The added value of excellent internal communication
What does internal communication do within an organization?
- Let people find each other and let the dialogue develop
- Ensure involvement of employees with each other and the organization
- Provide clarity about the strategy, mission, goals and values of the organization
- Let people work together better, faster, more effectively and more efficiently
Although these four elements partly overlap, you can call them all-important for the proper functioning of an organization. Adequately addressed internal communication makes organizations stronger, more efficient and more productive.
How can you improve your internal communication?
Communication professionals are not all satisfied with their roles. How organizations view, internal communication is also not always optimal. A few frequently mentioned areas for improvement from the study:
- The internal communication department is often too late involved in decisions or projects
- The internal communications team does not employ skilled digital marketing strategists.
- There is not enough budget for internal communication
- Top management does not set an excellent example in the field of internal communication
- Senior management does not see the connection between employee experience and customer experience
Can you improve your internal dialogue as an organization? We provide the following seven tips that you can start using right away.
Prepare an internal communication plan
What role does your communication team currently play in your organization? In what way do you communicate now? So does that work? Where is improvement possible? You create an internal communication strategy or communication plan based on these questions.
You decide how concise or extensive you make your communication plan. You can improve your internal communication in different ways. Do not forget to ask everyone in your organization for input – if necessary, anonymously. This way, you find out what people are open to, or what their ultimate need is.
Connect teams and departments
Do the different departments or groups within your organization all know what they are doing? Also, do they sometimes work together? By bringing teams – even when they seem to be busy with other things – in contact with each other, you make the exchange of knowledge possible. Organize a joint brainstorm or a question and answer session. Sometimes tips or new insights can come from unexpected sources.
“You improve your internal communication and your organization as a whole if you ensure that departments do not alienate from each other.”
You improve your internal communication and your organization as a whole if you ensure that departments do not alienate from each other. Also, it promotes the bond between colleagues – and that can only benefit communication.
Ensure support and make clear who is responsible
Who is responsible for internal communication at your organization? Is there a separate department for this? Does it fall under the Communication or Marketing team? Alternatively, under HR? Internal communication is one layer below management for the majority of organizations.
Whatever department it takes on: ensure that it is clear to everyone responsible for internal communication. Put several motivated, enthusiastic people on it, which you know are also capable of motivating others. In this way, you create support within your organization, and as many people as possible participate.
An excellent example of a team member’s role responsible for success and support is a community manager. The community manager has the task of inspiring, motivating and addressing everyone within (and often outside) your organization. An essential link in your internal communication.
Use the tools that you have available
A digital workplace, collaboration platform or social intranet is a suitable tool for discussing projects, exchanging ideas and sharing tasks. It makes internal communication a transparent, smooth process. Nobody has to leave their workplace for it.
When choosing a digital platform, always take into account its functionalities, but also user-friendliness. It makes a big difference whether your employees greet it with enthusiasm or reluctantly (or not at all) start using it.
Do you have an intranet or a digital communication platform? Then you have a versatile tool at your disposal. You can go in many directions, especially in the field of internal communication. Analyze what you have and find out how the software can help you improve internal communication. For example, make use of audiovisual content, make data and statistics transparent for everyone, share your company story or spread your message efficiently throughout your organization.
Naturally, you also have options without a modern intranet. A newsletter by e-mail, a staff magazine, a meeting with participants from several teams – it works, but it takes a little more effort.
Provide and encourage room for feedback
Within organizations with a strict hierarchy, internal communication sometimes runs smoothly. Not so strange, since a message has to take many turns. Also, communication often only goes one way: from top to bottom.
An organization is bursting with knowledge and ideas. Also yours. However, do people also get the space to share this? You can only improve your internal communication if you let it come from both sides. The management team or management must not be the only one who communicates internally.
Give employees the space to use their feedback. Also, above all give them the feeling that they can do this freely. Let people give their opinion about your services or products, your working method, your organization as a whole or other specific issues. It is a shame if you do not use the knowledge and creativity that are present within your organization.
Avoid a flood of communication
With current technologies, it is much easier to spread a message quickly within a (large) organization. That is, of course, positive, but at the same time, there is a danger in it. Be careful not to flood people with information. Other important messages can get buried.
“Don’t flood people with communication. Otherwise, the most important messages can get snowed under.”
Newsletters, short messages, infographics, images, videos – all good, but choose the right moments for it. Too much communication is counterproductive. If you love people for their work because of the amount of information you send them, you know it’s better to turn the knob back a little.
As an organization, it is essential to stay in conversation with your employees. Continue to involve them in what you do and allow them to think along with you about issues that directly or indirectly relate to their position, your organization or the market in which you operate. Employees will come up with ideas faster if they are regularly asked.
Remember that you do not sell an advertising message or commercial pitch to your team. They quickly get through that. Authenticity is essential, even when it comes to internal communication. Finally, make sure that you communicate as directly as possible, instead of via detours. This way you prevent – just like with a whisper game – your message has utterly different content at the end of the line.