The Impact & Intricacies of Internal Communication
Make no mistake about it, internal communication is the cornerstone of your organisation. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve been on the receiving end of poor internal communication. Which may have left you feeling frustrated, let down, left out, or even angry. Miscommunication in the workplace is one of, if not the biggest, cause of rework.
No matter how big or small your business is, internal communication is vital to connect and engage your employees. It has a direct impact on employee productivity, collaboration across the organisation, employee motivation, and employee engagement.
So what? Well, the research stats on the benefit of investing time and effort into nailing good internal communication speak for themselves.
- Engaged employees are more productive and successful in their roles. With Employee productivity increasing by 20 to 25% in organisations where employees are connected
- A study by Gallup found that sales increase 20% when employees are actively engaged and profitability increases by 21%.
The question to ask is… are you missing out on productivity and profitability improvements, if you aren’t putting time aside to proactively plan your internal communications regularly?
Internal Communications Planning Process
In terms of approaching internal communications here is a process that I’ve used in many pervious roles that you might find a useful. It’s a good idea to do this annually and revisit it every 6 months.
- Do an internal comms audit – list out all of the different types of internal communication that goes on in your company. Start by taking a look at your “we’ve always done it this way” practices
- Identify key channels and types of communication – get clear on what the channel is used for, the audience (does it reach everyone)
- Identify who does the communication and who owns the channel. They are often not the same person
- Create a comms calendar for the year. Think about what your key themes are for the coming year and events you’ll need to promote – this should align with your business plan
- Plan for what you’ll need to react to. Your crisis and change comms that appear without notice
- Get creative. Don’t rely solely on words, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read text. Ask for ideas on how can you be more creative in communicating to really get people’s attention
- Measure engagement and check for understanding. Line mangers have to be brought into the internal communication channel mix. They have to be clear about their roles and responsibilities in checking for understanding and signposting employees for clarity when this does not happen
- Seek feedback and improve. Via pulse and EES surveys. Review and learn then start again.
Other tips to remember that sounds obvious but are easily forgotten are:
Remember leaders’ tone will ripple down. If you are a leader make sure you communicate on purpose and with purpose. Your people will notice everything you do and say. And defiantly don’t go missing even if bad news is coming soon.
Identify internal champions . Who are the main influencers internally at your company? Find them, then supply them with tools to engage and empower them to take ownership.
Make sure everyone reads the important stuff. Some company news is absolutely critical and needs to be read by everyone. Could you use mandatory reads and push notifications to highlight critical updates?
Recognise the contributions of staff to improve morale. Birthdays, work anniversaries and accomplishments (big and small) are important things to recognise. Don’t just tell employees their work matters—show them. By making a small investment and rewarding employees in a meaningful way, you’ll inspire loyalty and harder work. Something as simple as a handwritten thank you note can go a long way. Doing this publicly even when working remotely, is a great way to do this. Just make sure if you are doing any of this, that you do it consistently so employees feel it’s fair.
If you need help with internal communications in your organisation please get in touch. We are on hand to help with creating internal communications frameworks, plans, strategies and calendars to align with your over arching business objectives. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation chat.