Internal communication conveys information about the business internally so that workers may understand and carry out their tasks properly. It also keeps team members up to date.
The goal of internal communication is to provide an efficient flow of information between departments and colleagues inside a company. This is true throughout the organisation from the most to the least senior employees and contractors. Internal communication also operates among workers in the same departments who engage with one another in the workplace.
A highly skilled team can be changed into an underperforming one if internal communication is not clear and organised. This common pitfall in small businesses can lead to frustration.
Internal communication is essential when managing a small business. You must be able to guarantee that your employees can effectively interact with one another, and that information circulates to the right people at the right time.
Effective internal communication fosters corporate culture and increases employee engagement.
The importance of internal communication
The importance of internal communication in a company should not be underestimated. Here are some of the reasons why internal communications must be a top concern for companies of all sizes, rather than an afterthought.
- Helps develop company culture.
- Boosts productivity.
- Leaves no room for ambiguity.
- Enables feedback and innovation.
Here are a few reasons why internal communication sometimes fails:
1. Poor or absent management
When problems arise, employees feel they have no one to turn to. When issues are not managed, they can escalate into crises. They cannot communicate with those in charge as they aren’t active on the scene.
2. Inadequate training
Employees should be well trained in procedures. Likewise, policies should be developed and taught with an eye to making their jobs easier. When people know what is expected of them and what role they play in the organisation, it is unlikely that they should feel excluded. Without excellent instruction, all else falls apart.
3. Conflicting priorities
Tasks are occasionally ignored. It is possible that some tasks get forgotten when more important tasks require priority.
Individual objectives are important, and if you don’t communicate on a regular basis to recalibrate, it’s simple to understand how conflict might develop amongst people. Everyone expects to be on board with their ideas because they believe they are the most important and necessary.
In order for their teams to function effectively, team leaders must instil a shared sense of urgency. Everyone on the team must be aware of the areas in which they must contribute and the ways in which their work impacts the rest of the group.
4. Bad habits
Habits that foster inefficient behaviour in teams ensure bad internal communication. Some people simply don’t care enough to explain their actions to others. Others are engaging in conversations that prevent meaningful dialogue. When teams are aware of processes and standards but ignore them, this can harm the flow of information through the organisation.
5. Unclear expectations
Success needs teamwork. Every team member contributes to success even though no single person is responsible for ensuring the perfect execution of every detail. If nothing less than perfection is expected, it is time to rethink. If not, you may experience a deterioration in output.
The key to avoiding misconceptions is to learn to listen carefully and adjust accordingly. Sometimes it happens that briefs are unclear or that emails get misread. It also doesn’t help that most people speak in different ways depending on who they’re speaking to, and it can cause a lot of confusion.
6. Lack of transparency
Transparency is essential in communication, relationships can deteriorate if people don’t trust one other. As a consequence, many businesses encourage free communication inside and between departments. Everyone must be allowed to ask questions.
Too frequently, we assume that what we hear will stay unaltered until we question it. It’s possible that this assumption harms both speaker and listener. If we wait until the last minute to express our concerns, we’ll likely miss out on vital information. It is also more likely to then go unheard. So, rather than waiting until the issue deteriorates, give answers early on.
7. Ineffective internal communication leads to missed opportunities
Colleagues who fail to communicate with coworkers due to misunderstanding, fear, or other reasons are left wondering what went wrong. As a result, while speaking in the workplace, try to avoid ambiguity. Even if errors are made, it’s important to learn from them to prevent them in the future.
8. Lack of accountability
One of the most common reasons for business failure is a lack of accountability. Without it, a business runs the danger of losing clients to rivals who are performing well and providing excellent service. Employees should, and must keep their managers up to speed on their actions to avoid this. After all, managers take on complete accountability over everything that happens.
Ways to boost internal communication
Fortunately, improving internal communication is not difficult. All that is needed is to establish what has to be done and where to begin. Here are some helpful tips for getting started.
1. Determine who needs to be involved before making any changes
Establish who is involved in key communications within the business. This should include everyone in the team. However, each business takes on a different communication chain. You may want to first meet with your team or department heads to align on the process before gathering the whole team. Decide what they should hear or see first and use those channels exclusively for important information.
2. Choose an internal communication channel
If the business has several locations, consider using a separate email account for each. Make distinct social media accounts (like Facebook Workplace) for each location. Finally, devise a system for sharing critical changes across departments.
Technology or techniques used to convey information should be suitable for the intended audience, such as Slack for real-time project updates.
In addition to enhancing the company’s internal communication, it is equally important to assess to see if all workers are getting the information they need to work efficiently. This includes ensuring that no team member thinks they lack the necessary knowledge to make choices.
Now that the internal communication strategy has been figured out, consider the following:
a. Schedule frequent one-on-one sessions with team members
Everyone in the team has important inputs to add to the success of the operations. Direct communication fosters trust, bonds and also allows for comments and inquiries.
b. Maximise the use of messaging tools
Email and phone communication are the most common communication tools amongst businesses. But, let’s face it, emails can go unread, and voicemails are sometimes only checked hours later. Sure, each of these methods has advantages, but there is one form of communication that is becoming more mainstream in companies.
Text messaging is a convenient, real-time method of internal communication that does not need a complicated delivery system. Unlike a phone call, texting is a non-intrusive method of communication. (Provided you are mindful of working vs. personal hours).
Texting also has the benefit of being versatile, with options like Viber, WhatsApp, and even Facebook Messenger. The most important thing to remember is to separate personal and professional communications.
c. Improve employer-employee relations
Companies with high-performing teams work together to achieve success. However, this is not always the case for enterprises. Most employees do not interact with their supervisors on a personal basis. It is possible that people will be more open and honest if employees and management cooperate more.
d. Establish an “open door” policy
Making time to talk with employees encourages them to report issues. It’s a great way to improve internal communications and be more approachable.
However, don’t be scared to invite others in. Everyone knows that even if the door is wide open, no one might come in. It’s important to set a positive example by getting up from your desk and going around the office.
e. A little appreciation goes a long way
Remember to appreciate individuals for their contributions in order to gain their support. A great discussion expresses “thank you” more effectively.
So, in order to improve internal communications, it is necessary to not only understand what messages should be sent but also to understand who should receive them. Providers of accurate and timely information improve employee morale, foster cooperation, and help to strengthen collegial relationships. It may even be able to prevent expensive errors from occurring in the future.