Your company is facing a serious problem. One that will cut into profits and cause employees to leave if left unchecked. What is it?
Your company isn’t effectively communicating with its employees.
You may be tempted to claim internal communications aren’t a problem at your company, but the research tells a different story. A Harris Poll conducted for Interact shows 69 percent of managers are uneasy communicating with employees. At the same time, a Gallup poll finds nearly 70 percent of U.S. workers are disengaged at work.
The lack of effective internal communications hurts people and profits. Harvard Business Review reports high levels of disengagement are costing businesses $450 billion to $550 billion each year.
Fortunately, you can turn it around. Implementing an internal communications strategy that consistently and clearly shares company news will go a long way to reengaging employees and boosting productivity. Here are three benefits for businesses that invest in internal communications.
1. Avoid Confusion
In the absence of consistent corporate communication, employees often turn to gossip. The story may start with a nugget of truth, but each time it’s repeated, the news changes. Details are added or forgotten, embellished or ignored until the original message is lost. Frustration and disengagement follow. Take these steps to avoid the confusion.
- Tell everyone in your company about upcoming changes at the earliest opportunity.
- Clearly communicate what’s changing, why it’s happening, whom it will impact and when the changes will take place.
- Explain the big picture and how employees fit in.
- Use consistent message points each time the news is shared.
- Deliver the message multiple times. Repetition is required.
- Use a variety of channels when communicating to employees: face-to-face meetings, emails, company intranet, Slack channel – wherever people are looking for company information.
2. Activate your best brand ambassadors
Internal communication starts inside the walls of your company, but it doesn’t stop there. Employees interact with customers, vendors and potential clients. They bring home the messages they hear at work and share stories with family, friends and online followers. Are you preparing your employees to represent your brand in a positive light?
Midco, a communications company providing some of the fastest Internet access in the country, recently launched a rebranding campaign. The changes were comprehensive (everything from a new logo and positioning line to signage and letterhead). But before the campaign became public, CEO Pat McAdaragh decided he wanted to visit with everyone in the company and give them a preview.
Midco employs hundreds of people across four states. It would have been easy to post a message on the company’s intranet, send an all-staff email or stage a videoconference. However, McAdaragh thought those options, while efficient, wouldn’t be effective. He believed the rebranding would only be successful if everyone got on board.
McAdaragh invested three full weeks of his time, traveling to every service center and office across the company’s footprint. He held multiple meetings each day, keeping group sizes small. At each stop, McAdaragh explained the reasons behind the changes, showed what was coming next and answered questions.
McAdaragh’s “road show” was a success. Employees were informed. Corporate pride was strengthened. And hundreds were prepared to be ambassadors for Midco.
3. Access new ideas
Once employees understand the big picture and how they fit into it, productivity and creativity will grow. Understanding a company’s long-range goals will spark new ideas from people who previously felt they didn’t have a voice. Create an environment with open internal communication, and new approaches to strategic planning, tactical executions and cultural enhancements will roll in.
Some employee-generated ideas will immediately make a positive impact. Others will never be implemented. And that’s okay, as long as you explain why that particular suggestion doesn’t connect with the company’s big picture and encourage employees to continue sharing their ideas.
Implementing an internal communications plan isn’t always easy. It takes time, discipline and a commitment from the top. But the return on investment will far outweigh the costs. If you have an internal communications success story, I’d love to hear it. Leave a comment below or email it to PR@l-s.com.