“Clients do not come first; employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients,” Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group.
It’s not to say that happy customers aren’t key to maintaining a sustainable business, but rather that an engaged and passionate workforce will provide the best service for your clients.
Having effective internal communication makes life easier for employees of all levels within an organization. Employees who care about their job and their company will provide the best customer experience for your clients. Or at least that’s the ideal situation, right?
Internal communication seems so straight-forward on the surface, but you’re likely shaking your head at the reality.
If you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet that you already understand that effective internal communication is more than just a set of email blasts to the appropriate groups.
Working on your internal comms plan? Start here:
1. Clear Corporate Messaging
Having a clear corporate message that is infused into all aspects of the organization is important to keep everyone rowing the boat in the same direction.
Plugging this corporate message into email signatures and on posters in the lunchroom are ways to ensure that the message is continuously visible and that all employees are to conduct their business in accordance to this message.
An even better approach is to maintain a digital notice board that keeps corporate messaging fresh. Use your notice board to reinforce initiatives and share the benefits that will resonate with employees.
Need an example?
An organization we recently worked with was reinventing their brand and targeting a new market. After the initiative was launched, their notice board posts each week focused on a different element of the rebrand, informing the team of why the change was important and requesting simple feedback via one-question polls. To support the digital communication efforts, quirky posters were installed in each office and the team was given SWAG to build excitement for the new direction.
2. Two-Way Communication
Communication only works when it goes both ways. Employees need to feel valued and appreciated. Management needs to encourage all employees to provide feedback on how management could best support them to assist them in having an ideal work environment.
Employees appreciate staying in the loop, but they don’t need to know everything that goes on at any given moment. Employees can only process so much information at a time. Keep the information snippets brief and on-point, relevant to the employee’s role in the organization and distributed in a timely manner.
Easier said than done? Why not give your managers better tools to communicate?
One study I recently read by Edison Research quoted that ten percent of hourly workers have a primary workplace with 500 or more employees. Enterprise communication is too complicated for email to be effective.
Look for a communication platform that allows you to segment each element of employee communication, ie: each type of employee should have access to the right tools and documents automatically; managers should be able to manage, view, and control communication to their teams both directly and as a group. Finally, communications teams should be able to target their communications both globally and by team.
3. Centralized Corporate Communication Platform
By now, you’re probably getting the message that email isn’t the ideal communication platform for enterprise-scale organizations and associations, particularly relative to internal communication and employee engagement.
Why a centralized communication platform?
- Frontline employees may or may not be sitting at a desk in front of a computer – and even if they are, a crowded inbox isn’t the way to differentiate the important messages.
- Enterprise-scale organizations often have employees from several sites working together, and team rosters that are apt to change. Managing email groups can grow to a full-time role.
- Intranets get stale.
- Document libraries also get stale. Employees need a single location with only the right documents and files for their role, that is always up to date.
- Social media platforms (and text messages) are not a replacement for any form of sensitive employee communications.
- Data should drive your efforts. All forms of communication should be analyzed to understand what resonates and that your communication meets compliance (if applicable). It’s also helpful to get feedback from integrated surveys and polls.
When communication trickles down from upper management to middle managers, then down to employees, there are going to be communication issues. Think of the game “telephone” and how often the message changes with each person that relays it.
If you’re undertaking an internal communications strategy, we should talk about the challenges you’re facing and how a platform to centralize communications can help.
As Director of Business Development for iTacit, Nathan leads global business efforts for the entire suite of products, connecting, educating and engaging employees at all stages of the work cycle.