Talk with your people: The value of investing in internal communications
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I was sitting through another hybrid town hall meeting where the company leadership excitedly told employees in multiple countries that their newest product was a great hit with clients. ‘What new product,’ I thought, ‘did I miss the memo?’ After the meeting ended, I asked my manager for clarification, but they came up short, too; clearly, we employees had yet to receive the literal memo about a new product the company leadership thought was a game-changer.
At the time, I thought this was an oversight and hoped it was an anomaly, but I soon realized this scenario is more typical than most organizations take the time to recognize.
Is this lowkey my origin story of how I got into internal comms, specifically with a passion for empowering employees to have the knowledge and a voice wherever they work? Partially, but it is one of many experiences that made me want to help leadership understand that their business perspective was not universal and that assuming all employees can intuit what is happening in the company is their first critical mistake for long-term success.
I don’t want to write that internal communications are the silver bullet that prevents and fixes all problems. Still, it is a critical pillar that any organization should invest in. Effective internal communications can enhance employee engagement, productivity, collaboration, and organizational performance, which leads to higher retention, and a favourable external brand reputation can help shore up goodwill before crises happen. Here are seven reasons why effective internal communications are critical to a healthy, engaged organization and business success.
When employees are well-informed, feel connected to the organization’s mission and goals, and have open communication channels, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to their work. This, in turn, leads to higher productivity and better overall performance. It also helps prevent turnover, a slow bleed on an organization’s growth and success.
Alignment and Consistency
Internal communications are crucial in aligning employees with the organization’s strategic objectives and ensuring consistency in messaging. By sharing information about the company’s vision, values, and goals, internal communications help employees understand their individual contributions to the larger picture. Consistent messaging across various channels helps maintain a unified corporate identity and culture.
Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration
Robust two-way internal communications promote a learning culture by providing platforms for employees to exchange ideas, best practices, and lessons learned. This leads to increased innovation, better problem-solving, and improved decision-making as employees leverage the organization’s collective intelligence.
Employee Satisfaction and Retention
Organizations prioritizing internal communications often see higher employee satisfaction and retention levels. When employees feel well-informed, involved, and listened to, they develop a stronger sense of belonging and loyalty toward the organization. Effective internal communications also provide avenues for recognizing employee achievements, fostering a positive work environment, and enhancing overall job satisfaction.
Internal communications become even more critical during periods of change, such as mergers, reorganizations, or process updates. Clear and timely communication helps manage change effectively by addressing employee concerns, providing updates, and ensuring transparency. This reduces resistance, enhances employee buy-in, and improves the chances of successful change implementation.
In times of crisis or emergency, internal communications are vital for maintaining trust, providing timely and accurate information, and ensuring employee safety. By promptly sharing updates, guidelines, and instructions, organizations can manage crises more effectively and help employees navigate challenging situations confidently. Also, investing in robust internal communications before an emergency will mean there is less work on the part of leadership to try and gain trust. Instead, there will already be a good baseline since the employees ”know” their leaders.
External Brand Reputation
Internal communications indirectly impact an organization’s external brand reputation. Engaged and satisfied employees are likelier to become brand ambassadors, advocating for the company’s products and services. Conversely, poor internal communications can lead to negative sentiment, affecting the organization’s external image and potentially deterring potential customers, partners, or job applicants.
I thought of this last point after my town hall experience; after all, if anyone wanted to share about the cool new thing the company was doing, it was me. I soon realized that internal communications are the ultimate win-win because when an organization effectively communicates with their employees and encourages them to be part of the larger conversation, this people-first focus has a massive impact on its external business success. And the rest is internal comms history.
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