There’s no shortage of challenges for the modern executive to tackle. From keeping up with the latest industry changes to one-upping the competition, it’s no surprise that so many business owners spend the majority of their time keeping things moving forward instead of focusing on how well they communicate from within. That’s a shame because I’ve always believed that an excellent internal communications strategy is the key to building a cohesive team capable of achieving great things.
Good internal communication is about more than just dishing out marching orders to your team or sending out the occasional meeting invite. It’s also about setting the right expectations, identifying potential challenges, providing purpose, and offering guidance when needed. A solid foundation for internal communications can also make it easier to communicate changes, such as implementing a new wellness program, for example.
According to a recent study, poor internal communications can cost businesses $26,041 per employee per year in lost efficiency. Ouch! It can also lead to security issues, misconduct, and confusion, among other issues. On the flip side, outstanding employee communications can lead to improved engagement, higher retention, and increased efficiency, which can benefit your business in many ways and add some of that lost efficiency back to your bottom line.
Revamping your internal communications can seem overwhelming; however, running through this quick checklist might help you discover some communication breakdowns and make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
✔ Determine Your Strategy: What do you want to communicate? How often will you reach out to employees? Where do your current communications activities fall short? Before rolling up your sleeves and jumping in head first, it’s important to give some thought to what you are trying to accomplish.
✔ Diversify Your Methods: Many think that email provides all the answers. Others think that town hall meetings hold the key. But no single solution will cut it by itself. Instead, try to find the right combination from all of the tools that are available: text messages, posters, videos, webinars, newsletters, FAQs, postcards, chat software, and cloud-based systems like Google Drive and SharePoint to name a few. If you’re not already taking advantage of these options, then perhaps it’s time to consider adding them to your bat utility belt.
✔ Know Your Audience: If your entire workforce is located in one office building, then you may have an easier time getting everyone on the same page. Otherwise, you might want to consider alternate means. Likewise, if some of your employees don’t have desk jobs or access to computers, consider using paycheck stuffers, postcards, and other non-technology based methods.
✔ Don’t Skimp on the Visuals: When possible, add some graphics to the mix. It sure beats that wall of text that no one’s going to read. When done the right way, visuals can turn some heads and convey information quickly and concisely. For maximum effectiveness, put together some posters, or better yet, mount TV’s in the common areas and use them to display relevant messages.
✔ Encourage Interdepartmental Collaboration: We talked about this last week, but it’s worth mentioning again. When your employees are able to build relationships and form alliances outside of their department, they are more likely to share vital information with each other.
✔ Ask for Feedback: Communication is a two-way street. You should always give employees the opportunity to share their thoughts. And pay attention to what they say. If something isn’t working, listen, and then hit the drawing board to see if you can find a creative solution.
The bottom line is there is no magic, silver-bullet solution to solve all of your internal communication challenges. Instead, it takes a variety of communication channels and strategies, all working together to get the message across.