It's likely that most have felt the sting of poor workplace communication at some point and have felt the impact employees absorb when it appears that they are not being heard.
Whether at your current job or an employer before, it's evident that a communication program within an organiation is neccessary.
Perhaps youve worked hard to prepare for a busy shift but a key member of staff doesnt show up. Or you might have spent lots of time crafting a new internal policy only for it to fall at the first hurdle.
Do those types of situations sound all too familiar? Internal communication is often the culprit.
Its a common problem- a staggering 86% of employees and executives say that workplace failures are often the consequence of ineffective communication.
But with a winning strategy backed by the right tools you can turn things around.
Were going to explore why internal communication is so important. Well also look at some of the key steps you can take to boost internal communication within your business.
The consequences of poor internal communication can be dire. Although it may sound easier said than done, two-way communication is highly effective. Adding a more personal depth to the experience would be taking part in face-to-face communication when possible. Why?
To get a better idea of what's at stake, here's a closer look at the ways poor internal communication might harm your business-
According to a State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace. This means that those employees do the bare minimum to get through their day and they're simply at work to collect a paycheck.
With company culture playing a significant role in the workplace, poor internal communication, and a lack of transparency feed that disenchantment. If your team members are kept in the dark, theyll inevitably disengage and fail to show much interest. That lack of morale is infectious, too, and it can harm the performance of your entire team.
So, if an effective employee within the organization is the aim, it's evident that management and all supervisors begin by improving tow way communication.
Statistics from Workforce suggest that 60% of companies don't have a long-term internal communication strategy. This lack of planning means that 74% of employees currently feel that they miss out on vital information and news.
Without the appropriate information, it's inevitable that your team members will sometimes become confused and make the wrong decisions while they work. Those mistakes can often deal with heavy operational and reputational damage to your business. In some extreme cases, that lack of internal communication can also risk the safety of employees and customers.
You need to communicate.
Strained Workplace Relationships
Miscommunication is often the root cause of many workplace disagreements and conflicts. We have probably all seen situations where team members are provided with conflicting information and this gives rise to resentment.
Your team members will inevitably have different personalities and approaches to their work, too, so the potential for unchecked gossip and miscommunication is always there.
If businesses fail to install the right communication policies and provide the appropriate tools, they might find that workplace relations are strained. This can have a knock-on effect on productivity and employee retention, so always consider the best practices.
Higher Employee Turnover
Work is an important part of life, which is why your employees need to feel a strong mental and emotional connection to their work. This connection can help them to feel more engaged and passionate about the tasks that they perform each day.
Without that sense of connection, though, your employees will quickly become disengaged and theyll look for greener pastures. Losing a team member can be a frustrating experience. As we all know, hiring and training new team members can also be a very costly and time-consuming exercise.
The costs are clear, but what about the benefits of clear internal communication?
Heres a look at the rewards that you can reap if you invest in your internal communication strategy today.
Create Stronger Working Relationships
Research from Queens University revealed that 39% of employees believe that their colleagues dont collaborate enough. This can cause your team members to work within silos and the flow of information will be affected as a result.
If you build a culture based on a communication program and provide your team members with the right tools and opportunities, youll see them build stronger ties with one another. Those stronger working relationships can make your business much more resilient and effective in achieving goals.
Empathy is important to consider in most walks of life, especially in the workplace. By considering the employee experience, you are showing compassion and establishing trust amongst your team, which will pay dividends in the longrun.
Boost Team Morale
It comes as little surprise that high levels of employee engagement are linked to higher profitability- companies that have an engaged and inspired workforce are often 21% more profitable.
Clear communication and a culture of transparency can empower your team members to feel more engaged and work hard alongside one another. The positive morale will beget even greater feelings of belonging and energy. It will also benefit in the future when looking to expand your team.
If current employees share information about their personal positive experience with the company to friends and peers, future candidates will be more inclined to work for your brand, easing the strain in the recrutiment process.
Handle Challenging Situations More Effectively
Every business owner understands that new challenges come and go on a regular basis. Those challenges could be as simple as a stock shortage or as serious as a significant fall in profits over a given period.
Whatever the challenge, clear internal communication can help to improve your chances of success. If you keep your team members informed, youll be better able to mobilize your team and guide their response to those challenges.
Now that we understand why internal communication is so important for your business, lets go through three techniques that you can use to improve it.
These are proven strategies that you can use today to improve internal communication and your overall business practices.
1. Audit and Evaluate Your Internal Communication
To improve your internal communication, youll first want to audit and evaluate your current performance. This audit can help you to craft your internal communication strategy and prepare for success.
There are a few ways to approach this-
List and evaluate your past communications
Collect together your major communications from the past 12 months. Whatever the format (email, text message, printout), collate them, and assess whether or not they worked.
To accurately assess your communications, youll need to answer questions like did your communication share key information? Were your employees confused? Did you use the right visuals and language?
Youll be sure to collect some interesting insights that you can take forward with you.
Survey your team
Next, youll want your team to take an employee survey. This process will either confirm or deny your suspicions, and its a great opportunity to involve your team members in the process and hear their preferences.
The exact nature of this survey process will vary according to things like the size and location of your team members.
Make adjustments to your strategy
Now that youve evaluated your past performance and collected the thoughts of your team members, youll want to outline your key findings and implement any necessary changes.
You might find, for instance, that your employees would prefer a particular communication channel. Or, you might need to adjust the metrics that you use to assess the performance of your communication.
2. Create an Internal Communications Strategy
A robust internal communications strategy can help you to harmonize internal communication and provide a clear blueprint to guide your team members.
If you dont already have an internal communications strategy, you could create one in light of your audit. Here are the key reasons that a robust strategy is so important-
Establish clear communication channels
There are more communication channels available to us than ever before. This opens up a lot of opportunities for businesses, but theres also the risk that messaging becomes diffuse and your team members miss out on key communications.
An internal communications strategy can clearly outline the channels that should be used within your business and how they should be operated.
Define stakeholder groups
In larger businesses, communication can become more complex and the number of stakeholder groups grows. You might have a management team, for instance, and different departments.
You can create a stakeholder matrix within your communication plan to outline who should be contacted, when, and with which communication channel. This can ensure that your team members arent overwhelmed or left out of important conversations.
Outline processes and timing
If youre going to share harmonious internal communication with your team members, youll need to outline the processes that your team members will need to follow. This might include things like-
- Who should send messages
- Who writes and approves those messages
- When those messages are sent
3. Focus on Employee Scheduling
Scheduling is perhaps the single most important part of internal communication- without a clear and transparent team schedule in place, your team members wont know when theyre supposed to work.
But thats not the only reason employee scheduling is so important. Here are more reasons youll want to invest here-
Keep things fair
When it comes to shift work, your employees need to see that they are being treated fairly and given the appropriate amount of work. A strong focus on transparent and methodical employee scheduling can do that.
Easy and efficient shift management
If theres no employee scheduling strategy or process, the communication process breaks down, and shift management can become a real headache for managers and employees alike. The right focus on employee scheduling can help to smoothen things out and make life easier for all involved.
Manage attendance issues
Absenteeism is a big problem for businesses in the United States, with 2.8% of the workforce being absent from work on any regular workday. A clear focus on employee scheduling can help business owners to communicate effectively and address any attendance issues.