Internal communications are essential if employers want to maintain employee engagement and productivity. But too often, the focus is placed on customers and stakeholders. While it’s vital to keep your consumers up-to-date, you can’t afford to leave your employees out of the loop.
What is Internal Communication?
Before considering why an internal communication strategy should be included in any business plan, regardless of company size, we need to define what it is and what it accomplishes.
Internal communication promotes effective communication in an organization. Although effective communication varies between companies, the end goal stays the same: to produce and deliver messages in a way that’s quickly intercepted and correctly interpreted by the reader.
An internal communication strategy is only as effective as the leaders that implement it. If management is unable to deliver information across teams, it will be difficult for anyone to understand what they’re supposed to do and when. This creates a chaotic work environment.
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Why is Good Internal Communication so Important?
A well-oiled machine is more effective at completing a task than a broken one. Once you repair your internal communication strategy, you’ll instantly see the following benefits in your business.
Internal Communication Offers Your Employees a Holistic View
Most organizations take a top-down approach to internal communications, but without the bottom-up perspective, you create passive employees who only show up for a paycheck. Simply asking your employees what they want from your business lets them know their input matters.
Remember that your entry-level employees speak to your customers more often than management, meaning they can provide valuable insight. There could be a policy that’s slowing down your internal process, but only your employees will know why and how to possibly fix it.
Internal Communication Creates More Informed Employees
Humans are naturally curious, but they also know that asking too many questions could land them into trouble. Your employees want to be informed on what’s going on in your company because they want to know that their job is safe and that they’re performing to your standard.
When employees are informed of headcount changes, policy changes, events, and the overall health of your company, you create a sense of transparency, openness, and trustworthiness.
Internal Communication Improves Your Company Culture
Company culture happens organically, for better or worse. Without an internal communication strategy, employees won’t know who to speak to when they have a problem or how to start a project. If they’re also worried they’ll be reprimanded for asking, morale will decrease.
However, if you concentrate on building a cultural landscape in your emails, announcements, blog posts, and more, you’re telling your employees that you stand by your company culture. You have to follow through on your commitment to excellence to build trust in your employees.
Internal Communication Increases Employee Engagement
When employees are engaged, they’re less likely to quit their jobs. However, only 36% of US employees are actively engaged in their workplace. Employers can bring this percentage up by creating two-way conversations with employees whenever they’re initiating correspondence.
Unfortunately, you can’t just ask thoughtful questions to your employees and expect an honest answer. To make yourself more approachable, allow anonymous comments and feedback.
Internal Communication Alleviates Anxiety in Stressful Situations
Lack of information is scarier to your employees than bad news. While your employees will be upset if you have to lay them off, they’ll be livid if you string them along and act like everything’s fine. At the same time, you need to approach these topics with empathy and grace.
Your internal communication strategy should be equipped to tackle uncomfortable or life changing situations. When you’re delicate and thoughtful with how you respond to difficulties, you’ll earn your employee’s respect. You also don’t burn a bridge should you want to rehire.
Internal Communication Allows for Feedback and Discussion
As stated, your employees may be afraid to speak up in your organization, but it may have nothing to do with you. Your current employees may have had a bad experience with a past employer, so you can’t assume that your team will feel comfortable expressing themselves.
For this reason, you need to set up a channel for debate, discussion, and feedback within your internal communication strategy. Whether you use a discussion forum, polls, or surveys, you’ll want to encourage criticism and feedback from all of your employees and yourself.
Internal Communication Helps Employees Feel More Involved
Unless your employees are working their dream jobs, they likely find the concept of work dull or unfulfilling. Once again, this may have nothing to do with the employers they work for. Still, you don’t want morale to stay low, or your employees’ health and productivity will suffer.
You can tackle morale issues in your company by getting employees involved, but only if they want to. Not everyone will want to use your internal communication strategy to touch base with coworkers, and that’s okay. You can promote training programs or speaking events instead.