Focus your internal communications


 

Would you agree that the people in your business are vital to its success? If not, I won’t waste your time; this post won’t resonate with you so stop reading now and have a nice day.

Still there? Great! With few exceptions people are vital to business success; they make the product or provide the service, they generate and close sales, they innovate. It’s a shame then that many businesses ignore a simple need of people – to feel included.

It’s never a great feeling to be ‘the last to know’ and yet all too often employees are not kept informed about what the business is doing and finding out ‘on the grapevine’ is too frequently the default setting.

I’ve worked for most of my life for media and communication companies and it amazed me how in most of them internal communication was poor.

In a business where people love to be first with the story it would often mean that we heard about changes in the company from outside sources, leading to misinformation, low morale and disengagement. Only when the company discovered that the word was already out would they then inform staff officially.

I know there are times when it’s not possible to reveal things if they are commercially sensitive or may have to be handled according to the law or best practice; but I also know that too often a lack of internal communication is simply a lack of time or will.

In our 24/7 instant-access-media world it is now more important than ever to have good and regular communication with your team and I have some simple tips to help:

  • Be open and tell them what you can…and say if there are things that can’t be discussed.
  • Consider a weekly email newsletter, intranet blog or podcast to keep staff informed. If you really don’t have time or do not have enough content for weekly then try for at least once a month.
  • Mix the content; don’t let it be a heavy ‘message from above’, include some praise for teams or individuals and create an overall feeling of positivity.
  • Make it a conversation. Try to include something every so often which invites responses and refer to those responses in a later edition. Use your internal communication to help drive engagement.
  • Know your team. If Lisa in accounts is skydiving for charity this weekend a line at the end of the email wishing her luck and a link to her sponsorship page shows you recognise your staff as people with lives outside the workplace.

As a starting point, these simple tips will help create a culture of informed, engaged, valued employees. Don’t let one of your most important assets fall victim to rumours.