5 Ways to Improve Internal Communications and Employee Engagement
Effective internal communications can boost a company’s revenue and enhance employee engagement by bringing personnel real time information about their company’s goals and strategies. While an important part of a company’s infrastructure, internal communications can sometimes be pushed to the wayside, leaving HR departments to pick up the slack and keep employees engaged.
Employers of choice are often companies that consistently promote and improve their internal communications. In addition, companies that maintain a well-planned communication strategy have a 47% higher return for shareholders, less employee turnover, and better-engaged employees, according to Inc.com.
Can a company survive without improving their in-house communications? Of course. But, companies that do not implement a sound communications strategy lose about $37 billion each year, often because of poor employee communication says the Holmes Report.
So, how can you improve your company’s communications? Here are five key elements to engaging internal employee communications.
#1 Keep goals and objectives visible
Publish team and company goals, and keep them posted for all employees to see. The idea is to reach out to employees through set goals while maintaining an open mind. Employees tend to work better when employer goals are transparent and easy to understand. By maintaining clear and visible goals, it’s easier for employees to reach those goals, improving workplace performance and productivity.
It’s important to excite employees by providing value. By helping them to understand that their contribution improves your company, it gives them a better sense of responsibility. This enables them to push themselves while working and understanding that their jobs work together in tandem with other company processes. Avoid disrupting an employee’s workflow with frequent meetings and pestering emails.
#2 Reduce emails and meetings
It’s not reasonable to expect to eliminate all meeting and emails. It’s sometimes necessary to have meetings, especially when departments and teams need to realign their priorities and goals. Email is probably the easiest way to reach employees en masse, especially with important information and company updates. However, as emails become more and more popular, using email for every single memo can mean a drop-off in engagement as inboxes become crowded. And scheduling frequent meetings—more than once or twice a month—can bog down employees and slow performance and productivity.
Instead of using multiple emails and meetings to keep employees in the know, try something a bit more engaging and easier to use. The use of in-house company social media networks such as Yammer, Slack, Salesforce Chatter, and others can improve overall internal communications and make it easier for you to communicate with employees and provide a platform for employees to communicate with each other.
Send out project updates via your social media business network, and encourage questions or comments to get the conversation moving. Team meetings can be reduced to team updates, informing teams of new strategies, introducing new team members, and providing answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Using online communication tools instead of meetings reduces time wasted in scheduling and attending meetings, and improve overall employee processes without slowing down work performance.
#3 Grant access to management
Who do your employees turn to when they have questions? In most organizations, managers field a majority of questions and are the source of important information for teams. Provide managers the resources they need to disseminate information and participate in team discussions. Instead of waiting for weekly, or monthly meetings to ask and answer relevant questions, managers can engage in ongoing conversations with team members.
In addition, because your managers are the first people your employees reach out to, they need access to the resources and information required to help them support individual employees and teams. Online tools provide the flexibility and instant messaging functionality that makes company-wide, team, and peer conversations easier and more efficient than a barrage of emails and constant time-consuming meetings.
Moreover, managers should be leading by example by creating a culture of transparency within their teams. Managers who avoid regular contact with employees and lead through absent management could potentially damage the employer brand and decelerate efforts toward a positive workplace culture. Maintaining regular contact and offering feedback is essential to having transparent and good leaders and positive employee experiences.
#4 Lead by example
The key to effective communication is transparency. If managers and members of leadership assign specific duties to others that they are not doing willing to perform themselves, employees will question the importance of the tasks. The same is true for the level of communication. If your organization claims to have a culture of transparency and trust, those values must be communicated consistently as part of an internal communication program.
Here are three ways to generate a culture of transparency and trust in your organization.
Honesty is more than telling the truth. Be sure your communications match your actions, because your actions often speak louder than your words. When you’re demonstrating honest behavior in your company, employees see this and want to follow a leader who can be honest about their decisions and choices. Reflect that honesty in your communications by sharing the good news as well as the challenges. You may be surprised at the solutions employees will offer if they know the difficulties to overcome.
Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Strategies fail, key people leave to join another company, and downsizing is often a threat, especially when revenue goals aren’t met. But, it’s important not to be afraid of the changes that come with business. In fact, being strong during such times can show employees that you’re not afraid to take the problems head on and work through them. As much as possible, make your employees part of the solution. Keep communications as positive as possible, but don’t be afraid to share the bad news.
When things do go wrong in your company, and after attempts to fix the problem ultimately fail, it’s important to be sincere about the issue and acknowledge that you have failed. Leaders who try to place the blame or ignore the fact that they made a mistake only shuns employees and promotes distrust. Understand that failure is OK and that admitting it lets your employees know you’re human.
The overall point is to be genuine in your communications. Employees tend to follow sincere individuals and stick with organizations where they feel their contributions can make a difference.
#5 Listen and take surveys
Improve overall internal communications with a simple implementation each month or quarter by using surveys. Surveys promote employee engagement and enhance employees’ desire to have their concerns or feedback heard.
Surveys don’t have to be complicated. Asking employees for their input concerning new processes, management behavior, and overall company involvement is key to finding flaws in your communication strategy. Take in all survey feedback and prioritize areas that need immediate resolution and reconstruction to iron out issues.
Improving internal communications within a company is easier said than done. It’s impossible to be completely transparent, and working through management styles and behavior takes time and patience.
No one list of tips can provide all the necessary information of restructuring and implementing an internal communications strategy. However, it’s important to take each tip slowly, and go through them thoroughly to improve communication areas that may be lacking in your strategy.