Effective internal communication is a key factor in the health of any business—no matter the size. Ensuring that employees are engaged, in the loop, and on the same page is paramount. Unfortunately, communicating important information, changes, or policies with your employees is becoming more and more difficult for business leaders and managers. Remote team members, inboxes flooded with emails, and an ever-growing workload have all created new challenges when it comes to communicating with employees.
Remember…How > What
While the “noise” you’re facing has gotten louder, it hasn’t changed the fact that improving internal communication is important. Not only is it essential for disseminating your ideas and objectives, but it’s also foundational for your employees’ ability to build relationships, share concerns, and discover information that helps them be more effective at their job.
When helping business leaders understand how to communicate more effectively with employees, here’s a simple reminder we often share: How you communicate is just as important, if not more important than what you communicate.
If it seems like employees are ignoring the policies or information you’re sharing, it might not be because they don’t value it. It might be because the way in which you’re communicating isn’t breaking through the noise. If it seems like teams are constantly running into communication issues, it’s possible that the methods, not the messages, might be the problem.
5 Best Practices for Effective Internal Communication
So, how do you go about creating a culture of more effective internal communication? Here are a few best practices we’ve seen from partnering with organizations in almost every industry:
1. Ditch Email for a Project Management or Collaboration Platform
According to studies, the average office employee received 121 emails EVERY SINGLE DAY. If email is your primary way of sharing important information or collaborating with your team, it’s likely that messages are getting lost in the noise.
Email has its benefits, but internal communication is not one of them. If you want to improve communication and collaboration, consider a project management or collaboration tool for teams to communicate with each other.
2. Design Visuals for Important Concepts, Values, or Initiatives
65% of employees are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. If this is true, then communicating important concepts, such as your organizational values or important annual initiatives might “stick” more effectively when they’re communicated visually.
Rather than distributing a bullet point list of your values or annual goals, find a designer to help you convey that information in an easy-to-digest manner. It will likely have a more lasting impression than text.
3. Don’t Forget to Include What’s In it for Them
Is your staff not reading your memos? Do they forget what you communicated in the last company email? Are they not changing a behavior or practice you wanted to improve? It might be because they didn’t understand how it would help them.
Whenever you’re communicating an important policy or initiative that requires buy-in from employees, you can’t forget to include what’s in it for them. How will it make their lives better? How will it help them be more effective at their job? These are important questions to consider when communicating with employees.
4. Find a System that Works for Your Team, but Don’t Be Afraid to Tweak It
There’s no “one size fits all” communication process that works for every organization. In fact, different teams within an organization might use different processes to communicate effectively.
Finding a system that works for your team is an important principle for your managers and team leaders to understand. At the same time, always encourage them to adjust or abandon a system if it starts hurting more than helping. For example, your team might need to conduct a daily 10-minute stand-up meeting while working on an important project. But, don’t host a daily stand-up meeting simply for the sake of hosting it. Instead, focus on sending the right information to the right people at the right time.
5. Make Sure Employees Know They Can Come to You with Questions, Ideas, or Concerns
Having an “open door policy” is not limited to the physical space. By opening the lines of communication and making sure employees know they can come to their manager or supervisor with questions or concerns, your team members will feel welcome rather than intimidated. Whether you’re a large corporation or a startup, this internal communications practice bridges gaps and helps build receptive, honest relationships between employees.
Improving Internal Communication is Worth It
Investing in what it takes to improve internal communication can seem like a lot of work. But, it’s worth the investment. It improves team morale and enhances employees’ ability to be effective. It reduces the number of missed opportunities, misunderstandings, and lost revenue because of miscommunication.
If internal communication challenges are preventing your company from achieving your goals, our team at LBMC Employment Partners can help. Connect with one of our team members today to learn how we can help you take steps toward improving internal communication and creating an environment where every employee thrives.