The Importance of Internal Communication For Business Success
We all know that companies can spend huge amounts of money trying to find the best ways to reach customers with their marketing message. But communicating with staff is just as important to the success of a business as communicating with customers. That’s why every business needs a good internal communication strategy. Read this article to learn more about its significance and the best ways you can ensure it.
What is an internal communication strategy?
As mentioned above, internal communication is the flow of information within a company. It covers one-way announcements from the management to employees, as well as two-way exchanges between individual employees, or between the management and staff.
Internal communication can rely on different media, which can be verbal, printed, or electronic.
An internal communication strategy defines what goals an organization has in communicating with its staff and sets out the means and methods by which these goals are to be achieved.
4 best tools for internal communication
Modern businesses can choose from a wide variety of communication tools. The choice is not entirely arbitrary. It usually depends on factors such as the size of the company, the presence or absence of remote work opportunities, the type of information to be shared, and employee needs.
Digital tools unsurprisingly enjoy great popularity with modern businesses. They are accessible, fast, and work well for hybrid teams. These can include
- instant messaging software
- internal newsletters and blogs
- video conferencing and meetings.
The fourth most recommended tool is an internal phone system. It is cost-effective, convenient, and does not require access to the internet. Of course, all these options can be used together or matched with other tools.
The importance of internal communication for businesses
There is ample evidence that internal communication can contribute to the success of a business. According to research by Towers Watson, organizations that implement good communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their competitors.
Internal communication is also essential for employee experience. According to alight.com, effective communication is the top expectation employees have of employers. There are studies confirming the positive impact of good workplace communication on the productivity and motivation of employees too.
Let us take a look at some benefits of a good internal communication strategy in more detail.
Improving employee retention rate
Encouraging engagement through internal communication makes employees feel that they are cared for and listened to, which strengthens their loyalty to the company. Internal communication can provide employees with helpful work-related information, which will make it easier for them to do their jobs well.
Internal communication systems can also serve as a convenient way of reaching for help (digital collaboration tools such as Slack), providing feedback to the employer (perhaps through employee surveys), and receiving information about company news, events, benefits available to the staff (for example, through an internal email newsletter).
Well-connected staff will be more likely to get involved in company life, help their colleagues, and identify with the organization.
Enabling faster decision-making and solutions
Sometimes it is necessary to consult the team, department, or even the whole company, on an idea or a decision. Internal communication tools such as instant messaging systems, mailing lists, or video-conferencing tools can speed up the process by providing an easy way to reach everyone concerned.
Problem-solving can be easier when a company has a communication system that encourages its staff to come forward with ideas, discuss them with others, and help one another deal with challenges.
Providing closer collaboration between teams
Good internal communication enables individuals and teams to collaborate effectively on shared goals. An internal communication platform can be used to set objectives for a team to work on, sketch a roadmap, or outline a strategy for them to follow in the process.
Then, employees can use digital collaboration tools, video chat tools, or whiteboard tools to share ideas and solve problems. These solutions can bring team members together, regardless of where they are.
Fostering interactive conversations that boost creativity and ideas
Creativity thrives in a culture of openness, where employees can suggest their ideas and discuss them with their co-workers and managers. A good internal communication system ensures that there is scope for bottom-up conversations and facilitates them.
Easy implementation of company rules and information
Research shows that the vast majority of working people are interested in what is currently happening in their companies. A good internal communication system ensures that employees get to know important company news and announcements first-hand instead of discovering them on social media or from a third person. This, in turn, creates trust between the enterprise and its staff.
Senior management can notify staff of their decisions and plans, such as when they will expand to a new market, or how they will manage business finances in the next year, in a company newsletter, before the information reaches the press. This way, they can build confidence in the organization and avoid surprising the staff.
Promoting effective communication in the organization allows it to achieve transparency about all important aspects of the business, including company rules, regulations, and codes of conduct. If these are made available in an easy-to-access place, such as a designated file on the company intranet, employees can refer to them whenever they need.
Seeing communications from the management as the most trusted source of information about everything that concerns the company will protect the staff against misinformation and fake news. Whether they find untrue information in the media or receive it in a PM on Facebook, employees will know where and how they can verify it before they act on it.
This can prove especially important in times of crisis when trust and control are necessary for steering an enterprise through difficult moments. Internal communication tools can also play a role in overcoming the crisis, as they encourage collaboration and exchange of ideas between staff members at all levels of the organizational structure.
5 best practices for internal communication success
To serve all the important functions listed above, an internal communication strategy needs to be implemented correctly. There are many things to consider when planning information flow in a business. It is good to start with a few simple best practices like the ones listed below.
Choose tools and software fit for your team
This probably sounds obvious but is still worth emphasizing; good results can only be achieved with the right tools. There are plenty of more traditional (e.g. telephones, printed newsletters) and innovative tools (e.g. cloud-based intranet, huddle room video conferencing) to choose from, depending on the needs of target users.
Identify metrics to be tracked
Measuring the success of internal communication helps the business identify the strengths and weaknesses of its internal communication strategy, which can lead to improvements.
Avoid communication overload
Even the most helpful information can disrupt work when there is too much of it. A good balance has to be struck in internal communication so that employees are always well-informed but don’t spend hours reading newsletters or responding to internal messages.
Use internal communication for employee recognition
Internal communication tools can be successfully leveraged to show recognition to outstanding staff, for example, by highlighting their achievements in a newsletter or employee social media community board.
Perform surveys and audits to identify areas of growth
As mentioned, internal communication can serve as a valuable source of feedback on the performance and direction of the company as seen by its staff.
A good internal communication strategy can bring multiple benefits to an organization, its staff, and its overall performance. Start with investing in a good plan and the right tools to unlock these gains for your company.
Bio: Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration with features like local presence dialing with Dialpad. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content, sharing her expertise on platforms like DevOps and State of Digital Publishing. Here is her LinkedIn.