can be challenging, but internal communications, if done well, can help reduce this challenge and bring your workplace culture to life.
How we communicate with others determines the quality of our lives. Similarly, how employees communicate with one another influences the organisation’s health and productivity and its business. However, not every organisation may have the resources to invest in a solid internal communications strategy.
Still, you cannot afford to put aside your organisation’s internal communication effort. The above explains why. As such, invest time and effort in implementing an effective and meaningful communication strategy in your organisation. After all, having good internal communication is an essential component to ensuring your organisation’s health and success.
About the Author
Beh loves to discover the latest SEO, digital marketing and social media trends. She is also the digital marketer of WebRevenue. Reach out to her via LinkedIn and discuss her favourite topics together.