How Internal Communications Makes Better Businesses
According to research by the US-based Corporate Leadership Council, employees with lower engagement levels are four times more likely to leave their jobs than those who are highly engaged.
Also consider this quote from former Xerox CEO, Anne M. Mulcahy, who says that “employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
Food for thought when we think about the economic value of our internal communications and employee engagement activity.
Enlightened business leaders agree that our internal teams are our frontline ambassadors. They can be the first point of contact our clients have with our business or brand and are responsible for ensuring that a prospect’s first impression of our business is a positive one that represents our core brand values.
While many businesses tend to focus exclusively on the ‘external’ communication, i.e. the projection of the business/brand to customers, effective internal communication can have a profound effect on organizational efficiency and the outward projection of the brand.
If our own people don’t buy-in to our brand proposition, then how can we reasonably expect our customers to?
As a business process, internal communication is generally, poorly understood. Despite the overwhelming academic and real-world evidence of the benefits of internal communication, many businesses still consider it as ‘fluff’, which affects the creativity and productivity of their employees, ultimately resulting in a negative impact on the business.
This is just one reason that effective internal communication is the glue that ties our organizations together and acts as the foundation for our external communications.
And it’s getting easier to do all the time. A slew of new tools have enabled organizations to tap into their most important resource: its employees. Nearly every large organization has its own intranet. While email still remains the preferred communication medium of choice for most companies, a growing number of organizations are using new technologies like internal social networks (such as Yammer, which boasts 85% of Fortune 500 companies as its clients) and collaboration tools (such as Campfire by 37Signals) for further improving company performance.
Consider these ways in which internal communication can help your organization scale new heights:
It’s widely accepted that modern management thinking equates businesses with organic entities. Such an entity can be successful only if all its parts work in sync. By creating an internal comms strategy, branding your ongoing internal campaigns, measuring success and refining where required, you’ll achieve an alignment of internal and external communications that provides organizations with this synchronisation whilst providing the efficiencies of shared resources.
Power To Your People
Progressive organizations thrive on ideas and instant feedback to remain competitive and relevant. Effective internal communication allows employees and managers to give each other feedback on ideas and projects immediately, aiding innovation and providing the opportunity for first-mover advantage.
Furthermore, internal communication creates more democratic organizations. By creating the appropriate channels, employees can share their insight and get their message across to usually inaccessible higher level management. Not only does this empowerment improve morale, but you never know what gems your team will come up with.
According to one study, internal communication is involved in major decisions in 90 percent of organizations. Being able to carry out conversations with team members in real time, seamlessly, improves company cohesion and performance.
With constant input and feedback from employees (and vice-versa) management can make more informed decisions and steer the company better.
Tell Your Story
Each of our organizations have their own unique work culture. Internal communication gives the company a platform to showcase their story and create their own, unique identity.
We’ve established that an engaged team is more productive, satisfied and fulfilled, which in turn results in satisfied customers. It therefore stands to reason that internal communication is as critical to an organisations success as external communications and so deserves the same attention to detail.
By implementing relevant, ongoing internal communications activity we are not only empowering our people and therefore increasing morale / efficiency, but also making a smart business decision by utilising the valuable insight of our teams for the long-term benefit of the business.
Communication guru Bob Aronson sums it up well when he concludes that “if internal communication is not your top priority, all of your other priorities are at risk.”