2016 was a turning point for the workforce demographics and while the categories and theories may seems simple, the underlying truth is that every year, the demands become more aggressive and this is particularly true with the ways in which employers talk and listen to their workforce. They expect better collaboration, increased transparency, few office politics and good feedback. So how is this done?
Create an engaging work environment
Employee engagement plays a huge role and while there are many theories for improving it, a major aspect that is easily actionable is internal communication. Many organizations spend huge sums of money in improving their external relations while neglecting something that’s far more important which is their internal communication with employees.
Here’s a look at why internal communications matter so much in business functioning:
1. Creates the passion for purpose
Children ask the question ‘Why?’ at least a 100 times a day and the quest for a purpose has chased us up until this day. This same principle applies in our working lives as well and employees want to know what their goals are, the plans for getting there and their contribution towards those plans. They want to be heard, valued and considered as part of the team and they rely a lot on feedback and interaction.
The purpose isn’t just showing employees their goals; rather, it also involves visualizing the actions that would contribute to it. This is why SMART goals should be created – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely – to increase teamwork collaboration and progress. More than 70% of employees who work at ‘purpose-driven’ companies are better engaged and this naturally motivates them to work towards the same goal.
2. Helps to stay in control of the message
Employees should never come to know about an important company news from an external source such as via smart phones or mobile channels and if this happens to be the case, the best way to deal with this would be by learning to make internal points of view easily accessible in day-to-day operations. To ensure that information comes from the right source, it should be timely and it should reach all employees. This is why companies should establish interactive and fast digital channels to reach all their employees. Doing so can allow companies to stay in control of the messages they send instead of leaving information open for individual interpretations.
3. Supports and empowers middle management
Companies often pass information through their hierarchies and this passing of information generally results in delays and limited feedback depending on the efforts of every individual in the chain process. Tons of information is going to be passed on within a company but the issue crops up when the information doesn’t reach those who actually do the work. This is why good internal communications can make this chain a lot more transparent and effective.
When you empower the middle management with the required resources, it will facilitate the way for them to become good future leaders and communicators within their department. Internal communications can also help companies to understand their workforce better, thereby allowing them to be trained better and enabling two-way communications.
4. Keeps up the brand promise and satisfies customers
Your customers always expects your brand to deliver its promise on time so how can companies with hundreds or even thousands of middle managers make this work? The simple answer is through internal communication with front line employees. A well trained staff together with clearly communicated goals can go a long way in improving customer experiences and enhancing revenue.
Great brands are built from the inside so start with your employees and their satisfaction will naturally be mirrored onto your clients.
5. Internal communications hold everything together in a crisis
Good and timely communication is the best and only way to master an internal or external crisis. The way in which your employees handle a situation is a major indicator as to whether or not that situation develops into a huge crisis. This often does happen in companies when managers fail to communicate with their employees during a crisis situation.
This is why internal communication can control an employee’s perception about a situation and also support crisis management. Short-term crisis management addresses the incident while long-term management is focused on preserving the reputation of the company and making sure that measures are undertaken to prevent any negative scenarios from arising.
As a company, if you place organizational structure, channels and plans before a crisis hits, this internal communication will allow you to handle that crisis effectively.
6. Fosters better work environments
A good work environment will always help a company to avoid high turnover rates and attract new talent. Turnover rates, as we know, can cost a company hugely and it’s the company’s job to make sure that their employees remain in the company. Good internal communication offers consistent feedback that can increase engagement and reduce turnover rates.
So regardless of whether you are looking to retain your employees or attract new talent, employees need to know who their employers are. An open work environment and well functioning internal communication system will give a company a competitive edge in today’s dynamic market. The bottom line is that there is no better way to endorse your brand than by having happy employees and customers.
7. Increases transparency and reduces rumors
Having informal communications has it benefits and drawbacks. Word-of-mouth can often help employees to interpret managerial information and is more flexible than formal communication. Additionally, it can enhance relationships within the company. On the other hand, informal communications can sometimes distort the meaning of information and create misunderstanding. And what’s even harder is that these rumors are hard to control.
Good internal communication can enhance the advantages of informal communications while at the same time slow down rumors within the organization by fostering timely and effective communications. Creating a rumor-free work environment can increase transparency that can actually define happiness and satisfaction in a workplace.
The bottom line
Good internal communications can enrich employees and increase customer satisfaction by as much as 40%. In today’s evolving business world, having good internal communications is an integral function that can raise the bar when it comes to overall company performance.