Communication in a workplace is increasingly vital to a company’s success, impacting employee engagement which in turns affects customer loyalty and public opinion of your brand. Turning a blind eye towards poor internal communication can irreparably harm a company. In this article, you will first find out why communication is important to the success of your organisation which will hopefully give you some inspiration into creating an internal communications strategy.
Why is internal communication important to an organisation?
Demographics are changing every generation with people becoming more critical about their workplace culture and how their employers listen and talk to them. There is less tolerance for office gossip and politics, and increased demand for collaborative teamwork, respect and transparency.
Clear lines of communication improve productivity, retains top talent and promotes employee wellbeing. Employees are far more engaged when information is shared freely, and they’re more aware of organisational news and decisions that affect their jobs.
Additionally, better communication is imperative for a healthy working relationship between managers and their teams as two-way communication develops trust and shows employees they are valued, respected members of your company.
It’s about dialogue — not monologue
Two-way and responsive communication is the guiding principle in effective communication. No one enjoys being talked at, least of all your employees. They want to feel listened to and valued. Which is why creating a dialogue is imperative to your organisation.
It used to be that companies filtered down news and updates in one-way communication with no recourse or conversation. However, with enterprise social intranets, communication has upgraded using familiar social tech tools that help engage employees.
News, opinions, ideas can be shared with immediate feedback — an important aspect, especially for Millennials and Gen Z workers who look for more feedback from their managers, compared to previous generations. Engagement has been ingrained in Millennials and Gen Z from an early age and as a result, they fully expect instant communication at their workplace. When they don’t get that, they feel ignored, less invested in your company, become less productive, and start looking for somewhere else to work.
According to a CIPD report on social media and the employee voice, communication through social tech has made the employee voice more multi-directional rather than just two-way. Meaning, an internal space, such as a social intranet, allows employees to share their thoughts not just to leadership, but to everyone within the organisation. This might cause company leaders to panic as there is a feeling of less control. But fear not, this is a good thing. Why, you ask?
Richer employee voice When employees have their say within a corporate environment, they are very much aware their names are attributed with what they say. This tends to lead to carefully thought out comments and responses as their reputation; even their career progression depends on how their peers and managers perceive them.
More authentic employee voice Social tech allows people to rate and respond to each other’s comments, identifying information that resonates most among your workforce. When someone makes a public suggestion that makes waves, such as a new coffee machine to replace the broken one or equal parental rights, you see in real-time people’s interest and you’re able to react to what matters most to your workforce.
Shared sense of purpose
Everyone seeks meaning in their lives. The quest for one’s purpose starts from when we’re young children looking to be more — whether it’s a superhero or a wizard — and continues to stay with us into adulthood. Sure, it would be amazing to fly or protect the realm of magic from evildoers, but adults (at least those well-rooted in reality) turn those aspirations towards a meaningful career.
And, it’s easy enough to sniff out the disingenuous, as employees immediately see the difference when they join a new workplace between what a company is saying they do, and what they do do. Essentially, employers must show rather than tell, or risk losing their valuable employees.
Organisations that aim to share their purpose and strive to prove they’re not all talk make these values transparent and easily accessible through clear internal communications, such as on a social intranet. They likely have a manifesto highlighted on their main intranet homepage, social hubs for charity events, and invite employees to participate in corporate social responsibility.
Make it easy for your employees to find meaning in their work. The benefits to your company will soar. When employees are proud to work for your company, they are in turn a lot happier. And when staff are proud and happy, they deliver excellent customer service which can increase sales by 37%.
Managers can be irregular in passing along information to their team — whether done in person or digitally. Excuses range from a busy schedule, strict policies preventing open dialogue, or just forgetting. However, managers need to ensure they are open channels so their employees can thrive and to build on a high trust work culture.
It takes a special person to be a great manager, but they can only be that special manager with support from higher-ups. Good communication from leaders supports teams and managers in their roles. The benefits pay off with improved productivity, an increase in shared knowledge, and educated decision making across the organisation.
To improve trust and improve much-needed skills in managers, a company needs open, honest, two-way communication. Trickling down information from the top to bottom is outdated and needs to be amended. A social intranet can help boost employee morale and help build a strong relationship between employees and managers.
Using social tech for better communication
Social media has proven to be a more effective communication tool in comparison to the intranets of old. It was only a matter of time intranet providers took on social tech to revolutionise the intranet. According to the CIPD, enterprise social networks are increasingly seen as an effective communication tool as they bring in vital forms of connection, on a technical and emotional level, to employees for a better work experience.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, a collaborative, social intranet can increase worker productivity by 20 — 25%. Additionally, when employees are connected to what they need and to others within their organisation, their job satisfaction increases and are likelier to stay longer.
When employees have the information and tools they need to do their jobs well, they become passionate and active contributors to the company intranet which improves overall ROI as well.