Internal communication challenges can be tricky. Get started with considering the right information flow, individual needs and measuring the right things.
Internal communication affects employee engagement and can significantly boost business performance. Many companies struggle with how recognize the value of internal communications and overcome communication challenges in a way that improves employee happiness and in this way, the company’s bottom line.
What are the most common challenges involved in establishing functioning internal communication?
Communication Challenge 1: Top-Down-Only Information Flow
Leaders have a significant role in shaping internal communications within an organization. They should be the ones who set the scene for equal structures for contributing to communication and who lead by example. If employees do not have a framework to be able to communicate effectively, they will most likely not do so proactively. However, today, information flow and knowledge transferring cannot be only top-to-bottom. It needs to be horizontal, vertical, interdepartmental and intercontinental, so that the right information can easily reach people who need it.
Tip: Make sure that C-level and management set a great example in open communication. On the other hand, managers should encourage employees on all organizational levels to actively participate in internal communications. As a result of that, connection between managers and employees will be strengthened.
Communication Challenge 2: Lack of Employee-Focus
Employers should give all employees an equal opportunity to voice their feedback about communication within the company, give suggestions for improvement and add value to the company culture in their own way. When employees actively contribute to internal communications, a problem-solving culture is more likely to be shaped, which positively impacts business success. Note, this will work only if employees have the freedom to communicate in a way they prefer over how they are told to do.
Tip: Support internal communication on a company-wide level so that everyone has access to the same communication technology, surveys and platforms to speak up. Make company and industry content available for everyone to discuss and share ideas around. With this type of organizational transparency, employees will feel more trusted and become more engaged at work.
Communication Challenge 3: Mobile Workforce
This is one of the most pressing internal communication challenges that companies face: reaching their employees. This is where the right technology can greatly help. Especially millennials expect communication through mobile, and this can turn out beneficial for engaging them. An effective internal communication strategy must include at least one tool (but rather all tools) that allows employees to easily use it on-the-go. This tool can be, for example, an internal content hub that is used equally across the whole organization for information exchange and knowledge sharing.
Tip: Using an internal content hub will help eliminate silos within the organization. Since to a platform like this every employee, regardless of seniority level, department or location, can share job-, industry-, or working life-related content, they all can contribute to building a collaborative company culture. Encouraging employees to use it outside the office, actively start discussions and share information and knowledge on it will result in a well-informed team with a positive impact on the bottom line.
Communication Challenge 4: Measuring Communication Effectiveness
In order to have successful internal communication, you need to know if your efforts are working at all. Setting KPIs, utilizing technology, evaluating your content and active surveying are good steps to assess your internal communication performance. You must review and adjust this strategy on a continual basis, not just once a year. When internal communication goals are aligned with the company’s mission, greater results can be achieved.
Tip: To know what to measure, you should set relevant KPIs from the start, which you can measure and adjust along the way. Think about questions like: how many employees are you reaching, are you reaching the right employees, how much are employees engaged with the information that reaches them, and what are employees doing differently? It’s smart to invest in an online communication tool that has strong analytics in order to support your goals.
Defeat Internal Communication Challenges
It’s all about having clear structures and practices in place. Everyone should know to whom they can talk to about daily matters (and bigger ones), how to give feedback and where to access important information and content to discuss and share.