Building a Strong Company Through Effective Internal Communications
Whether you are a startup with a small staff or an established company with thousands of employees across multiple cities, regular internal communication is critical to building a great company. Sharing updates with your staff motivate employees by keeping them aligned with your organization’s mission and vision. It helps everyone understand their role in achieving your company goals.
When planning your internal communications program, keep in mind that not everyone absorbs messages in the same way. So what works for sharing information with your technology team in Portland may not be the best idea for communicating to your customer service centre in Poughkeepsie. For this reason, your internal communications program should encompass a variety of platforms and methods.
The three specific ways in which internal communications can build a stronger company are:
1) Greater Transparency
To be effective, internal communications methods must be based on transparency. If employees hear nothing from you but sound bites and lip service, you are going to struggle with getting their buy-in and support. If they think you are just telling them what they want to hear or are going through the motions of communication, they will lose faith in what you say. In this case, your communications efforts can do more harm than good. However, if you are honest and forthright in giving your employees as much information as you can, you are going to gain their trust and secure a lot of goodwill.
2) Enhanced Two-Way Communication
The best way to build transparency is always through two-way communication. When employees are allowed to spontaneously ask questions of the executive team and we are forced to answer these questions in a live forum, employees know they can talk to us about anything. In my experience, this type of open relationship between staff and management is essential to building an enduring company.
During my quarterly all-hands meetings and our bi-weekly “CEO Open-Line Forum,” employees are invited to call in and ask questions of our executive staff. This forum is not scripted and when questions come in, I answer them as honestly and thoroughly as possible because I believe that my employees have a right to know what they are working so hard for. Employees feel empowered when they have access to company executives and can talk to them directly about the issues that impact them.
3) Improved Alignment
Product launches, achieving or missing financial goals, corporate strategy and any other significant company change or success should be shared across your internal communications channels.
When employees are involved in goal-setting and achievement, they realize the importance of their contributions to the success of the company. This lets your team better understand how their individual goals align with the overall corporate goals. This type of open communication ensures that the objectives of the various departments are also aligned and nobody is working in a vacuum. Additionally, while the free flow of information from management to employees is vital, alignment also depends on communication among employees.
In conclusion, remember that effective internal communication is not about projecting the company or management in the best light. The focus should be on sharing accurate information to keep all employees working toward company goals. In the absence of communication, you run the risk of rumours taking hold. So take charge of your message, drive it effectively and you will eventually see the results in a happy and motivated workforce.