So much relies on the healthy internal communication of a company.
Companies with clear and accessible communication channels are better equipped to solve problems, have more engaged and knowledgeable staff, and allow employees to achieve more and grow.
While some companies just seem to have it, others don’t.
But this isn’t something that you’re either born with or not. Any company can dramatically improve the way they communicate internally.
Let us show you how.
You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what’s wrong.
When it comes to internal communication, two common problems keep popping up.
Too many ways to communicate – Channels
Companies are constantly trying to evolve how they communicate where their customers. It’s common to see companies use channels like email, phone, and text. But recently, they’ve added in things like social media platforms, online forums, and even their own website.
But when it comes to communicating internally, there are just too many channels for employees to cover.
As you can imagine, it just gets worse when companies seem to choose at random which channel they’ll use to communicate.
Employees might be looking through their email and texts to find important information that was sent to them on Instagram.
Focus all important communication through one central platform and stick with it. This way, everyone knows exactly where to look when they need to find answers.
Too many steps in communication – Top to Bottom
A typical game played in school is ‘telephone.’ It’s when one person whispers a specific sentence to another person and then repeats it to another. And this goes on until the whole classroom has done it. The final product is often just a shadow of the original sentence.
The reason for this is to show how quickly information gets altered, even unintentionally.
When you force a top-to-bottom style of communication, all you’re doing is ensuring that the person at the top never gets the sentence as it was meant to be.
Explain Your Company’s Purpose
Companies are more than just profits and costs.
Companies have a purpose, a driving force behind what they do. And sure, profits and costs are a thing that allows these companies to stay in business.
But it can’t be all your employees know about your company.
When a company has its purpose clearly defined – and backed up by real action – your employees will buy into it. They won’t struggle with the day-to-day minutia as much.
Solving minor problems which would require asking questions, waiting, and getting answers is now easy to handle because your employees know the direction the business is heading.
It’s almost overstated by now. There are too many meetings.
“This could have been an email.”
Think of meetings as an amplifier.
If you put reasonable, intentional effort and meaning into it, then you’ll get more of that.
When you put negative energy into the meeting, that’s what you’ll get.
But most meetings aren’t negative. They’re empty. They’re needless. They’re a waste.
Waste is the kryptonite to communication. When communication is wasteful, it simply ceases to be.
This isn’t to say all meetings are bad. Good meetings motivate teams, energizes individuals, and lifts up the company.
If you can’t make a meeting ‘good’, then you probably don’t need the meeting.
Not everyone communicates in the same way.
Some prefer face-to-face conversations. Some struggle with those.
Some like little reminders. Some want to be left alone.
Everyone communicates differently, and the only way you can figure this out is by asking.
The act of asking your team how they would like to communicate not only gets your team closer to the internal communication you crave, but your team will also feel like you care and are listening to them. Because you do, and you are.
Listening vs. Hearing
There’s a big difference between listening and hearing.
When employees want you to listen, but you’re only hearing them, you encourage them not to communicate with you.
This isn’t a switch you simply flip and then everything’s good. You have to cultivate a workplace environment that focuses on genuinely listening, even if you don’t agree or go in another direction.
This leads us to…
Lead the Way
As an owner, head of a department, or CEO, you have to lead the way.
When the bosses communicate well, the employees follow.
Communication is a learnable skill, and we should treat it as such. But if you were to ask your team to improve how they communicate and not worry about it yourself, you won’t have a team for much longer.
Encourage Non-Work Communication
Non-work communication, or water cooler talk, is actually good for a workplace.
People that feel like they can be themselves, engage freely with others, and are trusted generally are better employees.
Obviously, this can go too far. If everyone only ever talked about non-work issues, you’d get nothing done.
But trying to ban this outright is a recipe for disaster.
Our last tip for really improving your internal communication is to learn.
Learn how you communicate. Learn what works. Learn why. Learn what doesn’t work. Learn why.
Communication is a skill like any other; if we don’t treat it as such, our skills decrease.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with realizing you haven’t been doing something well and making a change. There is something wrong with realizing that and then ignoring it.
When your team sees you’re willing to learn, they will be, too.
Communication is a vital ingredient of a healthy business that is often mistreated and misunderstood.
But when you put forth the genuine effort and lead the way, there is no reason your company, or any company, can’t master the methods of internal communication.