Internal communication in the workplace is simply a function that facilitates all communication in your organization.
It’s important for several reasons, such as keeping people informed and allowing you to share information about the company to help all employees perform their jobs well.
Internal communication also applies to employees interacting with each other within the company, which means a solid internal communication system helps nurture company culture, boost employee engagement, and enhance employee advocacy.
Read the rest of this article to learn some of the most common pitfalls that companies run into regarding communicating with their employees.
You'll also discover solutions and strategies to remedy failed communication methods, as well as a few illustrations of the benefits when you do.
Leadership needs to use simple, clear, and concise language in employee memos and other communications so there’s no room for confusion or misunderstanding.
When employees know exactly what's expected of them, it makes it easier for them to perform their tasks or provide feedback whenever any issues arise about what's expected of them.
Also, your employees will be more likely to communicate well if they feel that they have a firm grasp of the message you are trying to impart to them, and when you use simple, concrete language, it’s easy for everyone to get the gist of the message. This helps to encourage ideas, questions, comments, and feedback from your employees.
Use this type of language everywhere, even when communicating your company vision and mission (whether as part of your corporate training or by making it a regular reminder to employees).
When your mission and your vision are clear, it makes it easier for everyone to work together towards common goals. This makes it easier for employees to communicate effectively with one another and with management to work towards achieving those important objectives.
Internal communication will allow you to keep your employees up-to-date on any changes in your company, the progress you're making, and your plans. Whether this is through a weekly newsletter or quarterly company meetings, you need to create an open dialogue.
The pandemic caused a lot of organizations to rethink the way they conduct internal comms, with 68% of respondents stating that it has improved the way management and employees communicate.
Source: KPMG CEO Outlook
Great communication begins with great leaders like you. And to ensure great communication, leadership must establish a culture of open internal comms so that they set a standard for every other type of communication within the company.
If employees feel they can easily communicate with upper management, as well as other team members, it contributes to increased productivity, higher engagement, and improved overall results.
Another great way to create open dialogue is to keep your door open or schedule a time to talk.
Either way, this encourages employees to feel comfortable bringing any issues to your attention whenever necessary.
An open-door policy, in particular, can be immensely beneficial to your company's internal communication and motivate employees while simultaneously portraying you as an approachable leader.
Companies must also provide leadership at all levels with internal communication tools to get important messages out to their teams.
You need to adopt a multichannel approach that will help you effectively reach all employees regardless of where they are. If, for example, you’re working with an outsourced team of web creators on a project, you need to consider their means of communication: do they use certain software? Do they have good WiFi and a laptop for remote work?
Gone are the days when you could simply copy and paste messages to publish on multiple channels. Today, leaders need communication on multiple channels driven by the right technology so they can transform, enhance, and infuse value into their communications strategies.
Fortunately, there are a lot of workforce communication platforms you can use to facilitate effective communication in your organization.
These remote tools allow you to save time by streamlining workflows and automating many of the tedious tasks involved like expense management or payroll processing, as well as helping to document your communications.
They also integrate easily across different channels, with branded mobile apps, printed materials, digital signage, and internet messaging all working in unison allowing leaders to connect with, inform, keep all emails in one place, and build trust among their workforce.
By using such internal comms tools, you'll be able to reach your employees in the easiest and most convenient way, on their terms, using their preferred devices.
Best of all, multichannel strategies also provide you with crucial performance measurement tools that you need to succeed as a communicator.
Yet another action you can take to improve internal communication at your business is to make sticky information accessible.
Most organizations have their own set of "sticky" information or internal knowledge that all employees learn and understand, including protocol for certain procedures, different types of best practices, and other skills and processes. One way to help them learn this information faster is by including it as part of your training, creating videos and internal documents that they can easily access to use for reference.
However, communicating effectively also means communicating in ways that will reach your employees and colleagues effectively. Instead of making boring, long-length training videos, you could create podcasts of any length to introduce concepts that your employees can learn on-the-go without having to sit down and stare at a screen.
This will benefit the organization by making it a lot easier for new employees to function effectively and therefore become more productive much faster.
You need to help build strong communication between employees and their managers, as well as connections among team members working together.
This is something you can address during management training programs, employee onboarding, company meetings, etc. so you can find and implement ways to make it easier for everyone to communicate.
If there are any individual concerns, it’s easier to take care of them so employees are more likely to feel connected.
Another way to strengthen connections is to encourage water cooler talk.
Although some managers might view this as slacking, it's a great way to facilitate the creation of productive bonds between employees, as well as with those in management.
If you have not yet set up an online platform for internal communication, now is the time to do so. You can then use this platform to encourage employees to share knowledge and information.
For instance, employees might share industry trends and news regularly, and by having the opportunity to showcase what they know, employees will likely be more eager to stay involved with the endeavor.
This will not only create more purpose and energy behind the communication, but the sharing of such insights will likely prove extremely helpful to your business, especially when you consider that the majority of employees state that they feel like they miss out on company news.
While on the subject of encouraging sharing of information, you must also discourage one-way communication where you take a cascading approach to the way you share information.
This top-down way of communicating has a certain element of control that renders it ineffective for creating an environment where employees can be motivated to engage and advocate for your brand.
You can also use a suggestion box as a way to gather ideas and feedback anonymously. Although this may sound a bit old-school, it's a quick and simple (yet extremely effective) way to improve communication at work.
After all, not everyone is comfortable bringing up their concerns publicly, but you might just be able to facilitate honest and open feedback by using an anonymous suggestion box.
You can either use a real box and place a pad of paper next to it, or you can direct your employees to an online tool, such as an employee app. This virtual version of a suggestion box will serve the same purpose.
It's often a good idea to plan external events that allow employees to meet and mingle away from the office. When there are employees in the company who haven't met each other, it can hinder the communication process.
One way to avoid this is to plan some event, such as a happy hour after work, holiday party, etc. to give your employees something to look forward to and help to facilitate improved engagements, as well as stronger communication between everyone.
You might also use these events to recognize and reward employees that exhibit exceptional performance.
However, it’s also important to respect your employees’ personal space and private time. They may not want to go to events outside of work, especially if they’re not being paid to be there.
Fortunately, there are still ways to connect to employees outside of the office. Social networks are a great way to share information with employees while offering a space where they can develop authentic community with their workmates.
Additionally, it’s a great way to use graphic design tools to create memes full of all the inside jokes shared around the office. Share these around the company Facebook group and ask others to create their own. It’s a great way to turn a virtual hangout among co-workers into a truly creative space full of friends.
Robust internal communication practices will have a direct impact on employee engagement and retention, as well as your bottom line, which means it can be a revenue driver for your organization, instead of merely another business expense.
By implementing these 7 ways for improving internal communication in the workplace, it will net you a ton of benefits, including improved employee alignment, increased engagement, and better employee performance.
You'll also be able to build trust, boost company culture, and improve your overall brand image. Furthermore, a solid internal communication system makes for better crisis management, decreased security risks, and increased feedback that will help you propel your company forward.
So, use the tips outlined in this article to start improving your organization's internal communications so you can start to enjoy all these and many other benefits.
Do you have any great ideas of your own for improving internal communications in your organization? Share this article on LinkedIn and give us your thoughts!
Ron Stefanski is a website entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business. You can learn more about him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com. You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin.
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