Most organisations place high stakes on communication. Interaction with the customers, communication with the suppliers, and media broadcasting all enjoy a high priority. But what about fostering a dialogue with the employees? Sadly, this is not much talked about in the business circles. Internal Communication is critical to an organisation’s success and cannot be overstated. In today’s age of hybrid work models, diverse career avenues, and workforce dynamics, it’s crucial that your team is informed, engaged and aligned with the goals of the organisation.
Effective internal communication fosters a positive work culture, boosts employee morale and increases productivity. An effective strategy begins internally and resumes externally. Building blocks of clear policies and practices must be laid to ensure a healthy environment in the workforce. A certificate course in senior management will give you a comprehensive understanding of basic principles of organisational practices.
Steps to Reinforce an Effective Internal Communication Plan
Examine the situation and identify the triggers
Before you start chalking out a plan and implementing it, you need to understand the organisation's communication needs. Comprehend why your organisation is a driving force behind a particular type of change. This is a crucial aspect of developing an internal communication plan. Identify the cause of this change and what new development must be put into place to successfully implement it.
Recognise the stakeholders
Before executing your communication plan, you need to recognise different roles and stakeholders who will be impacted by the change. You need to segregate different types of audiences and design a tailor-made message for them. Every group of stakeholders will have particular needs and will require various levers to motivate them. Many leaders make this grave mistake by focusing their energies on key decision-makers and disregarding certain sections altogether.
Decide on communication channels
Take the most effective channel into consideration for communicating with the employees. Don’t create roadblocks that could lead to misunderstanding. Develop materials that can help leaders be involved in the process of change and encourage their team members.
Develop a systematic schedule
The execution of an effective internal communication strategy depends on diverting your efforts towards the organisation's transformational change. Strategic execution and impact will be amplified when organisational leaders are aligned on common goals and responsibilities. An internal communication strategy with a timeframe will help everyone develop a plan of action and its time of implementation. Determine how and when you will interact with your employees. Give importance to the timeframe of important events such as product launches or changes in organisational hierarchy.
Measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Making a schedule is just the first step. You will have to find a way to make sure that all key players work in tandem to realise the communication goals of the organisation. To measure the success of your endeavours, you will need to analyse metrics and measure progress.
Types of Internal Communication
Management-to-employee communication gives importance to organisational hierarchy and disseminating information from the top order to employees in the workforce. This method focuses on the delivery of information throughout the organisational structure. Each level collects information from the upper management until it reaches the echelons of the company. It develops better connections within the workforce because productivity increases if you keep them in the loop about the current and future happenings in the company.
Employee-up communication or bottom-up communication starts from the bottom levels of the hierarchy and passes on critical information to the higher levels till it reaches the leader of the organisation. This type of communication requires cooperation and collaboration from the entire workforce. The inclusion of the entire staff, their innovative ideas, and feedback builds a vibrant and conducive work atmosphere. These two-way processes help you in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere where all the employees are heard.
It is important to have a positive relationship with members of the workforce, it’s equally essential to have a cordial relationship with fellow employees. Since members of the staff work in a team, it’s imperative to have solid peer-to-peer communication. Educate your employees on the importance of peer-to-peer communication and present them with avenues to work on their communication skills and interpersonal skills to foster a positive relationship with their workmates.
Crisis communication is a crucial type of internal communication. It refers to the processes and strategies the organisation should employ for effective communication during times of crisis. Therefore it is necessary to send the appropriate information to the concerned individuals at the right time in a fast, effective and efficient manner.
Change communication is an indispensable part of the change management process which helps the employees to understand what to expect from organisational changes and how it will affect them. It helps the stakeholders to understand new initiatives and helps them to move to a better organisation in the near future. Whether you are enforcing changes by implementing the latest technological trends, best practices for administration or a combination of all the above, effective communication is important for a smooth progression.
Cultural communication refers to the unique method in which the organisation communicates with its employees, conveys information, encourages them to voice their opinions and keeps them involved in the matters of the company. If you wish to boost employee productivity and drive the organisation towards growth and prosperity, this is a significant type of communication that should be implemented in the organisation. Cultural communication includes everything from company goals, vision, and mission to the onboarding and hiring process.
Benefits of Developing Internal Communication Channels
When employees are well-engaged, they are more productive, happy and loyal to the organisation. There is a stark difference between the words ‘Engagement’ and ‘Communication’. There is an organisational stream where the leaders deliver key messages. The internal communication strategy is often a two-way dialogue between the leaders of the organisation and the members of the workforce. This flow of information shouldn’t be underestimated and ignored.
Internal communication can do wonders for staff retention. It has a positive impact on employee communication. The staff who don't feel engaged tend to feel a disconnect with the upper management. With a solid internal communication strategy in place, the staff members can be kept in the loop with the activities within the organisation.
Employees contribute to the smooth functioning of the business
Innovation is essential for the success of every organisation. When the employees in the workforce contribute to suggesting new ideas, the business outcomes are transformed. Innovative ideas always don’t come from the higher management, the support staff can also make a huge difference. For that to happen, good internal communication channels should be in place. When good feedback channels are made available, you will discover that employees are more than willing to contribute to the growth of the organisation.
Channel of Understanding
It’s essential that company values and mission are put forth in the rightful way. Poor delivery of information can bring more harm than good creating an unproductive environment. The company messages need to be delivered with the help of appropriate communication channels tailor-made to suit the needs of the organisation. How effectively it is conveyed has weight more than the message itself when it comes to comprehending the message.
The staff in the workforce are perhaps the biggest advertisers of the company. In fact, the customers recognise the voice of the employees in comparison to the voice of the CEO. The internal communication strategy will impact how the employees communicate with the customers. Employees who promote the company will add a layer of credibility, faith and trust in the products or services.
Leading the change
Change is rife in the business world. However, it’s also susceptible to problems. When a new development misfires it brings a bad outcome to the organisation. Make appropriate changes in the internal communication to divert the change in favour of the company. A strong communication strategy is the need of the hour especially when it comes to implementing a major change or development. Focused, unambiguous communication will help to reduce the internal and external rifts. A Chief Executive Officer course is perfect for training you to take your leadership to the next level and preparing you to face challenges.
When you grant privileges and power to the employees to make key decisions, you are empowering them to make the right choices to become ideal employees. By fostering a culture of decision-making rather than imposing stringent rules, you place your trust in the staff. Employees become more engaged and take accountability knowing that the leader of the organisation has placed belief in their abilities.
When it comes to complying with the laws, the company should leave no stone unturned to address legal responsibilities. Ultimately, it is the requirement of the law that your strategy is the best fit. The onus lies on the leaders to effectively communicate the matters of legislation and corporate law. Health and safety developments must be conveyed in a way that is clear and understandable. Internal communication is important when unexpected challenges erupt.
Practices to Build Effective Internal Communication
Examine the internal communication network
Miscommunication between the management and the employees leads to wastage of resources. Start by examining the effectiveness of internal communication practices in place. During the assessment, there may be problems that you need to solve in order for the communication channels to be clear and consistent.
Choosing the appropriate tools
There is a huge repository of technological tools you can use to establish communication within your organisation. Before inclining towards the latest trends, understand the functions of your internal communication tool that can address your particular needs. Recognise tools that can cater to a wide range of audiences existing within your organisation each with different preferences of communication channels. Avoid burdening your staff with unwanted communication channels.
Ensure Clarity, Consistency and Conciseness
When there is a surge of unnecessary messages that don’t add value, employees ignore all internal communication. Miscommunication or communication devoid of transparency can cultivate a toxic work culture. Therefore it is essential to find a balance that would satisfy the employees and at the same time not compromise the core values and ethics of the organisation. Create a regular communication channel so that the team members feel belong and have a clear understanding of when the messages will be conveyed. Maintain consistency in the messages and keep them brief and to the point. The messages in all channels should align with the vision and mission of the organisation. Employees identify themselves with higher management when there is consistent and regular communication.
Employee Onboarding and Training
The hiring process must be smooth for the new employees and include a comprehensive review of the brand narrative, specific messages and values. Even a robust corporate culture can be attenuated by unprepared employees. Dedicate time and allocate resources to make sure that the higher brass can have access to training modules so they can effectively share information with their team members. A series of CEO training programs can help you assemble a high-functioning team and hire the right people for the job.
Encourage Feedback and Dialogue
Regular communication can help the organisation adhere to its goals, build new strategies in place, and improve mutual interactions and conflict aversion. Providing an outlet for feedback acknowledges the contribution of the employees. Surveys, interactive Q&A, team team-building activities encourage the employees to give their input for the growth of the organisation. This fosters a healthy exchange of ideas and at the same time gives the organisational leaders an insight into the workings of the organisation.
Form Compelling Brand Narratives
Create an interesting internal communication channel and engage the staff in a productive way. Understand your team’s requirements and needs while developing a channel. Even Though there is an affinity for internal communication to become highly strategic and tactical, the brand story and identity should be an integral part of the operations.
External Communication and its importance
External communication is the transfer of information between a business and an external entity outside the organisation to build a positive image and create brand awareness at large. Every corporation needs to foster favourable relationships within the business ecosystem to achieve its goals.
- Communicating essential information - External communication is considered a medium for other businesses and people that conduct operations outside the corporation. It facilitates information passing to customers, investors, vendors or other concerned people.
- Image Building - The success factor of any business does not solely depend on the revenue but also on how it is perceived by other customers and stakeholders. With the aid of external communication, the organisation can build its image, and workplace culture through different modes of communication like press releases, media-related articles and email newsletters.
- Potential Customers - By exploiting various social media sites like Facebook, and Linkedin, corporations can create awareness of their goods or services to their audience as these are cost-effective strategies to reach different segments of the audience.
Key External Communication Strategies
Understand your audience
You can make use of the best resources and put an effective plan to action, but none of them will bear fruitful results if you don’t know your audience and how you are communicating with them. The different audience segments in external communication strategy are -
- Investors and Shareholders - People who form the external part of the company and are partly responsible for the growth of the business.
- Influencers and Partners - Individuals who want to collaborate with the company to achieve business outcomes.
- Customers and Clients - The people who invest in the goods and services rendered by the organisation.
Select the right platform
The more you understand the needs of your target audience and the platform they are the most active in, you will be able to foster a relationship with them. There are many platforms to disseminate information and selecting the right one that can build long-lasting relations and improve ROI.
Deliver real value
External communication is an integral part of a company’s image and reputation. You should be strategic about what you want to bring to the table and support it with relevant data and results. One won’t achieve tangible results if your main aim is to dedicate a lot of time and resources to your external communication strategy. Delivering real value to different segments of the audience is one thing you shouldn't take for granted.
Managing a business doesn’t mean being reserved or ousting your employees from having engaging conversations with external parties. When coming up with external communication strategies, carefully scrutinise different kinds of users and identify their preferences. View your customers, stakeholders, and investors and how they add value to your corporation.
Listen and respond
Don’t focus all your resources on conveying crucial messages and information that you forget to take into account the audience on the other side. Listen to the demands of your external network and acknowledge them in kind. The more you pay attention, the simpler it is to collate information about your company.
Corporations need to integrate internal and external communication strategies to survive in the business ecosystem in the long run. It’s essential to segregate the right communication tools for internal and external communication that are the best fit for your company. CEOs have the authority to build on internal and external communication. They need to assemble the right people, negotiate with stakeholders, hold key meetings with investors and most importantly engage with the employees.
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