A strong communications practice is a cornerstone of a successful organisation. The move to digital and hybrid work conditions has changed internal communication, and in many cases made it much easier.
Knowing how to make the most of these opportunities can help keep communication open in your organisation. Don’t get caught up with too many communication tools. This can confuse employees about where to find the latest information.
What do good internal communications look like?
The best internal communication strategies are ones that prioritise open dialogue and collaboration. They make use of multiple channels to ensure a good mix of news, feedback, essentials, fun and recognition.
Why are strong internal communications so important?
When internal communications are good, you can rest assured that your team is on the same page. A good internal comms plan can improve company culture and make employees feel more productive, collaborative, and engaged.
According to The Economist, 44% of workers surveyed experience project delays or failures due to employee communication barriers. Additionally, 31% of workers attribute these delays or failures to low morale. So why wouldn’t you want to make some improvements?
What are the best practices for great internal communication?
When updating your effective internal communication strategy, it’s important to remember a few key things.
1. Make sure your messages reach every employee
Don’t bother sharing news in one channel if you’re not sure it will reach everyone who needs to know. Take some time to work out how your various teams access information.
How often do employees on the front line check their email? Do your client-facing team members spend more time on their devices? Do you have a team in the field without access to email? Be sure that you know how everyone receives company communications and cater to each so that no one feels left out.
It’s a good idea to make sure everyone can use internal communication software to prioritse company news.
2. Ensure that you are consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to spreading information. If you save all your news up and dump it at once, you are likely to overwhelm your employees. When updates are regular, they’re easier to handle. And when they are dependable, they can also build trust.
Plan your communications out with the help of a project tracker and consider introducing a regular newsletter or bulletin.
Managers should share information individually, in a planned way, and avoid giving important updates in impromptu meetings. They should also ensure that that they share information consistently among multiple employees.
3. Offer feedback channels
Communication should never only flow one way. Important information should come from the top, but there should also be room for questions and feedback.
To simplify things, you can ask questions at meetings or use a communication platform for staff to talk and give feedback. Asking questions at meetings or using a communication platform can make things easier for everyone.
This allows staff to talk and give feedback in a more convenient way. The latter can open a valuable pipeline when it comes to insight. 70% of workers would share more if they could submit their thoughts and worries on a website for feedback.
4. Encourage cross-functional communication
It’s very easy for organisations to fall into communication traps where team members only chat to their peers. So, people in the sales team only ever communicate with other members of the sales team and so on. It’s great when teams have strong internal bonds, but it’s equally important to encourage interactions outside of those silos.
Cross-functional communication can offer many opportunities for improvement. When sales team members can communicate with marketing and delivery, it allows for smoother handoffs for everyone involved.
Research shows that when work is connected to the organisation’s purpose, 58% of employees are less likely to burn out. This highlights the increased importance of cross-functional communication.
5. Remember that transparency is key
When you’re creating an open and healthy environment for communication, it’s also essential that you keep transparency in mind. This means making sure you share all important news with everyone and not giving some teams more information than others.
Bad communication at work is often marked by confusion, inconsistency, and misunderstandings. To prevent these problems, it is important to make sure that you share news with all your teams promptly.
6. Don’t get too trigger happy
When you have many effective communication channels, it’s easy to overuse them. Don’t overwhelm your employees with too many messages, as they might lose interest and stop paying attention.
For announcements and updates, a weekly newsletter is probably about right. If you’re trying to get a conversation started among employees, then a couple of times a week might be alright. If you’re looking to give employees a shout out or little boost, then upping the frequency is fine.
7. Keep it straightforward
Limit the amount of messages you send and make them brief and concise. Keep it short and emphasise the main message to help staff understand and prevent them from quickly reading through.
You might have to improve how you communicate because how you share information is as important as the information itself.
8. Use internal comms as a way to celebrate good work
Internal communications can also be the perfect way to show recognition and appreciation for the efforts of your employees. Public recognition boosts motivation and satisfaction, and encourages people to pay attention to shared messages. Regularly recognise and celebrate achievements in your communication strategy.
You can do this ad hoc using communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, your intranet, or even a notice board. But you can make this process a lot more straightforward by using an employee recognition tool.
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