An effective internal communication strategy is extremely important for businesses in the 21st century. Technology has enabled many businesses to expand their global footprint and has allowed employees to work remotely, making internal communication the glue that holds companies together.
Covid has changed the way we think of offices; many businesses are even shifting away from traditional, large campuses to incorporate smaller, satellite locations for a multitude of reasons, including reducing overhead, allowing employees more flexibility, and decreasing their carbon footprint. However, in pivoting away from corporate business space to completely remote or hybrid models, businesses need to be especially savvy with how they communicate, connect, and collaborate with members across their organizations.
Affirma CEO, Robert Campbell, comments:
“One thing the pandemic has shown us is that we can work in different ways. Crowded corporate offices with thousands of employees may be a thing of the past as many organizations rethink their business models to accommodate remote work flexibility and reduced office space. With this shift, it is extremely important for businesses to have a strong internal communication strategy that encourages unity and collaboration through online and easy-to-use tools.”
There is considerable evidence that demonstrates that a great internal communication plan within organizations improves business performance. In fact, according to Workforce, 60% of companies don’t have a long-term strategy for their internal communications and Salesforce notes that 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. If we haven’t convinced you why an internal communications strategy is crucial in today’s changing workplace, here are four more reasons to ponder:
1. Provides Employees a Sense of Purpose
From a business value perspective, 73% of employees who say they work at a “purpose-driven” company are engaged. This is compared to just 23% of those who say they don’t, according to Inc.
Solid internal communication nurtures company culture and builds employee engagement. Internal communications create a channel for feedback, debate, and discussion. Employees also want to understand their goals and how those goals are contributing to the company’s success. Feeling included and valued as part of a team is very important for everyone, but is especially crucial for the younger generations of workers who rely heavily on feedback and interaction.
Think about it: Gone are the days when the purpose is more easily communicated in an open, in-person office environment by attending a meeting or visiting colleagues’ cubicles to ask questions or even get social interaction. Today, utilizing an internal communication plan and effectively sharing information about a team or company’s achievements through a company intranet or communication platform, such as SharePoint or Teams, can help employees feel included and affirm their sense of purpose toward reaching goals, making progress, and feeling their contributions matter. In-person offices also greatly benefit from an internal communication strategy to have proactive best practices and procedures in place for communicating with employees to build engagement.
2. Promote a Strong Company Culture and Brand
The best internal communication strategies do more than simply manage and distribute information—they foster an engaging environment that promotes relationships and builds trust. That trust, in turn, creates a strong company culture and can help establish a solid, reliable brand for employees and customers.
A company’s reputation is directly related to its brand promise or the value or experience that customers can expect to receive through various interactions. Better internal communications with frontline employees help with overall communication on all fronts.
Think about it: informed employees with clearly communicated goals, a well-trained staff, and happy demeanors can significantly improve customer interactions with the brand and enhance revenue.
Customer experience has been increasingly important in competitive marketplaces and investing in a good internal communication strategy is key as it promotes good organizational communication and process to enable a better customer experience—which indirectly leads to a better brand.
3. Empower Clear-and Fast- Communication in Times of Crisis
Timely and careful communication with employees and stakeholders is crucial in surviving a crisis without escalation. Research shows that managers communicate significantly less with employees during a crisis, but having a solid internal communication plan in place allows for instant notifications across the organization to help steer the narrative about crises.
A good internal communication plan enables employees to get the news, communication, and information they need when they need it. Having a secure, Cloud-based internal communication strategy helps organizations network and share resources in central, easy-to-use locations in a fast, efficient, and easy way. This reason alone supports the argument to take the time to invest in a good internal communication strategy—especially to support clear and fast communication in times of crisis.
Think about it: Business sometimes suffers, teams are sometimes forced to restructure, and mergers and acquisitions happen. Unexpected events or emergencies, like a global pandemic, also require companies to be able to think fast and develop a cohesive plan that can be easily communicated across the organization. These types of events are when people need internal communications most. Announcements of impending structural or day-to-day process changes need to be treated with extra care because the morale of the organization and its business continuity is at stake.
Transparency with a delicate tone and thought-out internal communications strategy can take a tough situation and bring people together, rather than the opposite. People will have questions and the way you answer those questions will remain in your peoples’ minds for a long time. Being proactive and considerate when delivering bad news creates an atmosphere of openness and caring that can help sustain your organization through tough times. Building trust through thoughtful and organized internal communications—and getting information directly from the CEO or members of the executive team—can make a big difference in these types of situations.
4. Retain Talent
The turnover rate is a huge problem for many businesses. In fact, U.S. companies had an average turnover rate of 22% in 2018, with 15% attributed to voluntary turnover. Job-hopping has become more common over the last decade and can be very expensive for employers.
Good internal communications help minimize turnover by providing constant feedback and engagement opportunities to establish camaraderie and loyalty. Whether you’re trying to attract talent or retain it, employees need to know their employers. A well-functioning internal communications system and the open work environment it creates will give your company an edge in today’s highly competitive market.
A centralized location for specific communication channels also helps streamline the flow of information from the top, or corporate leadership, across the organization, to frontline workers. Middle management is empowered through this flow of communication to help inform employees, providing built-in communication to build a more effective way to distribute information and train managers. This communication enhances the office amity and helps workers do their job better.
Think about it: Employee engagement and open communication promote a healthy work environment. When employees are happy, have a sense of purpose, and feel invested in a company, they are more likely to stay. Retaining talent is another great reason for implementing an exceptional internal communication program.
Consider Implementing an Internal Communication Strategy Today
An effective internal communications strategy is a critical aspect of your organization’s daily operations. You may have best practices and procedures in place for communicating well with customers, partners, and even potential new hires, but the same level of care applied to your own employees can help build engagement and a more harmonious workplace.
Affirma offers a comprehensive approach to organizational transformation and the implementation of a successful internal communication system. We provide innovative communication tools, resources, and solutions to meet every client’s unique need. We know that change is constant in today’s business world and that communication is vital for business success, which is why we specialize in change management services.
Don’t put strong internal communications with employees on the back burner – improvements in employee engagement, cultural alignment, and employee advocacy will shine when you focus on connecting to your employees. Get in touch today to schedule your free consultation and take the steps to make a meaningful change across your company.