By Nour Hamouda
A successful internal communications strategy allows your business to operate efficiently and it improves employee commitment.
Indeed, communicating up, down and sideways in the company boosts employee confidence and increases their sense of belonging to the organization. The McKinsey Global Institute reported that productivity is 20 to 25 percent higher in companies with connected employees.
The best way to connect your employees is to have a clear and effective internal communication roadmap. This sounds easy in theory, but it can be rather tricky to implement.
Here are the five most common internal communications mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Using Outdated and Ineffective Communication Tools
Today, internal communication is an essential tool for any company if it wants to work properly. The marketing department, which is in charge of both external relationships and internal communication, should work in synergy with HR to find the right internal communication tools to fit your company’s specific needs. Used properly, these tools combined with a clear strategy will allow you to stand out from the competition.
If you are still using paper as one of your communication tools, I can tell you that you have a problem. Manual paper processes take up a lot of time, they have a negative effect on productivity, they cost a lot and they mainly create frustration. Especially if you have a remote workforce or collaborators who need to consult important documents on the go. In these situations, reaching information quickly is almost impossible.
On the other hand, new communication tools, such as collaboration platforms and social intranets, offer solutions to all of these problems. Their numerous advantages include reducing costs, improving productivity and reducing employee turnover.
All these benefits boost your business performance and efficiency with a clear workflow, higher task achievement and more socialized and engaged employees.
Although there’s a real need to use digital tools to communicate with your employees, traditional communication tools, such as face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and sticky notes, will always remain important. This is why modern communication tools are an all-in-one collaboration tools. They have a range of features to help your employees achieve their work, including chat, video calls, calendar and knowledge base software. And most features – if not all – are accessible from one platform.
2. Not Listening to Your Employees
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to talk to your employees more than listen to what they have to say. Being a good manager means being open to employee feedback. They are facing real issues every day and can come up with new ideas to overcome obstacles. By listening to them, you will help them to contribute their talents to the business.
For employees, being heard also means being a key player in business performance. In fact, Globoforce reported that 69 percent of employees say that being more appreciated would make them work even harder. Taking time to listen to them is one such form of appreciation.
Therefore, if you want to build and maintain an effective internal communication strategy, listening is one of the main points (skills) to consider.
3. Only Focusing on Management Goals
Focusing only on management goals, and ignoring those of your employees is a huge mistake.
The goals of your employees should be at the same level as management goals, otherwise, employees will feel frustrated and abandoned. This could have an adverse effect on their productivity and on the way they collaborate and communicate.
Including employee goals and aligning them to your company strategy will boost employee performance and productivity.
Most leading companies are now aware that their business success is related to their ability to retain skillful labor by managing happiness within the company.
Doing this will help your employees understand which direction they’re going in. It will also help them track their achievement at work, by estimating and measuring their success at each step.
4. Failing to Choose a User-Experience Communication Tool
Investing in a communication tool is not enough. You should include your employees when deciding which tool to use to make sure it fits your company’s specific needs.
Internal communicators focus on improving employee experience when dealing with daily tasks or working on projects.
Unfortunately, in most cases, the user requirements are not properly defined when investing in communication software – such as launching a modern intranet project or an employee collaboration platform. As a result, your collaborators will abandon the tool because they don’t see any added value from it.
Therefore, to facilitate the adoption of your intranet project or any communication software, you should capture all the user requirements so you can include them in the tool.
In other words, your internal communication tool should be at the center of employee experience.
5. Not Analyzing Your Results
Buying an effective communication tool is an important step in your business strategy – but you shouldn’t stop there. One shocking statistic is that more than 60 percent of internal communicators are still not measuring their internal communications.
You need to measure your internal communication efforts and their impact. This will help your decision-making process. If everything is OK, then you are heading in the right direction. If not, you need to review your current process or adjust it.
This is how you can measure the results of your internal communication:
- Identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) and align them with your business goals.
- Track and measure these KPIs to produce qualitative and quantitative data. The most common indicators are employee awareness, performance, and productivity.
- Study their impact on your business.
- Use these results to make the right business decision to maintain these metrics and help them evolve and contribute to your business success.
The bottom line is that if you want to have an effective internal communications strategy, you need to adjust your approach and avoid making these five mistakes. If you don’t, sticking to old practices could hold you back.
About Our Guest Blogger
Nour Hamouda is a digital communication and marketing consultant at eXo Platform, a firm that leads intranet projects and has been discussing different internal communications issues for 10 years now. Nour develops best practices in marketing and communications programs. You can connect with her on Twitter and on eXo’s corporate website.