The growth and success of the company highly depend on this type of communication. Today, one difficulty that is being faced by most company owners is the inability to differentiate between internal and external communication systems of their company. However, when talking of internal and external communication of a company, internal communication refers to how members of the company communicate with each other while external communication refers to the communication of a member of a company with an outside party. When a company practices effective communication, the employees of the company facilitates businesses to totally tap into the unique knowledge, visions, and talents of its personnel. Effective communication in a company does not only bring profit to the company but build a solid community within the company, allowing employees to feel confident and happy, and to meet expectations set for them. You might be asking yourself why you should improve on your company internal communication? According to studies carried out by people like Tower Watson, if a company has high effective communication practices, the company enjoys 47% higher total returns to shareholders compared with another company that is less effective at communicating. In as much as improved internal communication produce a high return to shareholders, it also has the potentials to increase your employee engagement, build stronger team communication and enhance your company competitiveness. Internal and external communication practices in a company help the productivity to increase, shape a better workplace and reduce conflict between team members that occur from day-to-day. When the internal communication of the company is good, then the external communication will also be good. Therefore, there are enough reasons why you have to improve on your internal communication. To improve on the company culture by building employees who are forward-thinking in their approach, here’s how a company can improve internal communication .
Create an Organizational Chart to Determine the Working Relationships
The company structure illustrating the job titles, job responsibilities and the company manner of reporting is defined in the organizational chart. In order to help your employees in maintaining a proper conversation with their hierarchy, it is important for them to familiarize themselves with the company organizational chart. For instance, an employee who is new in the company can use the complete organizational chart to know his roles in the company and to know who to meet in case of help or to report issues concerning the company. A company can only have a proper and powerful communication habits among the employees when the workers in the company are aware of the working relationships of the company. Also, when the working relationship of the company has been established, it makes the allocation of resources and the assigning of responsibilities in projects to be very easy and encourages employees to work towards achieving company goals, thereby increasing the company’s overall productivity.
Use Online Tools to Improve Internal Communication
Projects or any other task given to employees in a company can be successful and completed on time when the team cooperates and contributes efficiently. For this to be possible, it requires an effective team communication among members as well as with others in different sectors of the company. One of the easiest and the fastest way in which employees can use to connect with each other is via an online collaboration tool. For example, there are tools like Skype, Slack, etc. which are great online communication tools used to foster communication among employees in a company, as well as between sectors and branches found in different countries. Using some of these online tools for communication purposes help members connect with team members who are working remotely, keep multiple chats in real-time effectively, prevent employees from spending time on ad hoc meetings and break linguistic barriers among employees. Overall, using an online communication tool can be a better way to encourage employees to connect with one another and to further strengthen the connection that the employees have form.
Reminders of the Company’s Vision and Mission
Your company vision and mission should always tie in order to improve your company’s internal communication. This is the reason why you have to keep reminding employees of the goals they are supposed to be working to achieve and the values they need to uphold to be able to attain the goals. You have to emphasize to your employees on the importance of the vision and mission that are essential parts of the company’s internal communication strategy. When your employees are excited to work in order to achieve the company objectives, it is very beneficial to the company and the employees. That is, the more they are excited to be part of something that is greater than themselves, the more they are motivated to get the job done and to keep advancing as one team. Nevertheless, in order for the employees to meet the objectives of the company, you need to keep repeating the vision and the mission to them in every staff meeting that you have with them. You should also teach them to be transparent, engaged in what they do and to have a clear communication with each other.
Staff Training during Company Workshops and Team Building
Company workshops will generate many opportunities for your employees to get to know and bond with each other. The workshops also give employees the chance to refine their skills, get advice from experts, pick up new ideas and have fun in the course of the workshop. In as much as most employers consider that workshops or team building exercises will take up employees’ time and delay them from completing their projects, it is not far from the truth. However, staff training workshops and team building exercises can increase the productivity and engagement of employees, getting them eager and more focused on the job they are in charge of. With these great advantages, one can say team building activities should be the most important investment a company should carry out. Effective team building workshops are the most reliable way to build a successful team that is united, productive and excited to work hard. As a company, you have to plan powerful workshops that employees will love to participate in it and in return will learn from it.
Building a Regular Communication Related Activities Habit
Engaging in regular communication habits within the office is one of the ways you can use to improve your company’s internal communication. This does not certainly mean talking with each other all the time, but this is more of a communication type that happens on a schedule and includes the complete team or the sector. Such communication habits for examples can include daily stand-up meetings to discuss on the tasks that the members have already finished and the task they are currently working on or may be weekly meetings where all employees gather and discuss their weekly tasks. When you gather your employees for these meetings, you can encourage them to do a presentation on an interesting topic that can be of help to the company. You can gather your employees to also evaluate the company monthly newsletters that give the monthly accomplishments of the various teams and to lay down the objectives for the next month. Also, you can have monthly outings where the team could have discussions on topics outside office projects. Finally, you can organize quarterly employee reviews in order to encourage and advise team members of your company. When you have such a communication system in your company, it will not only improve the internal communication of the company but will also make your employees to feel more at ease when it comes to interacting with each other.
Uphold Transparency in Order to Build Trust
Transparency should not only be part of your company policy but should also be a driving force behind the trust that occurs between the employer and the employee, and also with the employees themselves. The relationship that exist between the employer and the employees should be treated as a crucial matter because it is what assists the employees to understand the vision and mission of the company and the role which they have to play in achieving them. When an employer is more open and sincere with his employees it can also increase the employees’ engagement, not only in finishing their own work on time but also in solving problems faced by the company. Employees can help easily in finding good solutions when they are regularly updated on the company’s past, current and future strategies and challenges facing the company at the time. A company can be able to maintain transparency very easily using their blogs internet wikis, communication tools and monthly or weekly meetings. Once a company has put in place all these things, it will build a culture where employees can feel more free and comfortable when it comes to giving their ideas to building company strategies and the solving of problems.
Exercise Good Communication Habits as a Leader
You have to lead by example when you are the chief executive officer of a company or the leader of a team. You need to set a good example because you are the person that your employees are all looking on to. This means that if you want to improve internal communication in your company, you need to start by playing your own part before your employees can follow. As the boss of a company, you need to know all employees personally, be friendly to them, open and clear in your discussion with them and actively listen to what they have to say at all times. Your employees will feel comfortable communicating in the office based on the way you interact with them. That is, the more your interaction with them, the more they become open to you. It is very clear that an effective internal team communication might be a deciding factor behind the success of your company. No matter how many employees you have, if they cannot have a proper team communication, then your company would barely survive.
Develop a strategic communication plan
Many things have been said and written about strategic communication planning. The vital question that most people ask themselves is what they can do to be considered a strategic communicator? The answer to this question is found in the strategic communication plan. A great plan has all the necessary components of the internal communication strategy. Developing a good strategic communication plan takes years of study and practical work experience. A communication strategy is a vital part of a company's daily operation. The strategy includes, the company’s activities, internal and external communications of the company, clarifies the company's priorities, target audiences, resources and staff assignments. The elements of an internal communication strategy are basically the same no matter the type of company. The communications strategy is driven by the company’s goals and outcomes, vision, values and beliefs. There are some key things that must be in a strategic communication plan to make it effective. If you must succeed in the implementation of an internal communication strategy, then you must bring all these elements together. Below is a review of some main components that make up a successful strategic communication plan.
Identify your target audience: You have to identify your target audience and put in place strategies to get to them. That is, come out with a list of different people who are vital to the success of the company and identify ways to reach the people. Your target audiences may include investors, employees, volunteers, board members, elected officials, church groups, business leaders, trade associations and the general public.
The situation analysis: To know how the target audiences see the company and its issues, you have to research into media coverage or look for public opinions. With the use of the internet, it is easy to build a profile of how the company's issues are covered in the media, how often the company is cited or described, and what public opinion surveys have been done on pertinent topics. A good internal communications strategy should collect data on the significant issues in formats that can answer the “who, what, when, where, why and how” questions. The first thing when designing a strategic communication plan is to conduct a formative research. Your strategies must be built on facts and not fiction or guesswork. This is because the strategic communication plan is like the road map for successful project implementation and management. When doing this research, you have to start by finding about the issues facing the company. Formative research can be either primary or secondary. Primary formative research is an original research that is planned and conducted by the communicator to address the specific situation that the company is facing. Secondary formative research on the other hand adapts a research relating to the company situation that has already been conducted. After the research is completed, it becomes the basis of writing a reliable situation analysis. This analysis presents the major details for the achievement of success.
Strategic summary: Create a phrase of five to ten words to describe the company that can be used every time a reporter does a story about the company. It is important to be able to tell the media how the company wants to be described so that they will not come up with descriptions that are not accurate. Recommendations for actual strategic communication activity which is captured in a strategic summary can be made by the communicator after writing the situation analysis. The strategic summary includes setting goals and objectives for the company in order to improve on the relationship of the employees and the outsiders. Some objectives are set to make the goal SMART. To form the objectives, the communicator takes into consideration the overall strategy that will effectively reach the target audience and/or the various media that the company uses to perform its internal communication. The activities in the internal communication strategy of the company should be supported by the company's overall communications goals. It is vital that the goals that you set be measurable in order to know when they will be achieved and to be able to measure the progress along the way. The company's communication goals may be to create and realize communication strategies for improved visibility and crisis management. Your company mission statement is like the cornerstone of the internal communications strategy that drives the overall direction of media activities in the company. This is because media activities enhance the company's overall image, advance its program and influence public decision. Therefore, it is vital for company to include this mission statement at the very beginning of the internal communication strategy to remind employees, board members and other internal decision makers that media-related activities flow from the company's core mission and vision and not just from the company communications department.
Assessment of resources: The communications strategy needs to indicate clearly how resources will be allocated, including employee’s time, budgets, equipment, computers, software, in-house services, databases and volunteer help. Should in case your company is having fewer employees of about ten, everybody from the executive director to the person who answers the phone should be a member of the communications team. A resource analysis for the company should be able to assess employee time, in-house services and existing media technologies. Create a budget that includes provisions for outside contracts and services.
Budgeting: For any internal and external communications program to be successful, company communications managers need resources. To establish a budget that has meaning, the company need to evaluate and weigh any weakness in the ability to build a strong team communication among employees, share concerns, constructive feedback and discover information that will help them to be better at their jobs. The strategic communicator does a budget of the activity after recommendations have been formulated in the strategic summary and backed up by a strategy and strategic implementation. The best tool use for the budgeting is the Excel spreadsheet; in the “If” function of the Excel spreadsheet, to get a budget that will help in the achievement of the various objectives.
Development of a work plan: The company should create work plans for each main event or activity and try to review overall plans quarterly. Components of a communication work plan should be able to indicate assignments and important tasks. That is, develop timelines, calendars of events and priorities. Also, assign responsibilities, review progress and enforce or revise deadlines to lead and support staff. There should be a crisis control plan within the work plan that you are developing for the company. That is, you prepare a well thought out plan on how your company is going to deal with possible negative stories in the media about the company or its employees. In your plan, you should add the identification of a crisis coordination team, a plan to guarantee timely and suitable reactions to negative press and regular internal updates about the procedures for executing a damage control plan.
Evaluation and Summary: No communication strategy is complete without a built-in evaluation element as a way to check responsibility and make changes over time. Main evaluation activities might include media content analysis and observing certain developments, such as changes in the public opinion, changes in policy, increased membership and company participation, and enhanced institutional capacity. Evaluating the effectiveness and impact of internal communication strategy is very important for the company at all times. This is because successful internal communications strategy provides long-term returns greater than their cost. To be able to measure the effectiveness and impact of internal communication strategy, you have to analyze recent changes in productivity, sales, and profits of the company and also conduct surveys on your employees’ happiness and job fulfillment. Another thing to do is review the latest staff retention rates of your company. Once you have a result that shows positive or promising, then the management will be more accommodating every time communication experts suggest additional solutions that will further strengthen the company’s internal communication. A written internal communication strategy of the company should be easy to read and should have a set-up adaptable for overhead or computer presentations for a bigger audience. It is good to keep in mind that the elements of a communication strategy are principally the same whether the company has dozens, hundreds and thousands of employees.
It is quite clear that with the above listed steps you can now improve the communication within the walls of your c