Most businesses place a high value on communication. Connecting with customers, networking with suppliers, broadcasting to the media – all of these interactions will be near the top of the priority list. But engaging with employees? Sadly, not so much. Internal communications are just as critical to business success, but they’re often undervalued.
There are many reasons why around 60% of companies don’t have a long-term internal communications strategy in place. Often, there just hasn’t been time to invest in putting a strategy together. Or maybe it was put on the ‘to-do’ list but got pushed back and was eventually forgotten. Some companies explore options only to find they are prohibitively time-consuming or expensive. This doesn’t have to be the case, especially as the latest internal communications apps are both cost-effective and simple to implement.
Here at Talkfreely, we have identified the nine key benefits of internal communications. So, the next time your director asks “why should we bother with internal communications?”, you’ll know exactly how to answer.
The Benefit: Employees who feel valued and motivated
Everyone knows that you want employees to feel engaged if you’re going to get the best from them. But how is this actually achieved?
Although ‘engaging’ seems very similar to ‘communicating’, there is actually a world of difference between the two. Too often, there is a one-way information stream in place where leaders deliver organisational information. However, what an internal communications strategy will deliver is that vital two-way dialogue between leaders and employees.
To drive engagement, leaders need to show that they value feedback and discussion. Likewise, employees will need evidence that their voice is being heard. Then, you’ll have a workforce of highly engaged staff who know their views count.
The Benefit: Employees who feel loyalty and personal involvement
One of the key benefits of good internal communications is staff retention. Retention is becoming more and more of a challenge for employers. In fact, 67% of employers in the UK admit they find it difficult to retain staff.
Internal communication is the answer. Studies show that retention levels could be 44% higher through effective communication. Ultimately, employees who don’t feel engaged or involved tend to disconnect.
With a solid internal communications guide in place, you can make sure that employees at every level of the organisation feel like they’re ‘in the know’. You’re aiming for employees to feel like insiders who know almost as much about their employer as top decision makers within the organisation.
The Benefit: Employees contributing to the success of the business
With a good strategy, you’ll have internal communication channels in place that allow employees to contribute their own ideas.
Not all innovation has to come from the top down. Quite often, it’s staff on the shop floor who come up with some of the most ground-breaking ideas. They just need an opportunity to make their voice heard.
With good feedback channels made available, you’ll find employees are more than willing to offer suggestions and improvements. And once they start driving change and make it their own, you’ll also benefit from an uplift in engagement levels.
The Benefit: Leaders who are actively involved and easy to approach
Not all senior manager are natural communicators. They may be excellent at strategy, or analysing a spreadsheet, but that doesn’t mean they will easily disseminate information to staff in a way that resonates.
An internal communications strategy will put channels in place to facilitate this essential interaction. It’s vital for employees to see that all senior management are active, involved, approachable, and engaged.
By opening up the two-way dialogue, whether it’s via meetings, emails, or an internal communications app, you’ll be making your leaders accessible to everyone.
The Benefit: A clear channel of communication that puts over the right message
Company strategy, vision and values need to be communicated in the right way. In fact, poorly delivered information can be the source of harmful rumour, creating an unproductive work environment and discord between teams.
All company messages need to be delivered by the correct internal communications channels to suit their audience. How effectively a message is communicated is just as important as the message itself when it comes to understanding.
Alongside traditional channels such as emails, intranets and meetings, it’s worth considering an internal communications app. Often viewed as a super-channel for businesses, it offers a range of tools and channels accessed by a single device. Choose an app that offers the ability to share vital knowledge, gather feedback and deliver maximum clarity of message.
The Benefit: Employees who can’t resist talking up their company
Your staff are your biggest, most influential brand ambassadors. In fact, customers see the voice of your employees as more important than the voice of your CEOs. An internal communications strategy will harness this power to your advantage.
Your strategy can directly influence the way employees will communicate to customers. Typically, employees will adopt and reflect the tone set by you. Plus, they add that extra level of credibility. What you’re looking for is employees who actively promote your company through a genuine belief in the products or services.
It’s particularly effective when things go wrong. In times of negative media attention when you need all hands on deck to defend the organisation, your employees can make all the difference. An internal communications guide that encourages staff to project a positive external image is beyond value.
The Benefit: Employees who lead the change, rather than follow it
Change is an inevitable part of business today. However, it’s also fraught with problems. In fact, less than one in three planned changes take place successfully.3
A strong internal communications strategy is needed more than ever during periods of change. You need to employ effective techniques for communicating change to combat employee stress and loss of productivity.
Strong, unambiguous internal communications at this crucial time will help reduce the tensions. It is also helpful to facilitate company conversations via peer-to-peer discussions and department meetings. The more your employees feel involved, the quicker they will adapt. An internal communications plan will ensure staff feel part of the change, not subject to it.
The Benefit: A company culture that naturally adheres to legal requirements
When it comes to legislation, internal communication is no longer a nice-to-have. Without an internal communications strategy in place, you are in danger of ending up on the wrong side of the law.
Never forget, as an employer, there are responsibilities for your leaders to communicate effectively when it comes to legislation and employment law. Aspects such as health and safety must be communicated in a way that is clear, understandable and actionable.
Your internal communications strategy should always address your legal responsibilities as an employer. Ultimately, you are required by law to make sure your internal communication strategy is the best it can possibly be.
The Benefit: A company culture of collaboration and empowerment
A good company culture relies on internal communication, and vice versa. A company that has no secrets or hidden agendas will almost certainly have a positive company culture.
A strong internal communications strategy will ensure employees feel supported, appreciated and empowered. Clear channels of communication facilitating feedback and two-way discussion are essential for such a working environment to flourish.
You will find that free-flowing internal communications channels will encourage collaboration between leaders, colleagues and teams. The benefit? Improved effectiveness across the company a whole.