Whatever the context, be it at work or in our personal lives, communication is the key to successful relationships. How would you rate your company’s internal communications system? Good, excellent, or room for improvement?
When people have valuable information about their company, the tasks they need to do and the teams they work with, it helps cultivate a smooth-running environment and a collaborative attitude towards the pursuit of business goals.
In this article we recommend a few steps you need to take to explore what internal communication is and how to improve it quickly and effectively with 5 practical tips.
What is internal communication?
As the name suggests, internal communication relates to expressing and conveying knowledge and information within a company between the staff, departments, and management roles.
This type of communication involves informing people about the business plan, goals to achieve and results obtained, as well as the company’s values, ideals, and corporate culture.
It is vitally important for companies that this type of internal communication reaches everyone, as it improves the bonds between people and their workplace and establishes the business objectives as collective goals.
Keeping all the departments informed about any new processes due to be implemented, sales growth or simply changes that have taken place among the staff, will make them feel part of a whole in which performance and work will multiply.
The importance of internal communication in an organisation
Creating and following a good internal communication strategy is the key to making a company work like a well-oiled machine in top gear. If communication is continuous and clear, the messages about company objectives will reach everyone. All staff will know how workloads are organised and what their colleagues’ roles involve. In this way, over the long-term, benefits and business results will improve in tandem.
Moreover, when internal communication is accessible, it reinforces relationships between people and departments, improves motivation and enhances the corporate culture.
All this helps to ensure top quality work performance, that people feel more motivated and high productivity levels, as processes are generally better organised because everyone knows the purpose of their work and how to do it.
Communication within a company also strengthens employee engagement, minimising the staff turnover rate and offering a better way for new employees to adapt to a pace of work based on effective and transparent communication.
Types of internal communication
Often it seems we don’t look beyond how to communicate information to our teams. However, we also need to know what type of internal communication to use in different circumstances.
There are therefore various types of internal communication depending on the final recipient.
This type of internal communication is the most well-known as it is the one between management roles and everyone else in the company and vice versa.
Here we can include monthly circulars or newsletters about achievements and results, articles with relevant information about the company’s sector, reports describing the corporate culture and vision and all the other information that will align the company along a particular path.
When we talk about communication sent from departments to the management team, we mean the ideas that arise from regular meetings, suggestions to improve the organisation and productivity, performance reviews, etc. This information comprises important feedback from the point of view of the company’s engine, that is, its employees.
This type of communication takes place between departments and people performing the same roles within the company.
While vertical communication includes everyone, horizontal communication is a little more selective and remains within the circles where the information is most important.
This type of communication encompasses the most significant points and ideas from departmental meetings, organising work teams for different projects, customer communications, etc.
Internal communication does not necessarily need to be sent to everyone in the company.
You should always segment your contact lists so departments and people receive relevant information that is important for carrying out their work.
Unlike the previous point, for this type of internal communication it is important to involve everyone, for the company to operate as it should towards the same objectives.
One way to make sure it reaches all employees is to use team newsletters, general meetings, or an internal HR messaging software. For example, with Kenjo, you can post notices or important messages so all employees will see them on their personal account, just by accessing the platform.
*The information included in this image is fictitious
5 ways to improve internal communication
Communication is a skill that is generally difficult to develop. However, with a good strategic plan and practical tools, you can overcome this obstacle and make a success of it internally.
Below, we’ll give you some tips on how you can improve your company’s communication:
1. Design an action plan
Before you prepare and implement a project, it is a good idea to first define the objectives, and internal communication is no exception. We need to specify what type of communication we are going to establish, how it will be implemented and developed and when it will be shared with the rest of the company. Generally, an action plan is the best way to put it into effect.
It is also important to bear the following points in mind:
- What type of language and tone will we use? Formal or informal depending on the corporate culture.
- What information are we going to share? Each communication should focus on a few points and ideas.
- When will we share it? Monthly, quarterly, or annually. This is so we don’t exceed the information there will be and identify a suitable means of communication.
- How are we going to communicate? Will the communications be via newsletter, corporate emails, meetings, etc?
2. Use agile tools
In an ever more connected and globalised world, the use of agile tools not only boosts productivity, but also makes it much easier to communicate internally.
This type of tool allows teams to know what new projects are in development, what to do with each one of them, the associated documentation, the departments involved and what the overall objective is.
Furthermore, most of them are available for download on different devices, from where it is very simple to keep projects up to date and inform everyone involved instantly.
3. Open the communication channels
Often, communication tools only get half the job done and do not reach everyone involved, so there is always a lack of information, or even disinformation on topics relevant to the company.
Having various internal communication channels open to everyone, makes this information easy to access and creates a feeling of belonging and importance among people.
As such, we need to provide employees with an internal communication system where they can share requirements, work statuses and ideas for general development, and ensure that the communication is accessible and transparent.
If we create an open dialogue and the communication reaches every individual, the work systems will improve, and in turn so will productivity.
4. Involve employees
Before, we talked about the different types of communication in a company, and how establishing and opening up these possibilities enriches each person’s knowledge about various aspects.
In this way, communication should not only go in one direction, but should be reciprocal. Finding out about their individual worries and problems should be just as important as informing people about company developments.
This is not an easy task, as many people are reluctant to express and share their ideas. For this very reason it is important to create a company culture that promotes strong and effective communication throughout the organisation and establish the best means to convey that.
5. Delegate a person responsible for communication
It doesn’t always have to be someone in management who is in charge of the company’s internal communication. Often, they need to know how to delegate, and take advice, letting other people take responsibility for projects to achieve the desired objectives.
You can create a specific communications department or choose people to be responsible for gathering information to share in internal communications. These communications professionals can offer advice on how to establish an effective internal communication strategy, by incorporating new, original channels and improving processes.
Throughout this article we have explained the importance and the benefits of a good internal communication system in companies. On many occasions we don’t pay enough attention to these types of activities, perhaps because we are unsure how to do it, so it always remains on our to-do list.
However, with these five ways to improve the company’s communication, we hope we’ve given you the help you need to strengthen your internal communications, so you can identify the best fit with your company’s model.