Internal Communication & Staying On Top of Things
The new normal ushered in by the pandemic relies heavily on internal communication. Large and small businesses alike must communicate effectively within their organizations because it directly impacts their success.
How your team members communicate with each other will affect everything from employee productivity to employee experience to team collaboration. If a clear company vision and goals are missing, your team and business will only get so far.
Below, Poised shares some insights into how and why to prioritize internal communication in your organization.
What Is Internal Communication?
In a nutshell, internal communication refers to sharing information about your company with employees. It ensures your team stays informed on inside (and outside) matters. The ultimate goal of internal communication is to keep a steady flow of relevant information between different departments, groups, and individuals.
Internal communication needs to be a two-way street between managers and employees (up and down the chain) and among employees who are interacting with one another. Employee engagement and company culture are two of the primary benefits of great internal communication.
These days, there is a need for different communication channels. Good internal communication is essential for employees who work in the office and remotely. Your organization must have the systems and tools in place to keep everyone on the same page.
There are several types of internal communication. Management communication involves sharing company information (internal and external) with employees, while team communication is when coworkers collaborate to work toward a unified goal.
Face-to-face briefings are effective for informing employees on specific tasks; peer communication is when colleagues share information through informal chats. Companies use verbal, electronic, and paper channels to practice internal communication.
Keys to Successful Internal Communication
So, what does it take to develop an internal communication strategy for your team and organization?
Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
Make Use of Apps Like Slack and Teams
For many years, email was the primary internal communication platform for many companies. But it is no longer the most efficient channel to use. The average person receives more than 100 messages a day through their work email.
If your managers or employees rely on email to send company news, essential information and collaborate on projects, many messages will likely not be read. This doesn’t mean team members are ignoring emails, only that they are getting too many to read them (and still get work done)! Information overload is a real issue.
There are benefits to email, but it’s not something you want to use for the bulk of your internal communication. A better option is to connect your team on a chat app like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
These platforms allow you to stay in touch for projects, share various media, and make video and audio calls, among many other features. Some companies love a few fun, hobby-based Slack channels that function almost like social media to encourage bonding.
Many smaller teams like Slack for its simplicity and ease of use. Teams offers more organizational features, which can benefit larger organizations.
Schedule Regular Check-Ins With Employees and Colleagues
Once you have the right team communication software, you will need to begin scheduling check-in meetings with your employees and colleagues. The forum or medium you use for your check-ins will depend on your specific needs.
Brief check-ins can be done through a video or audio call — or even chat if there is not a long list of tasks and content to discuss. You will probably want to use video calls for more complex meetings because they allow for more communication types (e.g., nonverbal, eye contact, visual, etc.).
Set Ground Rules for Internal Communication
If your team does not have rules established for internal communication, you will constantly struggle to keep everyone on board and participating. Managers must clearly communicate expectations for employee communications.
Whether using a company intranet or communication tools, your team must know when and how they need to maintain contact and collaborate. It’s also critical to set expectations before team meetings to ensure they are productive.
If you have just one or two pieces of information that could be covered in an email, you may not want to call an entire team meeting. Knowing when to choose an email or meeting is a critical skill.
You want your employees to interact and enjoy speaking with each other, but you also want each meeting to have a clear agenda. Before each meeting, take time to prepare and tell your team members which topics you will cover. Moreover, ask them to come prepared with questions and company updates.
How To Improve Your Team’s Communication Skills
Establishing a communications plan can take your company culture and employee engagement to the next level. But the most thoroughly planned strategies will only go so far if your team members cannot communicate with each other well.
Level Up Your Communication With Poised
One of the best things you can do to boost your team communication skills is to invest in coaching software. Many organizations spend way too much time and money on hiring mentors to teach their teams how to communicate more effectively.
Equipping your employees with a real-time communication coach like Poised is much more cost-effective. Your team members will become stronger communicators, and your virtual meetings will become more productive.
For instance, many of us speak for too long in meetings because we are not satisfied that we have conveyed the point we wish to convey. This results in rephrasing a single message in different ways until it becomes redundant.
Coaching software can bring this bad habit to your attention and direct you to change it. Moreover, preparing your message before each meeting and thinking about how you will deliver it can help you stay on point and keep your communication concise and impactful.
Set Actionable Communication Goals
Another way to improve your organization’s internal communication is to establish clear goals all of your team members can act on. However, since business goals can be vague, it’s best to set specific objectives for each goal that will help you reach the desired endpoint. As your team completes the objectives, you will achieve the goal.
Communication goals come in many forms, and your team will need to determine what types of actionable goals can move your company in the right direction and how to measure these metrics. For instance, maybe you need to focus communication energy on improving your business’s reputation or advocacy efforts.
Perhaps you should direct most of your time to boosting internal communication for achieving more tasks as a team. Or, you might need to prioritize relationship management goals and initiatives with your stakeholders and/or employees.
How Strong Internal Communication Helps You Stay on Top of Things
You might be surprised by how much more your team can accomplish by implementing a robust internal communication plan. Your work environment will encourage workers to be productive, happier, and collaborative.
Effective Communication = A More Productive Team
When you begin having the right conversations in your company, you can develop strategies that boost internal communication, naturally resulting in higher employee engagement and productivity. Get with your leaders, employees, and partners to hash out a plan and establish actionable objectives each team member can participate in.
The truth is, the act of improving business communication itself can do wonders for increasing productivity among your team. Make a place for employees’ feedback and encourage each individual to bring their opinions and ideas to the table. They will feel heard and valued, and engagement will ensue.
Actively engaged team members will be motivated to work harder toward the organization’s common goals, and they will keep the quality of their work a priority. You can keep these conversations simple through internal communication platforms instead of arranging elaborate, time-consuming meetings.
Communicating Well Sets Clear Expectations
Communicating with your team allows you to set clear goals, objectives, and expectations. Using an internal communication platform helps you to keep a steady information flow to your employees. Whether sharing an overview of your company goals or defining specific tasks, your employees will stay well-informed and know precisely what actions to take in their roles.
When your team members understand where the business needs to go (and how it can get there), they will be more driven to do their part. Without expectations established, it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of things.
Strong Communication Leads to a Happier, Healthier Team
Employees like to feel like they are heard. When a team member knows they are valued by their colleagues and leaders, they will be happier. We know that happy employees lead to higher retention.
If you want your team members to remain satisfied and develop healthy relationships with each other, strong internal communication is imperative.
You can advertise company events, memberships, free services, new relaxation spaces, and countless other company amenities through your internal communication tools. Additionally, sensitive crisis communications can show that your business cares about its employees and fosters a healthy team.
Resolve Conflicts Quickly With Effective Internal Communication
As your team members start to improve their relationships with each other, it will naturally reduce the occurrence of negative conflicts within your organization. Not all conflict is harmful.
Healthy disagreement is crucial to successful problem-solving and innovation. But you don’t want your team members up in arms because of a lack of communication. Strong internal communication will leave less room for misunderstanding and promote constructive conflict.
Internal Communication for External Success
Internal communication is a critical aspect of any healthy, successful organization. If you want your employees to love working for your company and for your team to get more things done, consider the information and advice above to improve internal communications.
Don’t forget to look into communication coaching software for your employees. You’ll start to see results in no time!