The pandemic has transformed the way we go about our lives, with the rise of remote work and the use of Zoom and other video conferencing tools as the sole setting for our workplace interactions. Because most offices have moved online, companies’ workforces are now dispersed and at risk of disconnection.
What is Internal Communications?
Internal communications is the facilitation of effective communication among people within an organization. It entails creating messages on behalf of management and delivering them to employees, as well as promoting healthy dialogue between those who make up the company.
Why is Internal Communications Important?
Internal communications is important because it is a vital tool for promoting a thriving company culture that boosts engagement and builds your brand in the remote work era.
A strong communications strategy is a two-way street that works best when it engages both employers and employees. With an effective strategy in place, companies can both motivate and inform workers while reducing turnover and creating a strong employer brand for prospective employees.
Internal Communications and Company Culture
The physical shift away from the in-person office has resulted in a profound cultural transformation that poses a fresh set of problems for employers. Mainly, how do we recreate a productive and cohesive company culture in a predominantly virtual setting?
We’ve outlined three ways internal communications can shape your company culture during the era of remote work.
Inform and Engage Employees
Keeping your employees informed is a key aspect of reinforcing your company values and ensuring transparency. According to a Harris poll, 70% of employees felt more engaged in their work when their company communicated its goals, objectives, and values clearly. Further, effectively communicating company messages internally can improve the alignment of company interests with its employees, which has been shown to boost engagement and reduce turnover.
Improve Employer Brand
Effective internal communications can also mobilize employee ambassadors and improve your employer brand. According to a recent Bambu report, 63% of employees surveyed said that understanding company values would encourage them to become an advocate for the business and tell others about the company. And, because 75% of prospective employees consider employer brand before applying for a role, the link between promoting your company values internally and success in recruiting top talent is evident.
Not only can poor communication lead to conflict, but it can also impede conflict resolution. Establishing an open dialogue with and between your employees will build the pathways necessary to improve conflict resolution or even prevent issues in the first place. A strategy that encourages transparency and communication will supply your employees with the skills and practices that lead to healthy teams and workplace relations.
How to Improve Your Internal Communications Strategy
An effective communications strategy in the post-pandemic world relies on a multi-pronged approach. Previously, in-person offices facilitated shared values and communication between team members. However, without a physical space and regular face-to-face interactions between colleagues, companies must reconsider what it means to communicate effectively and reach their employees.
Understand Your Employees
To reach your employees you must first understand what makes them tick and how they digest information.
Every team is different and, depending on your employees, they may prefer to communicate through emails, Microsoft Teams or Slack chats, or via video calls and virtual team meetings. Similarly, an awareness of your employees’ schedules and when they encounter pressure points during their day will help you to identify the optimal times to communicate with them when they are most receptive to company updates.
You can gain insight into your employees’ needs by hosting a discussion or conducting employee feedback surveys. Not only will this help you to understand your company culture from your employees’ perspectives, but the act of asking your employees for their feedback can improve the lines of communication between you and your team.
Have an Open-Door Policy
Remove the red tape and present regular opportunities for employees to meet with you directly. Chris Brenchley, co-founder and CEO of Surehand, explains that “an open-door policy is a symbol of trust and openness.” By establishing office hours designated for this purpose, you can begin to establish a quick and effective way to communicate with employees more openly. Not only this, but employees will feel like the company has transparent leadership and will be less likely to withhold essential feedback.
Effective communication in the workplace is about conversation – the exchange of information between employees and employers. The best way to ensure an open dialogue is by giving employees a seat at the table. In other words, give them the tools and opportunities to be active participants in company conversations. Share with them the big picture elements of the company that traditional leadership sometimes withholds from its workers, such as business strategy and projections for the future. As Neal Taparia, CEO of Solitaired, points out, “every employee wants a seat at the table. They don’t want to be someone just taking orders, but they want to understand the big picture and how they fit within the puzzle.”
In addition to hosting meetings, conducting employee surveys, and having office hours, it’s essential for leadership to proactively deliver updates. Heidi Lynne Kurter, leadership coach and workplace culture consultant, suggests having frequent townhalls to provide company updates, host Q&As, and help you share current challenges and feedback.
A Multi-Pronged Approach to Internal Communications
Internal communications is vital to building and sustaining your company culture in the era of remote work. An effective strategy can both improve employee engagement and contribute to an employer brand that attracts and retains top talent. By listening to your employees and seeking honest feedback, you can open the channels of communication that produce positive results.
Boosting your employees’ productivity and creating a thriving culture starts with listening to your employees and communicating effectively. At Barometer, we can help you to understand your internal communications and build your strategy by analyzing your employee survey results. Click here to learn more!