Over the last 30 years of working in various sectors of the economy including, legal consulting, banking & finance, oil & gas, telecommunications and business administration, I have observed a trend in internal communications. Several organisations do not pay sufficient attention to internal communications and this has led to low engagement levels with an impact on output and productivity. It should be a strategic tool in business.
Internal communication is very important and ensures a smooth flow of information in the organisation. All employees should be treated and considered as internal customers. This means their needs should be fulfilled with the same diligence, attention, and methods devoted to external customers. When internal communication is well designed, planned and implemented, it helps to build trust and drives employee motivation, loyalty and productivity. It enhances the employee value proposition.
Here are six simple things I believe will help to improve internal communication in an organization
- Internal communication in an organization is extremely important for superior business performance. For an organisation to function effectively, employees should feel that they can easily communicate with their team members as well as top management because this act contributes to productivity and the overall business results. When employees are actively engaged, they feel energized and enabled to contribute to the organisation and are willing to go the extra mile for the company. They trust the employer and are committed to the delivery of their tasks. They are also willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.
- Internal communication helps employees understand the vision, mission and strategic direction of the organisation and this will play a major role in the alignment and clarity of expectations and objectives that will drive performance. Regular communication by email or on an intranet portal on the strategic business direction and the attainment of company targets and achievements motivates employees to do more.
- Internal communication must be a two-way communication, top down and bottom up. All useful channels of communication should be leveraged and utilized to engage employees to meet the needs of the diverse group of people in the organisation. There should be formal channels of communication and informal ones.
- All organisations must have an internal communication strategy. An Internal Communications Strategy is a critical aspect of your company’s daily operations. It is about connecting and engaging with your most important asset- your people. Businesses don’t create value- people DO. One must be strategic and intentional about it and have a clear plan that is implemented and properly administered taking into account the demographics in your organisation to achieve the desired results.
- A key aspect of internal communication is information sharing. We all aspire and desire to grow and to learn. Providing an online knowledge sharing platform creates an opportunity for employees to share what they know. It enables employees to engage, to collaborate, solve problems and get to know their colleagues from other teams. It creates more energy and purpose behind communications and can also be great fun!
- The best practices to improve internal communication are careful planning and coordination. Develop a strategic and organised plan that spells out your objectives for the year with companywide goals. These goals will be for specific divisions, depts. and units. Outline the initiatives that will be used to achieve these goals. Outline the channels, the methods you will use to deliver the information (newsletters, emails, face to face, Microsoft lync, sms, email, intranet, roadshows, town hall meetings, radio etc). Ensure consistency and set standards and protocols for communicating. Determine the metrics you will use to measure success. Ensure you communicate UP to management as well as down. Encourage employees to speak up and be open to receiving feedback.
In conclusion, Effective internal communication can only be guaranteed when the following questions have been answered. How effective is the communication? Is it clear? Does it convey the right message? Does it have the right tone? Will the message be understood, accepted and achieve the objective of the sender? How can your employees be committed if they are lost, confused or disconnected? If you do not engage your employees and communicate effectively the rumour mill and whisper network is likely to thrive and that may have negative consequences for the business.
Step up your internal communication today!
Amina Oyagbola is the founder of WISCAR (Women in Successful Careers) with over 30 years’ experience in different fields in that has contributed to the Nigerian Economy and her passion to educate young career women is what led to this post. For more information, check out her website- www.aminaoyagbola.com