Internal communication is the method for keeping all your employees up-to-date with the latest information and initiatives from your organization.
Strong internal communication is more than the company’s senior staff sending information to employees. It shouldn’t be a one-way flow of information and should allow employees and leadership to engage with each other. It’s also important that your internal communication is easy to understand and gets where it needs to go on time.
Different Types of Internal Communication
There are so many ways that employees can share information across your organization—including email, apps, chat functions, in-person meetings, digital and paper files, etc. It’s useful to group all this communication into a few categories.
- Emergency communication. You need a reliable way to communicate with employees in the event of an emergency scenario. Emergency communication can be about recalls, data breaches, misconduct, safety concerns, and other situations your team needs to know about right away.
- Leadership communication. Executives and leaders sometimes need to share top-down information about company goals, changes, strategies, successes, and culture. Leadership may want to recognize someone who’s doing a great job, announce an initiative or big client, or share a new company vision. Since there is less urgency, videos, annual reports, company-wide emails, or company newsletters can help keep teams informed. At some companies, this sort of information is shared at all-hands meetings or company events.
- Information communication. This is by far the most common type of internal communication. There’s a large amount of information that needs to be shared to help workers do their jobs. Teams may need checklists, details about projects, schedules, information about policies and work processes, product details, and more.
- Two-way communication. Employees and senior staff need to be able to communicate with each other. This form of communication may involve sharing details about completed projects, giving feedback, making suggestions about processes, and recognizing each other’s work. Surveys, employee recognition programs, team chats, and meetings can be ways to communicate this information.
Why Is Internal Communication Important?
No matter what information you’re sharing, a strong internal communication strategy has benefits in every industry.
- Internal communication helps employees do their job well. It ensures that staff members have everything they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. When information is clear and timely, it reduces the instances of mistakes or errors.
- Internal communication improves productivity. When employees can’t find the information they need to do their job, they spend time asking follow-up questions or looking for what they need. When they have everything they need to hit the ground running, your employees can focus on doing their best work.
- It improves employee engagement. Nobody wants to feel out of the loop. Internal communication can make everyone feel engaged and included because all employees have access to the information they need. Teams get told about company changes, policies, and goals. They also get a chance to communicate with leadership, so they have a voice.
- It helps you prevent losses. In any competitive industry, miscommunication among your team can mean you lose out on business opportunities. In a study conducted by Grammarly and the Harris Poll, 22% of business leaders reported losing business because of poor team communication. Of these, 86% said they lost at least $10,000 in business because of communication problems.
- It can reduce the risk of a crisis. When you communicate transparently, you can sometimes prevent problems before they arise. For example, if you share a new company policy and ask for feedback, your team can highlight potential pain points. You can address these concerns and even change the policy—if needed—before it causes dissatisfaction.
How Do I Create a Strong Internal Communication Strategy?
Great internal communication doesn’t happen by chance. Here’s how to consistently work together to get information where it needs to go.
- Look at how you’re communicating now. Are you sending emails for everything? How do you communicate different types of information? Evaluate how well this system is working. You may want to conduct a survey or ask some team members about their ideas. Is the current way you communicate working for everyone? What news and data are employees having trouble finding? Who is feeling out of the loop? What are the most common requests and follow-up questions?
- Organize your communication. Write down everything you need to share internally— this could be research, work schedules, company picnic invitations, and so on. Now, go through your list and group these needs by type. Are some of these urgent messages that need to get to people right away? Do some only affect a few employees? Once you see what you are sharing, you can decide what types of communication are best. Would a weekly email or virtual chat keep everyone on track? Do some departments need their own newsletter to keep up with changes?
- Streamline your communications. When you have multiple communication channels, things can slip through the net. If your team has to check multiple platforms or switch between computers, phones, in-person meetings, and other forms of communication, they may also spend a lot of time checking every system and hunting for information. A platform like Connecteam lets you store and share files and checklists, send push notifications, set schedules, have secure group chats, and more. With one platform accessible through a mobile device, teams never have to wonder where that important bit of news might be.
- Go beyond the facts. Communication isn’t just the content of your message. If you’re meeting in person, your tone of voice and your body language can influence how you’re received. In written communication, your choice of words will impact how readers react. Do you want your internal communication to be formal, or warm and personable? Once you decide, you can use Connecteam training to create video tutorials about your company style. You can even create and share a style sheet for your company. A style sheet outlines the type of language and the tone you want in your internal communication.
Internal Communication and Deskless Workers
Approaching an office worker at their desk if you have a question is straightforward. Effectively communicating with remote employees is a much bigger challenge for organizations—especially as there are 2.7 billion deskless workers around the world, which equates to about 80% of the workforce.
You need a different internal communication strategy for these employees.
- Use asynchronous communication. Deskless workers may be out of cellphone signal range, or they may be difficult to reach while they are in the middle of a task. Outside of urgent notifications, have a system for communicating information that can be accessed when your team has the time to do so.
- Strike a balance. You don’t want employees to feel like they can’t access the information they need for their job. But in one survey, 44% of front-line workers reported that communications from leadership tended to be “irrelevant” and 30% found that internal communications made it harder to complete their work. Before sending out any communication, consider whether the message is important. Does everyone need to know this? Who will your information help? Is the information useful and relevant?
- Put information in the employee’s hands. A single, well-organized platform with all files and information in one spot makes it easy for employees to find what they want when they want it. This can make communication more effective since employees don’t have to ask or be sent their schedule, checklists, or anything else they need for work. They can simply look it up and access it instantly.
Communicating Across Your Organization
Communication is a two-way street. You need to share and receive information from your team to collaborate. When you have a strong internal communication strategy, you’re providing your employees with the resources they need to do their jobs. This keeps everyone happy—from staff members to clients—and makes your organization more productive too.
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