Poor communication leads to failed projects, absent staff and low profits.
So an effective internal communications strategy could save you time and money.
In fact, it could create both. A Gallup study demonstrates that engaged staff work harder, increasing their profitability by more than 20%.
Whatever the size of your business, the following steps will make sure your internal communications strategy is as effective as possible.
Read on for more details and find out how Step 5 can help you to bring it all together.
Being consistent means everyone gets the same information.
It means that managers, staff and customers all get the same message, every single time.
If you’re consistent then you’re dependable. If you’re dependable then you can be trusted.
Think of Starbucks or MacDonalds: when you walk in, you know exactly what to expect.
Staff who can rely on their employer are more confident. They know they can trust what they are told, and they understand what’s expected of them.
Consistency is vital for training, whether its health and safety or project management. Everyone receives the same guidance, has the same level of understanding and works from the same rules and regulations.
Gaps in consistency mean that people have different priorities. Teams find themselves pulling in opposite directions. Colleagues don’t know who or what to trust.
Inconsistent information invites speculation and creates rumours, leaving staff demotivated and feeling far removed from what’s happening to their organisation.
Finally, a consistent internal communications strategy improves feedback. The questions or suggestions you receive are more relevant because you’re all on the same page.
This is a great training video: straightforward and accessible with no assumptions of the audience, making it relevant to anyone who might present as part of their work, regardless of their position in the business.
Consistency breeds consistency – one well-crafted resource can train multiple staff, embedding a consistent level of skill that results in a consistent level of performance.
Being honest with your workforce means everything you tell them has to be something you’d be happy telling to stakeholders, shareholders, or customers, and visa-versa.
But it also means being proactive. You communicate good news and bad, your staff hear important announcements first, and you’re not just talking to them when you have to.
Just like consistency, truthfulness builds trust.
If your staff don’t trust you then you’re not going to get the best out of them, and they’re not going to stick around for very long.
If you manage to recruit them in the first place, that is – 81% of employees would rather join a company that values honesty than one offering perks like free food or gym memberships.
A cross-industry survey suggests that almost all staff prefer a workplace built on honest communication. But less than half of employees believe their organisation discusses issues in a truthful way.
If you’re not honest, your staff aren’t invested.
They’re not convinced by your promises, they don’t buy in to your statements and they’re disillusioned with where the company (and their job) is headed.
Worst of all, why would an employee who knows they aren’t getting the truth feel that they should be honest with their employer?
An internal communications strategy built on honesty strengthens the relationships between staff, their managers and their colleagues. It inspires loyalty, commitment and pride.
People recognise the truth. And they’re ready to reward an employer who gives it to them.
It might be an ad campaign from the 60s, but this is still a powerful example of the impact that honesty can have both inside and outside your organisation.
By telling the truth about their second-best status, Avis turned it into an advantage.
But the tagline ‘We try harder’ is also a prominent way of Avis recognising the efforts of their employees, building a shared cause and giving them something to feel proud about being a part of.
Being convenient respects the fact that everyone can’t always be available.
You’re providing what people need in a way they can choose to receive it, when and where they’re able.
It means using accessible materials that need no explanation, supporting staff in local and remote locations, and enabling anyone to revisit the information or catch up if they missed out the first time.
Inconvenient communications are missed at the time or forgotten shortly afterwards, from training sessions to department briefings and one-off emails.
The more convenient your communications, the more likely they are to reach every member of staff, ensuring the message spreads and is absorbed.
If you’re willing to help staff to learn, develop or understand by adapting to their needs, they’ll know that you value them and their work.
It’s particularly important for anyone working remotely or staff based a long distance from your central office, when attending scheduled events or meetings is impractical or impossible.
Online training (or e-learning) makes it possible for staff to learn and develop from wherever they choose, without the need to book out their diary for pre-scheduled sessions.
Research from analysts Brandon Hall suggests e-learning requires 40% to 60% less employee time than the same material in a traditional classroom setting.
A responsive strategy understands that internal communications is a two-way conversation.
It’s a strategy that values listening just as much as being listened to.
Being responsive means getting close to your staff, recognising where feedback comes from, engaging with responses directly and demonstrating the actions taken as a result.
Employees who don’t feel they are being listened to don’t feel that they matter, or that their work is important. Instead of being involved, they’re being isolated.
A Gallup report puts it this way: Disengaged staff aren’t just unhappy, they’re resentful. Every day they potentially undermine the work of their more engaged colleagues.
In the end, anyone who feels this way will probably leave, taking their knowledge, skills and potential with them. But the problem goes nowhere.
It’s estimated to cost 33% of an annual salary to hire a replacement, but it’s well known (and pretty obvious) that employee retention and profitability are directly linked.
More positively, ideas that can have real impact on the success of your business often come from the coalface, where staff experience the same challenges every day.
Employees who get to help shape their work, the environment they work in and the business they work for, are naturally more invested. Which means they want to help you succeed.
Waitrose dedicated itself to taking staff submissions via an app or on their website, with each one made visible to enable colleagues to comment, like or share within their teams.
The conversations connected people that otherwise never spoke, creating opportunities for collaboration or immediate action and giving direct recognition to each contribution.
It also had a direct financial impact. Just one idea from an employee made it possible for Waitrose to save £160k, thanks to their knowledge of what happens on the front line.
We offer a no obligation, absolutely free-of-charge consultation to explore how you can harness the power of video for your business.
We understand that investing in video can be daunting. What will you say? Where will you use it? How will you know it’s been successful?
We can answer all of these questions and more, meaning that you’ll be able to see exactly how video can help you.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you – book your session now!
Read more: What we do
For regular updates on the value of video, sign up to our monthly enewsletter.
We love to collaborate, so why not join our network on LinkedIN.