By Naomi Morgan-Tolworthy.
Working preferences have changed dramatically over the past few years and the increase in hybrid working has placed even more emphasis on the importance of employee communications.
With employees now more dispersed than ever, the need for an effective internal communications strategy that brings employees together and creates a unified business vision is crucial to the future success of any business.
Definition of Internal Communications
Wikipedia describes it as:
“Internal communications (IC) are the function responsible for effective communications among participants within an organisation.
Internal communication is meant by a group of processes that are responsible for effective information circulation and collaboration between the participants in an organisation.”
This is a great start, but it goes beyond this.
Internal communication isn’t just about functions and processes. It’s about creating a culture that actively encourages connection, aligned purpose and shared vision. It is about creating an environment where employees can share communication – regardless of job title or how long employees have been with a business.
“74% of employees have the feeling they’re missing out on company news because the internal communication department is non-existent or doing a poor job.” (Source: Oak Engage/Gallup)
And you may be thinking that’s par for the course but what actual effect does that have on the overall success of a business? A lack of internal communication causes disengagement amongst employees, which, according to Gallup, costs the UK £52-£70 billion per year in lost productivity.
And that is why having a robust and effective internal communications strategy is so important to any business, especially professional services which depend on engaging and retaining the best people.
In Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, it was found that in the UK only 8% of employees are engaged in the workplace. That’s an alarming 92% of employees who feel disengaged in the workplace! (Source: Gallup. State of the Global Workplace)
So, let’s look at what it takes to engage staff…
According to Gallup, there are 12 needs businesses can meet to improve employees’ productivity. This approach to engagement is simple, and it works. These are the 12 employee needs that make up the items on Gallup’s engagement survey:
I know what is expected of me at work
I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right
At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day
In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work
My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person
There is someone at work who encourages my development
At work, my opinions seem to count
The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important
My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work
I have a best friend at work
In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress
This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
It is not enough to just have one method of communication for your staff – there are numerous ways to engage, connect and open communication channels with employees.
Communication must be a 2-way thing and employees need to feel like they have a voice. But a genuine voice – not a business just paying lip service and then completely ignoring what’s been said.
69% of employees said that they’d work harder if they were better appreciated. (Source: Officevibe)
What are the types of internal communication?
Keeping pace with technology
Even with the huge rise in hybrid working and the challenges that go with it, there are also some positive changes too.
By necessity, the last couple of years has accelerated the digital transformation. This means we have access to a far greater range and quality of technology.
The question is how do you use this to engage, connect and empower your employees?
One of the key tools we can use to keep an organisation’s strategy from becoming outdated is digital, mobile-enabled communication. Give employees options. Make sure that one of the options is a communication tool which allows employees an easy, convenient way to reach out to their employer at any time.
Offer a variety of communications channels: Some employees may feel comfortable asking questions over the phone or via a messaging tool like WhatsApp or chat, but others prefer to communicate face to face.
Effective communication is no longer just about the people at the top making decisions and cascading them down – it’s important to remember that people receive and process information differently:
Verbal – the passing of information by word-of-mouth.
Electronic – We share most written information this way.
Paper – a way of communicating using posters and graphics.
Here are 5 types of communication methods:
Management – disperse information such as strategies, company results, internal and external information, and other important general information
Team – between colleagues who work together to achieve the same end goal
Face-to-face – briefing individuals on tasks and situations
Peer – informal chats between colleagues to share information
Resources – the intranet, email, social media, messaging, video calls, telephone.
Internal communications are just as important as external. Especially if you want your employees to be driving your business forward with the same vision and passion you have.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford
About the Author
Naomi has worked in marketing and business development for over 20-years and has worked in the legal and financial services sectors for over 10-years. Naomi has experience developing marketing campaigns and driving engagement through social media, email marketing, SEO, events, and more. She is currently an account manager at Consortium more than marketing.
Through delivering compelling value propositions to position, reinforce, and build loyalty and brand equity among target clients and referrers, Naomi has a track record of achieving marketing and business objectives for clients.
Naomi is passionate about personal development and growth becoming the best version possible, and doing the same for her clients.