Communication is key to running a successful business. It ensures that your company operates smoothly and without unnecessary and avoidable hiccups caused by miscommunication. It provides clarity within the organization and majorly impacts workplace productivity, collaboration, and engagement.
According to Salesforce, 86% of executives identify ineffective collaboration and communication as major causes of business failure. It wastes time and money, strains business relationships, and causes tensions and conflicts that ultimately lead to failure. That is why companies must have an effective internal communication strategy in place to engage employees and keep everyone focused on what is important. But what exactly is internal communication and why is it so important for businesses?
What is Internal Communication?
Internal communication (IC) revolves around encouraging productive communication within a company. Its objective is to facilitate the efficient exchange of information and messages across all levels of the organization, from management to employees, as well as between the different departments. It delivers information that is needed to ensure that everyone can perform and fulfill their jobs and duties.
Internal communication can come from a variety of sources. It can be transmitted verbally or electronically, depending on the message and purpose. Here are 5 common sources of internal communication in business:
- Management – Communication from people who disseminate information such as strategies, company performance, internal and external data, and other necessary information.
- Team – Communication between colleagues that collaborate to pursue a common end goal.
- Face-to-face – One-on-one communication/briefing between individuals on tasks and other situations.
- Peer – Informal communication/discussions among co-workers to share information.
- Resources – Tools used in communication like the intranet, email, mobile/telephones, etc.
6 Reasons Why Internal Communication is Important
Engages Your Workforce
Internal communication engages and brings your team together by encouraging thoughtful and interactive conversations and discussions. It allows your employees to fully understand the company’s objectives and actively participate in developing plans and strategies to achieve them. This flow & exchange of ideas promotes communication among your people, making them feel more involved and recognized. Further, employees who feel valued and understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture go above and beyond and work harder to push themselves further, increasing overall engagement and productivity.
Keeps Your Team Informed
Internal communication is critical for keeping everyone up-to-date and also maintaining workplace transparency. No one is kept in the dark when information is accessible and free-flowing.
A well-defined internal communication strategy ensures that the proper message is conveyed to the right audience, whether it be about upcoming events, new policy announcements, engagement programs, or others.
Consequently, aside from supplying the right information to the right people, strong internal communication also ensures that employees are not subjected to information overload. They save time by not having to write and read multiple emails, notes, and comments, which may cause unnecessary anxiety and apprehension among some employees.
Helps Build Company Culture
One of the most important things that internal communications can do is to help build a sense of culture within your organization. Everyone in your company must understand what the values and goals of the business are, and they can only do so if they are communicated to them regularly. Internal communications can also help reinforce those values and goals as well as help people understand how they can contribute to those goals.
Additionally, when employees from different departments get to know each other, they feel more connected to the company as a whole. This leads to a sense of community within organizations, which can improve employee satisfaction and engagement levels.
Discover how you can create a company culture that your employees will love.
Makes Your Team Stronger
When it comes to well-functioning teams, communication is everything. Teams that encourage open communication among members are more likely to trust each other, feel more at ease with one another, and be able to work together and collaborate more successfully. This symbiotic work relationship prepares teams to act proactively in whatever situation may arise. Furthermore, it also shapes employees to become more confident to accept responsibility and be more accountable for their actions.
Establishes a Channel for Feedback
Internal communication helps create an open channel where employees can share their thoughts on issues that affect them as well as their work environment. This allows organizations to identify areas where changes need to be made so they can make things better for everyone involved.
Conversely, internal communication systems should be set up in such a way that anyone in the company can communicate with management without fear of retaliation or judgment from their peers (or anyone else). This will help managers get better insight into what is going on within their teams, which is key for making informed decisions about everything from strategy and product development to staffing levels and budgets.
Reduces Internal Conflict
Working together towards a common goal is tough enough in itself, but when there’s no clear direction from above or conflicting opinions from below, it can lead to frustration, misunderstanding, and even conflict. Internal communication helps to avoid these problems by ensuring that everyone is aware of what’s going on at all times, not only in their department or area but also across the entire company. This means that everyone will be able to see how their actions impact others, which makes it easier for them to work together without stepping on each other’s toes.
Internal Communication Best Practices
Envision and Plan Your Communication Strategy
In drawing up a strategy for your internal communications, you must understand the specific communication needs of your organization. Knowing what you want to achieve for your company starts with assessing the current state of your company’s communication, and determining what is working and what requires improvement. The goal should always be to keep the business on track and to increase organizational effectiveness.
An effective internal communications strategy can either be straightforward or intricate and should answer the following questions:
- What is the main objective of your company or project?
- Who are your communications intended for?
- What exactly are people being asked to participate in?
- When and how frequently do you send messages?
- Which channel is best suited to the content and audience?
Make a Two-Way Channel for Feedback
Make sure that your employees’ voices are heard. More often than not, corporate internal communications strategies place too much emphasis on transmitting directives/messages from the top down, which only allows for a one-way flow of communication and prevents employees from making themselves heard. This is especially true and difficult for dispersed workforces where communication is often segmented, leading to a higher risk of employee disengagement.
Remember, regular feedback from colleagues can help you to keep your organization on track, develop new strategies, create good products or services, improve trust among team members, and much more.
Keep a Steady Flow of Communication
When discussing workplace ideas such as products and procedures, it is critical to keep the information flowing. In other words, ensure that accurate and trustworthy information is easily accessible and that systems and processes are in place to collect and share information from and to all workers across all departments. This will ensure that your team is always informed and up to any task heading their way.
In addition, avoid the hazards of a stop-start approach, in which you overwhelm your staff with messages followed by a long period of quiet and inactivity. This inconsistency will lower engagement levels which can lead to employees feeling ignored during periods of silence.
The best way you can maintain this is to consider planning and plotting your schedule of announcements, updates, and messages into a project tracker. That way, you can constantly streamline and adjust what you want to put out, instead of just erratically sending them to your audience.
Avoid Complex and Excessive Communication
Beware of bombarding your staff with too much information. As mentioned earlier, information overload denies employees the time to take in and process information, which severely impacts knowledge retention. Additionally, it adds to the overall stress and burnout of the workers, which hinders their productivity and efficiency.
Instead, aim for quality over quantity. A simple and direct message when providing information to your employees should allow them to process information faster. Also, it ensures that messages are clear and easy to understand to avoid mishaps and miscommunication.
Employ a Dedicated Communication Tool
Many companies do not offer a dedicated communication platform for devising their internal communications strategy. Instead, they primarily rely on traditional messaging services such as SMS or WhatsApp, resulting in a lack of personalization and an intrusion into workers’ private lives.
Albert is a mobile employee communication solution that assists managers and leaders in connecting and interacting with their employees. It enables open communication and helps build a company culture that prioritizes employee engagement by encouraging internal communication. Continue reading to learn more about Albert.
Ultimately, internal communication is crucial to the success of a business. If everyone is on the same page and knows what’s going on with their organization, everyone is more likely to feel like they’re a valuable part of something bigger—which is vital for employee satisfaction. And because satisfied employees are more productive and dedicated, implementing a solid internal communication plan can pay rewards in terms of your bottom line and overall business success.