Do you think that technical skills and expertise are the only factors that contribute to the success of an organisation? If yes, then think again.
It’s a scary number, but luckily, handling internal communication in your organization doesn’t have to be mission impossible. It requires a long-term strategy, but noticeable employee performance and engagement results will start showing up as soon as you shed light on internal communication.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand everything you need to know about internal communication, why it matters, and how you can improve it.
What Is Internal Communication?
Internal communication is how employees and teammates connect with each other in an organization. Effective internal communication ensures that everyone is on the same page, from junior-level employees to CEOs.
When done right, internal communication can result in higher employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction levels.
What Is Internal Communication in Business Communication?
In business communication, internal communication is concerned with maintaining an effective flow of information across different business departments and within each separate department.
However, when someone hears the term “business communication”, they’d probably think of boring, long-format Outlook emails that are jacked up with tasks and dissatisfaction expressions.
However, that’s not really how it should be. After all, the whole point of improving internal communications is to make everyone’s job easier, ultimately boosting productivity and increasing revenue.
Presentations, 5-minute meetings, and even empathetic emails can all be effective ways to do business communication internally.
Why Is Internal Communication Important for Your Business?
There are countless benefits of implementing effective internal communication strategies for your business, which include:
- Increased Productivity and Engagement. Ensuring that everyone in the organization is on the same page boosts employee engagement and productivity. Every single person in the organization should feel like they have a role in everything.
- Better Crisis Management. With efficient internal communication, everyone will be aware of problems as soon as they arise, ensuring that corrective actions are taken as quickly as possible.
- Satisfied Customers. Effective communication will result in higher customer satisfaction levels since it’ll improve their overall experience.
It’s also worth noting that technology has made a huge impact in the workplace, especially in recent years and after the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, dependence on video conferencing apps like Skype and Zoom has increased dramatically due to the rise in the number of remote workers.
Some companies even take it to the next level by incorporating digital signage in the workplace. It can be as simple as a big monitor that displays announcements, important decisions, employee recognition, and meeting times in an organised and visually pleasing way.
How to Build an Effective Internal Communication Strategy?
The first step that you can do to improve internal communication at work is to build an effective internal communication strategy. Doing internal communications right won’t happen overnight; it requires incremental long-term efforts, which is why setting up a strategy is essential.
Building a successful internal communication strategy gives you the opportunity to create a well-thought-out plan to share with your employees. You don’t want to make changes that will confuse your employees and even make internal communication more challenging for them.
It’s also essential that you keep these considerations in mind when setting the foundation of your internal communication strategy:
- Internal Communications Best Practices. Some of the best practices of internal communication are consistency, providing feedback channels, integrating metrics and KPIs, being transparent and empathetic, and encouraging collaboration.
- Internal Communication Goals. Setting clear goals for your company’s internal communication strategy is crucial to measure its success. On the other hand, creating open-ended plans will get you nowhere.
- Internal Communication Tools. With an internal communication tool, you can tackle many of the root causes of poor internal communication, like distractions, unreliable channels, and short attention spans. This tool can be an app, software, or even hardware like digital signage solutions.
- Internal Communication Types and Channels. There are five types of internal communication in business communication, which include:
- Management: managerial-level communication that typically involves results, strategies, stakeholder relationships, and long-term goals
- Remote: Communication through digital or traditional channels like social media, telephone, email, video sharing, and text messages
- Team: Communication between team members working on the same project
- Face-to-Face: Direct in-person discussions between colleagues that involve updates, tasks, and goals
- Peer: Casual chats between colleagues to share information
- Internal Communications Apps. With dedicated mobile apps, employees can stay engaged and communicate easily with each other. There are many apps for that, but of course, you can create a custom app for your organization.
- Internal Communications Software. Internal communication software allows for more efficient communication with the use of AI and other technologies that automate repetitive tasks and ensure that messages reach the right person at the right time. For example, if you want to send a message related to PR, the software will automatically ensure that everyone working in PR receives the message or information.
- Internal Communications Platform. A cloud-based workforce communications platform can be an excellent replacement for your company’s outdated intranet that employees properly rarely use. It often includes multiple channels for your employees to use.
What Are the Common Causes of Problems in Internal Communications?
Sometimes, even if you invest in improving your company’s internal communications, problems still pop up here and there. Poor communication can result in major losses that can be in the form of a high turnover rate, money, or resources.
There are several reasons why your company’s internal communication strategy may not be working well, which include:
- Improper On-Boarding for New Employees. A long, overwhelming onboarding process for new employees could slow things down and make effective communication more challenging.
- Lack of Transparency. This is one of the classic reasons why internal communication often fails in organizations. When the top management takes key decisions that will shape up the company’s future, employees should be informed about them immediately.
- Unsatisfied Customers. If your customers aren’t happy, you’ll probably get a ton of customer complaints regularly. Too many complaints may disrupt the workflow and cause communication problems among your employees.
- Poor Result Monitoring and Measurement. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. For example, suppose you implemented a new communication method to keep your employees aware of meeting times. In that case, you need to measure how many of your employees attend the meeting on time and compare it to previous results.
- Remote Working Challenges. Whether all or some of your employees work remotely, you can’t ignore their needs. Since remote communication often lacks the verbal and behavioural cues of face-to-face interactions, it may result in a communication gap.
- Unrealistic or Vague Managerial Requests. Management decisions that are too generic or unrealistic will probably lead to nowhere. Employees usually need something actionable to work on, not some sporadic ideas that lack relevance.
How Can Internal Communication Be Improved?
Here are some of the steps that you can take to improve internal communication in your organization:
- Take the Initiative. You can’t establish a culture that values internal communication without assessing your own communication skills first. Ask yourself and your colleagues or employees if you’re a good communicator and whether there’s anything you can do to communicate your ideas and share information more effectively.
- Talk With Your Employees. There’s no better way to pump up internal communications in your organization than to talk to your employees and hear from them. You can ask them questions like: “What are your biggest communication challenges?”, “How do you think you can be more engaged in the organization?”, and “What is your opinion about the company and the work that’s being assigned to you?”.
- Reassess Your Strategy on a Regular Basis. Not all communication strategies will fit in all organizations. Setting a strategy is just the beginning of improving your company’s internal communication. You still need to monitor the results and come up with ideas on how to improve them.
- Reward Your Employees. Giving credit where it’s due is an excellent way to communicate openly with your employees. If you only talk to them about getting tasks done faster but fail to recognize their efforts later on, they’ll subconsciously link your communication efforts to hard work exclusively.
- Avoid Burnouts. Asking too much from your employees will lead to burnouts, which will negatively affect your company’s internal communication goals. Instead, give your employees enough time to recharge.
- Use Content Creation. Making content creation an integral part of your employees’ work culture can do wonders for internal communication. With content, your employees will get the chance to communicate more with each other, ultimately improving internal communication and performance.
- Avoid Relying on Top-Down Communication Excessively. While top-down communication makes it easier for you, it can backfire when it comes to making your employees feel engaged. Your best bet is to make internal communication go both ways in your company. In other words, you need to hear what your employees have to say as much as you want them to receive your message.
- Make Time for Video Conferences. If you have remote workers, it’s important that you schedule regular video conferences with them to catch up on progress and learn whether they have any concerns or needs.
How to Build a Better Company Culture With Internal Communications?
Your company’s culture may involve several core values and beliefs, and by emphasizing the importance of internal communication, your company’s culture will bloom.
There are dozens of techniques that can help you adopt a culture that values internal communication. For example, you can establish a direct line of communication between leadership and employees. It can be as simple as adopting an “open door policy”, where employees can communicate directly with CEOs and key people any time they want.
Additionally, you might want to consider collecting feedback from your employees regularly. This can be very beneficial if you’re still building your internal communication strategy, as it’ll help you measure the results of your efforts.
It’s also recommended that you keep communications on a single platform. This will make it easier for your employees to stay updated on everything. The less complex your company’s internal communications are, the more effective they’ll be.
On a side note, don’t be afraid to make internal communications less formal. For example, it’s OK for employees to discuss work-related topics with instant messaging apps if they’re comfortable with it. However, this shouldn’t be encouraged excessively so that the employees don’t feel like they’re obligated to communicate on these apps.
The Changing Role of Internal Communications in Corporate Communications
In recent years, the role of internal communications in corporate communications has shifted from being a luxury to becoming a necessity. This is because technology has taken over the workplace, making everything go at a much faster pace.
In such a scenario, a lack of effective internal communication can be disastrous, and it’ll cost your company money.
What Is the Need for Internal Communication in Schools?
There are multiple ways that effective Internal communication in schools can be important, which include:
- Come Up With New Policies. By utilizing internal communications, schools can develop new policies that impact the whole system. It can be challenging for teachers and administrative employees to go along when it comes to policy creation. Still, with a solid internal communication foundation, policies will be much easier to integrate.
- Make It Easier for Students to Succeed. Most students already don’t like going to school that much, and a lack of internal communication can make things worse. By ensuring that key information reaches all students at the right time, they’ll feel more aware of what’s happening at school. They should also be allowed to express their thoughts and needs.
- Dodge Wrong Information. Poor internal communication in schools may result in messages or announcements reaching the students, teachers, and parents differently or at the wrong times. This could result in things like misinterpreted assignments, missed classes, and poorly organized school trips.
Internal Communication Trends
The current trends in internal communication encompass:
- Highlighting the Most Important Messages. Employees receive and give a ton of information daily, which can be overwhelming—this results in missing out on important information that should be prioritized. There are multiple ways to get through this, like using priority circles or pop-up alerts.
- Employee Health and Well-Being Matter. Many employees obsess so much about work and results to the point that they compromise their personal health and well-being. However, communicating with your employees about this and supporting them can make a world of difference.
- Emphasizing Data Collection and Analysis. Companies now give their employees access to key data by means of data measurement and analysis tools. This makes it easier to assess the impact of internal communication at work.
- Real-Time Information Has Become More Important Than Ever. In a world where uncertainty is the new norm, real-time information has become an integral part of any business. A single crisis that’s left unchecked could make your business go bankrupt.
- Boosting the Company’s Brand Internally. Many businesses are too consumed with external brand recognition that they fail to strengthen their brand internally. You can easily improve your brand by adopting a healthy work environment and culture.
What Is the Difference Between Internal and External Communication?
The key distinction between internal and external communication is that the former is concerned with inter-organizational communication between employees and managers, while the latter involves communication with another party. That party can be a business partner, supplier, auditor, or customer.
It’s essential that you pay attention to both internal and external communication for your business to succeed. Failing to involve your external business partners with clear and transparent messages and updates may make you lose them in the blink of an eye.
External communication also plays a critical role in public relations and B2B (Business to Business) companies.
What Is Effective Internal Communication?
Effective communication is all about being clear, concise, honest, aware, and transparent. Since teamwork is one of the pillars of organizational success, poor communication causes dispersion among the company’s business functions, managers, employees, and stakeholders.
So that was a detailed overview of the benefits of internal communication and how it can be important for your business.
Effective internal communication will make your employees happier and feel more engaged in what’s happening at work. There’s no better way to make an employee innovate than good internal communication.
Of course, it’ll take a while for you to fully adopt a culture that emphasizes internal communication, especially if you feel resistance from some or most of your employees.
However, don’t lose hope if that happens, as everyone will reap the benefits of good internal communication down the line.