Ever wondered what is internal communication? or how is internal communication different from external communication? Both are essential components of any business, but they play out differently depending on the field of work, the roles of employees, and the scope of the company in question. Below, we discuss why businesses need internal communication as well as 11 ways to improve internal comms within your business—especially if your employees can be hard to reach.
When employees communicate internally––that is, with other members of their team or company––this is collectively called internal communication. This is opposed to external communication, which encompasses all the messages and conversations to or from external companies.
For any business to be successful, they must effectively communicate externally to build and maintain professional relationships, as well as internally to keep things running smoothly within the business. Business owners place a ton of importance on external communication, but internal comms is important too. In fact, studies show that good internal comms drives 25 percent higher employee productivity. When there’s poor communication in either direction, systems fall apart and productivity reaches a new low.
Internal communication doesn’t play out the same for every business. Some companies run primarily on office work where employees can use computers and the internet to communicate with each other throughout the day. Other remote or field employees though—such as drivers, nurses, and those in the hospitality industry—don’t have the same resources on hand.
So, how can companies with deskless workers keep up effective communication? Why is it such an important component to any successful business? Let’s dive in.
What is Internal Communication?
When professionals share any kind of correspondence or share information for business purposes with other members of their company, it’s called internal communication. People can communicate internally in lots of ways, whether face-to-face or by phone, mail, fax, email, and instant messaging.
Deskless workers, though, are often at a disadvantage when it comes to internal communication. While at times they may have access to computers, phones, and other communication tools, they’re often left on their own.
Facilitating communication amongst small teams who work in the same office is easy to do, especially if there’s a conference room for team members to sit together and discuss. But larger teams must be tactical to ensure that all employees receive consistent information and an opportunity to communicate with leaders and other employees. For those companies comprised of remote, deskless workers, they must use more creative means to keep up communication between everyone on the team and employ thoughtful solutions to improve it over time.
Without positive internal comms, it’s hard for the separate pieces of any business to function, for employees to express concerns or ideas with leaders, and for leaders to disseminate information.
Why Every Business Needs an Internal Communication Strategy
You know what internal communication is, but is it so important? Internal communication is a major component in every single system within a business. It helps in planning, managing coordination, and performance evaluations. It determines how much information employees are equipped with, how much feedback leaders receive from team members, how employees express ideas or concerns, and much more.
Today, businesses have a range of tools to communicate professionally available to them. But how can you ensure deskless and remote workers who don’t have regular access to computer and internet applications speak up?
Perhaps it’s time to rethink internal communication in your workplace. We’ve got 11 internal comms ideas that will improve business processes and connect employees in their various roles.
11 Ideas to Improve Internal Communication in the Workplace
Your business doesn’t need an overhaul. Instead, use any (or all!) of these ideas to optimize internal communication between employees and leaders:
1. Make Core Missions and Vision Clear from Beginning
Once you hire anyone new onto your team, it’s important to outline core missions and make the vision behind your company extremely clear. This will help new employees adopt best practices faster and understand how to act or react to situations with the company’s best interest in mind. From this, you can encourage regular communication and express your business need for positive dialogue.
2. Make “Sticky” Information Accessible
Like core missions and the company vision, “sticky” information is the internal knowledge all employees should incorporate into their roles. This information should be made available during training and should remain accessible throughout their employment, giving them a permanent place to reference documents even if internal communication with others isn’t immediately available. Businesses often have a tough time making this information easily accessible. But with an employee app like Blink, all of the important information your team needs is stored in a succinct place called The Hub that employees can easily access with their mobile device.
3. Measure Internal Communications
Without measuring the success or failures of your current internal communication strategies, it’s difficult to improve in the future. It’s essential to name and keep track of KPIs, such as engagement, response, and feedback, to determine where your employees can benefit the most.
It’s also important to ensure that any digital tools you invest in have an easy way to measure the effectiveness of your internal comms. Company intranets, for example, significantly impact how work gets done, but most analytics simply measure how engaged employees were with the intranet rather than with the company. When you use an employee engagement app like Blink, you get a variety of analytics options that let you track everything from communications flow to trending topics. In doing so, you can measure, monitor, and improve employee engagement thanks to deep insights into your company’s internal communications.
4. Create an Open Dialogue
It’s vital for employees to feel like they can communicate with their leaders and other employees in order for collaboration to work. Businesses can accomplish this by keeping employees consistently up to date on company news and plans. They can hold regular meetings to encourage questions or comments and create a digital newsletter or weekly roundup that keeps everyone in the know.
5. Ensure Managers Lead by Example
It’s difficult for employees to feel comfortable approaching leaders and other employees who are unwilling to talk or who come off as cold and unapproachable. It’s paramount that all managers lead by example and demonstrate positive communication in their daily roles.
6. Establish Weekly Communication Check-Ins
While a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter is an excellent way to give big updates, there should be a more frequent way to get conversations started among employees and leaders. A weekly breakout meeting and utilizing an internal communication app are perfect for facilitating solid internal comms and furthering dialogue, so everyone has the opportunity to speak up.
7. Strengthen Connections Through Regular Engagement
If your business doesn’t have the time or resources to meet with employees all at once each week, it’s important that leaders find a way to supplement these interactions. Consider having your leaders meet at least once each week with employees for just a few minutes to encourage communication and keep up healthy professional relationships.
8. Encourage Information Sharing
As you hire employees, encourage information sharing and reward those who come forward or speak up. It’s important businesses stress that sharing information is good and that being more informed will improve processes across the board, not just in their individual roles.
9. Plan External Events
Strengthening internal communication in the workplace means your employees have to be comfortable talking to one another and must develop a certain level of trust. Creating team outings or planning external events is an efficient way of building team morale and increasing the likelihood of positive communication between employees. This can be especially beneficial if the majority of your team is comprised of deskless or frontline workers as they’re more likely to feel a disconnect day to day.
10. Use Video Communication
Many times, remote workers or those without desks or offices need to get in touch with other employees quickly and express ideas or share information. Video chats are proving to offer the next-best-thing to in-person communication, and video apps can be downloaded to any smartphones or devices. Video is an especially useful tool after studies reveal people remember 20 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see, but 70 percent of what they see and hear combined.
11. Invest In a Comprehensive Employee App
Communicating from afar is made easy with a mobile employee app like Blink that provides reliable coverage and organized ways to communicate professionally. No matter the distance separating employees and leaders, Blink and apps like it help employees stay in touch throughout the day and keep their messages organized.
Because of advancements in technology, it’s easy than ever to understand what internal communication truly is. It’s also easier to keep up internal communication even when your company is made up of deskless or remote workers. Building relationships within your team is also easy to do and highly-efficient for encouraging future communication.
Without positive internal communication, people are less likely to perform optimally and keep the various professional systems moving along. But by employing an intranet appas well as these tips for improvement, any business can get back on track to growth and productivity in no time.