How effective is your internal communication? You need to identify problem areas, set goals and align them with business objectives, use the latest technology, select internal champions, and – of course – invest in your content.
A decade back, internal communication was limited to announcements by senior management. However, an increasing number of companies are beginning to realize that the scope of communication needs to be far broader. It needs to be interactive and encompass your employees’ voices.
Moreover, in today’s fast-paced global marketplace, how well your company can compete depends on how quickly you can adapt and execute. Your speed of execution depends on how well you internally communicate – and work together as one powerful streamlined company.
How do you make the transition to a more contemporary form of communication that makes your organization more agile and responsive to market trends?
Here are 6 powerful tips for improving your internal communication:
1. Identify Bottlenecks
To improve your internal communication system, begin by identifying what's not working so well.
Take feedback from your people across levels and departments about the communication bottlenecks that they face. In addition, ask them indirect questions about their work that indicate how streamlined communication channels are.
For example, ask questions like:
How well do your employees understand the organization's goals and objectives?
Low levels of awareness indicate that the top management needs to communicate their goals better.
How smoothly do inter-departmental tasks get done?
Inter-departmental tasks that take excessive time, or lead to friction are an indication that communication channels are far from perfect.
2. Set Goals
Decide on the different aspects of internal communication that you want to work on – communication from leadership, resource libraries, peer-peer communication, etc. Set a clear agenda for what you want to achieve in terms of each aspect based on the feedback that you have gathered.
Create an internal communication strategy document by consulting with your C-level executives and other key people across the organization. Having a unified communication plan that stakeholders agree with makes the difference between success and failure.
Your communication plan should lay out the different types of communication involved, assign responsibilities, the tools to be used, milestones, dates and how you measure success.
3. Sync with Business Objectives
Internal communication measures often do not get the importance they deserve because it's difficult to mentally connect it with business success.
Therefore, make a point to map your internal communication goals to business objectives. For instance, if one business goal for the quarter is to acquire 15% more customers, define an internal communication goal that supports that objective.
This will make it far easier for you to get buy-in from all levels across the company. People will adopt your internal communication activities far more quickly.
4. Use the Latest Technology
To improve your internal communication stop using outdated systems like intranets that have very low usage rates and are – honestly – boring! Adopt SaaS tools like Smarp that are designed for the millennial workforce.
A great tool will support the easy deployment of great content and encourage sharing. It should be accessible on mobile devices that people can use on the go. Today, with offices and employees spread across locations, you need online tools that can facilitate better communication for remote workers.
SaaS tools can also be rolled out quickly, are scalable as your company grows and cost far less than traditional tools. All these factors also make it easier for you to get the nod from your CFO and CTO!
5. Select Champions
Any organizational initiative needs internal champions to succeed. Your internal communication plan will need champions who will help promote, execute and grow the initiative. You need to select not only people in key leadership positions, but other people across levels who are influential.
For instance, if an influential person uses and promotes your new internal communication app, others will follow and your adoption rates will rise.
Identify people who understand the value of good communication and bring them on board as champions.
6. Create Great Content
Great internal communication is about creating a dialogue. Whatever form of content you create for internal communication – articles, videos or podcasts – have systems that allow people to comment on and share that content.
You should also use quizzes and surveys that give you insights about what people are thinking:
What are their concerns? What’s keeping them from working at their productive best? How happy are they with the company?
Essentially, your content should not be a means to just disseminate information, but to spark conversation and understand your people too. These answers will help you increase employee engagement, productivity and employee retention.
Apply the Japanese principle of ‘Kaizen’ or continuous improvement to internal communication. The better you communicate, the more successful your organization will be.