Successful businesses follow common internal communications best practices to minimize mishaps and optimize workflow. Here’s how to join them.
Accomplished organizations understand the importance of effective communication in the workplace and put high value on it. A Fierce Inc. survey of more than 1,400 employees, executives, and other customers returned interesting statistics on the topic. More than 85% of respondents cited lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as primary causes of workplace failures. On the other hand, workplaces that use internal communications best practices can see significant boosts in productivity for a variety of sensible reasons.
Good employee communication involves more than just interacting with others. It involves the ability to build trust, knowledge, employee engagement, and good working relationships. This typically leads to better efficiency, fewer errors, and higher levels of productivity. To build a solid internal communications strategy, try integrating these 10 internal communications best practices into your company culture.
1. Evaluate status of communications plan
Ask yourself critical questions for insights into the communication needs that are addressed — or lacking — in your organization.
To create a strong internal communication strategy, first consider your current HR situation. Ask yourself critical questions for insights into the communication needs that are addressed — or lacking — in your organization. The following can help you understand how to achieve effective workplace communication:
- What should your internal communications accomplish?
- How effective is your current HR strategy (what’s working, what needs improvement)?
- Who is involved in your current HR communication strategy? (Too many or not enough HR members?)
- How will you achieve communication goals?
- What is the desired timeline to achieve robust communications best practices?
Once you identify where your HR department stands, you can further evaluate current processes. Then work to formulate a workplace communications strategy reflective of where you want to be.
2. Employ effective communication tools
Today’s organizations frequently include hybrid work structures, which add layers of complications to communication strategies. To successfully integrate internal communication best practices, you’ll need to employ effective communication tools so no employees feel left out.
- Provide a variety of communications channels for feedback and ideas everyone can access.
- Use online software that is designed to encourage open conversations.
- Consider organizational needs and identify tools to help facilitate collaboration.
If you’re like most organizations, one big consideration will be how well in-person and remote employees interact with each other. Do team meetings and collaborative projects move forward effectively, or do communication gaps create problems? Chances are, there’s room for improvement.
3. Show employees how to effectively communicate
Adopting an effective communication strategy doesn’t always come naturally; sometimes organizations have to really work at it. Good practices include:
- Ensuring that messages are concise.
- Choosing careful communications (not so frequent that they’re ignored).
- Demonstrating active listening.
- Providing polite and timely responses.
A good place to start is having HR and upper management members lead by example. This way, the desired expectations for communication are filtered down through the organization. If primary communicators aren’t practicing effective communication, it’s hard to establish overall good employee communication.
4. Encourage cross-department collaboration
The benefits of encouraging cross-department collaboration are numerous. It enables different departments to better understand one another and shows teams what their colleagues are “up against” every day. Providing these alternative perspectives and a more thorough understanding of others’ jobs can help ease tensions and foster helpfulness. Cross-department collaboration also boosts employee morale, reduces isolationism, and offers professional challenges and development opportunities outside employees’ normal scope.
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5. Ensure consistency in communication
Organizations lacking strategic and effective internal communication systems often find immediate failure due to inconsistency. Without consistency in methods, information can get lost or overlooked, and team members can be inadvertently excluded from conversation. Establishing central methods of communication keeps everyone informed and on the same page and ensures nothing falls through the cracks. And selecting reliable internal communication tools that streamline entire internal communication processes will help maintain consistency of use.
Consistency isn’t only about using the right communication tools, though. It also helps organizations frame their ability to reliably share the mission, goals, and values with all members. Ultimately, it keeps everyone focused on the importance of the big picture as much as the small details.
6. Maintain transparency
Transparency is critical to strong internal communications because it aligns with the trust factor. If individuals repeatedly feel left in the dark, this might make them uneasy, anxious or experience other negative emotions. This drain on positive mental-emotional energy can affect overall productivity and employee relations.
Transparency fosters better accountability, empowering teams to feel it’s OK to maintain open dialogue within chosen communication channels. With open communication encouraged, individuals are more likely to ask questions, share concerns, and provide clarification or other important feedback.
7. Solicit and provide feedback
Effective internal communication is a two-way street. Leaders who seek employee feedback and provide routine feedback of their own (praise and constructive criticism) have the most success. Companies actively practicing two-way feedback with team members often enjoy:
- Higher employee retention levels.
- Stronger employee morale.
- Fresh and exciting ideas and excellence in innovation.
These factors move organizations forward in developing new strategies, creating new products/services, maintaining focus and cultivating trust.
8. Share information and metrics
All members of an organization possess a shared interest in its success. And sharing the latest industry news, trends, and other information helps keep them focused on mutual goals. While organizational performance metrics may typically be considered a leadership interest, communicating them to employees is also beneficial. Sharing metrics enables all who dedicate time, energy, insight, and expertise to see how their contributions create success.
9. Centralize and share employee resources
Design your internal communication processes to include sharing important HR resources, training opportunities, and more. Maintaining benefits and training materials, seminars, PTO policies, and other relevant HR resources in one location saves time for all. It also helps facilitate timely distribution of this information.
Maintaining benefits and training materials, seminars, PTO policies, and other relevant HR resources in one location saves time for all.
10. Can you make communication fun?
Integrating fun elements into team communications can inspire, boost morale or simply make a stressful day better. Millennials and Gen Z workers value human connections that affirm the philosophy that work can be both fun and productive. A little lightheartedness goes a long way, so don’t be afraid to model the fun factor!
Internal communications best practices
How a message is communicated is as important as the message sent, and the cost of poor communication is high. Organizations possessing good internal communication channels enjoy improved employee engagement, stronger knowledge in their niche and more success overall.