At Baird’s CMC, we focus on communications practices of all kinds, including the internal communication within an organisation. While many organisations acknowledge the importance of paying attention to internal communication, they are often unaware of how to go about it.
Communicating effectively with employees is crucial to a company’s success. Yet, many organisations make the error of focusing only on outward-facing efforts, failing to give adequate importance to employee communications. Common mistakes include the lack of a clear strategy, under-communication, over-communication, an ad-hoc approach, and the absence of two-way communication.
Effective internal communication sometimes requires advice and assistance from external experts, but there are a few things that can be implemented rapidly and easily. Here are a few internal communication best practices from our communications veterans:
Planning. If you are simply delivering news and updates in a haphazard manner to employees, you are not utilising the power of internal communication. To build loyalty and ensure the alignment of employees’ daily actions with organisational objectives, it is crucial to have a clear strategy. Communicating the larger vision and objectives in an engaging, periodic fashion is one way to do this. Try and create a regular communication schedule. Depending on the organisation, this could be daily, weekly or fortnightly. All changes should be communicated in a clear, easy-to-comprehend manner to all employees.
Channel. You can utilise a number of channels to deliver your communication to employees: memos, emails, posters, newsletters, intranet or meetings. Choose the channel based on the nature and objective of the communication. A low-priority informational message could be sent via email, while a key change in policy could be delivered via email as well as by team heads through meetings or a townhall. Important announcements could be put up on the company intranet page. If the employee is expected to acknowledge the message in some way (e.g., RSVP to an event or sign up for an initiative), ensure that the chosen channel makes it easy for them to do so.
Feedback. Like all communication, an organisation should ensure a two-way street. Try and create mechanisms for employees to respond to communication rather than relegating them to a passive role. These mechanisms may be informal (a chat at the workstation) or formal (surveys and feedback sessions). Probing comprehension and satisfaction will enable you to tweak communication efforts to ensure maximum effectiveness