Successful communication within all levels of the organizational hierarchy is essential for the development and success of any business. In fact, internal communications are as important as communicating with your customers. As a key factor in achieving your goals and objectives, internal communication needs to undergo a constant process of improvement. “Good ideas need good strategies.” Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn once said. Think about what your goals are, what you need your internal communications to express, and from there, design a plan to implement. The medium might not be the message, but in today’s corporate culture, the medium matters in terms of how the message is received, interpreted, processed, and overall put to good use.
Internal Communications are the Cornerstones of Forward-Thinking Corporate Culture
Team work and team efficiency are two of the most important aspects of any corporate environment, no matter where the companies are operating, or what their industries are. Businesses thrive on the ideas of their people, on the way they implement, and the manner in which teams handle their roles. From phone, to email and instant messaging, a company’s internal communication compliments the way teams implement their strategies, organize their data, consult on follow-up projects, and overall cater for their needs as both a team and a business entity. A 2010 article by the National Federation of Independent Business states the benefits of instant messaging for internal communications, benefits which as important today as they were then. Among them, cost efficiency, connecting team members who are on off-site locations, complementing traditional communications, and more.
As is the case with any means of communication, between individuals, teams, or companies, internal communications can be subject to misuse, and even be ignored, if your internal communications strategy is not the best one. whether we are talking about emails, phone conversations, or instant messaging, when it comes to the efficiency of internal communication, there are a few questions that need to be asked. Here are the top 5:
1. Is this internal message necessary?
If your internal emails are being overlooked, you might need to consider that the reason behind it is the multitude of emails being exchanged. If the number of emails with irrelevant or unimportant information is higher than it should be, your employees will soon start to think that all the internal emails they receive are not important, and end up not even opening them. Being selective with the emails you send is mandatory if your purpose is to increase engagement within your internal communications. Come up with a strategy to declutter your practices, so that at the end of the day, the communications exchanged make a true impact, whether you need them to motivate your team, let them know of important changes, or manage information about current projects.
2. Does your communication sound like it has been written as an automated message?
It is a known fact that people are weary of engaging with messages that look like they are automated, or written by an AI. As Solaris, one of the most famous science fiction movies states, “man needs man.” People engage better with other people, so make sure that your message doesn’t come across as something cold and generic, lacking a human perspective. It doesn’t mean that you have to make all emails and memos sound personal, or that you have to spend extra time thinking what an AI sounds like, and try to avoid that language. But when you can, consider tailoring your internal communications more as something you yourself would engage better with.
3. Why should your employees be interested in this information?
Although business environments require that all communication be opened, you would be surprised by how easy it is for people to put at the back of the line emails that sound too technical, or that seem not to concern them. The best way to overcome this situation is to make the subject line more attractive or more personal, rather than something like “September Spreadsheets.” This might not be a possibility for every email or other pieces that you send, but when possible, it would highly improve the engagement rate.
4. Are you using the most suitable tone and language?
It is not a matter of always using corporate language, but more of a matter of knowing what kind of conversational tone to engage in so that your employees understand and resonate with what you are communicating to them. Make sure to translate any kind of niche vocabulary coming from specific departments. For example, an internal IT memo or email might not be understood by the people in other departments, especially when relating to a technical issue. Regardless of the department, internal communications should be easy to understand by everyone.
5. Was the information communicated before?
Information that is communication more than once is more likely to be ignored, so if the thing you are sharing has already been shared, even if in an informal environment such as lunch break, people night not click on the message containing it. As the subject of written internal communications is a sensitive one, and all information, especially important information needs to be communicated via email, message, or other written mean, you will need to find a way to deal with this. Reshuffling your internal communications process to fit the news around the water cooler is not how you should handle this issue. Rather than stop sending news that has already been shared around the office, it would be best to implement policies that discourage the sharing of important news first in an informal environment.
When it comes to crafting a more efficient internal communications strategy, the things one needs to keep track of are always to be tailored to the needs and structure of every organization, but even in terms of corporate culture, that tailoring starting with basic issues, such as the ones mentioned above. If you find the answers to these questions, and implement solutions where there are problems, your internal communications will significantly improve, thus improving the performance of your employees.