Once a luxury in the workplace, internal communication is now a necessity. However, the speed of change in organisations means many internal communication strategies are struggling to keep up. Furthermore, the new approach of ‘consumer employees’ compared to ‘job for life’ employees just a decade ago means it is even more crucial to deploy effective internal communication to keep staff retention and engagement levels high.
In many businesses, internal communication is not a priority. However, case studies have shown that organisations in the UK would be £50 billion better off if they made more of an effort with internal communication. With that in mind, is it time your organisation had a ‘Eureka!’ moment when it comes to internal communication?
If your internal communication strategy isn’t getting results, or, worse, is a detriment to your business then master internal communication properly by thinking ‘EUREKA!’.
EUREKA! For Your Internal Communication
Make sure your internal communication becomes a triumph by following these seven pointers to rebuild successful company communication.
E = ENGAGEMENT
So often, internal communication is considered a one-way information stream where leaders delivery organisational information. However, successful communication requires a two-way dialogue between leaders and employees.
Driving engagement is important, especially with the rise of remote workers. Currently, 43% of employees work remotely for some of their working time. However, these workers may be out of sight in the office but are still hungry for information. In fact, 75% of employees feel they miss information at work and, on average, employees spend ten hours a week hunting for information.
To drive engagement, leaders need to show that two-way dialogue is important. Employees will need evidence that their voice counts. Having leaders that are visible and accessible can help to drive engagement and feel that their views are at least being listened to if not taken on board.
One of the factors that directly correlate with employee engagement is leadership communication. However, this is often an area where organisations fall short. Typically, leaders are hired for their abilities in their role rather than for their effective communication skills. To drive engagement, Internal Communicators may be a welcome addition to your leadership team to help maximise engagement and create a problem-solving culture through organisational transparency and trustworthy communication.
U = UNDERSTANDING
Understanding is required from both the leaders and the employees. Internal communication will mean nothing to staff if they do not understand its purpose. For internal communication to be successful, the strategy needs to determine the audience, its preferences and the available channels for which to communicate with.
Communication needs to be clear and help everyone not only to understand the internal communication strategy but to share its vision as well as the values of the organisation as a whole. In many organisations, rumours can spread quickly creating an unproductive work environment and discord between teams. Internal communication has the opportunity to promote understanding, truth and honesty particularly when it comes to challenges and crises.
Information is power and having accessible, easy to understand information is critical. Remember, so often it isn't what you say but how you say it that aids understanding. The right communication channels are essential.
R = RETENTION
Staff retention is often a challenge for organisations. In fact, 77% of employers in the UK admit they find it difficult to retain staff. This is especially prevalent now where employment is ‘consumer-orientated’ where employees are happy to shop around for the best employment deal. Internal communication is often the answer. Studies show that retention levels could be 44% higher through effective communication.
Internal communication can be a great way to keep employees engaged, thus increasing retention rates. Furthermore, in-house communication, when delivered through the right format can provide employees with the positive motivators that can improve morale and work enjoyment.
Utilising internal communication to create a collaborative company culture can make the difference in employee retention rates.
E = EFFECTIVENESS
One of the biggest challenges for any internal communication is to measure its effectiveness. KPIs are essential to assess the success of internal communication in all of the formats and channels you use, whether it’s an app-based tool or a company-wide meeting.
Fortunately, there are many ways to measure effectiveness such as through active surveying, feedback mechanisms or utilising technology.
Of course, internal communication can play a significant part in the effectiveness of the organisation as a whole. With the right channels, internal communication can encourage collaboration and cross-team working. Ultimately, it can create an improved work environment, wherever your employees are based through connectivity.
K = KNOWLEDGE
Internal communication becomes essential when it comes to knowledge sharing. Staff need to know relevant information when there are changes or important announcements especially in relation to health and safety, IT, process changes and quality.
When there is too much ineffective communication, it can be hard for the important knowledge-sharing information to cut through the noise. Knowing how to communicate using the right channels is essential for knowledge to be shared with the right people at the right time. Get this right and employees can feel empowered with knowledge.
A = ADVOCACY
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. As employees focus their recruitment search on employers that reflect their value and identity, internal communication is a fantastic way to prove this.
Your internal communication can directly change the way employees will communicate to customers. Typically, employees will adopt and reflect the tone set by the organisation. If your business can get it right, then the organisation can reap significant rewards.
Furthermore, a positive construed external image that employees provide can be beneficial too. Internal communication can subtly help your employees to learn how to say the right things. As a result, it can help employees in times of negative media attention when you need all hands on deck to defend the organisation.
! = IT’S THE LAW!
Finally, communication is vital in the workplace because it is the law. 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.
When it comes to legislation, internal communication is no longer a nice to have; you have no choice in making sure your internal communication strategy is the best it can possibly be.
If you'd like to find out more about developing a successful communication strategy, then click here for (almost) everything you need to know.