Internal communication – How to handle it in 2020?

What is internal communication and what are the driving forces behind it in 2020?

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Your company’s internal communication has a direct impact on your business success. You can boost productivity and enhance employee happiness by ensuring internal communication works.

2020 has proved us that uncertainty and misinformation does not improve our lives or our productivity. The sentiment is true for any organisation and team. If your team members are not aware of what is happening around them, you cannot expect them to perform at their best. By improving internal communication, you could be enhancing productivity and wellbeing.

But what is internal communication and what are the driving forces behind it in 2020?

Let us take a look!

What is internal communication?

There are many ways to define internal communications. In essence, internal communication refers to the processes and tools responsible for effective information flow among participants within an organisation. These can be things such as:

·      Instant messaging applications

·      Data rooms

·      Voice communication tools

What is important to note is the realisation of internal communication as an action and the two-way nature of it. The processes are not only for feeding information from top to bottom of the employee hierarchy. Internal communication is about ensuring discussions and information flows happen in all directions.

You can get an idea of the comprehensive and strategic nature of internal communications if you take contract management as an example. Internal communication tools aim to:

· Transmit information to different members of the team. The objective is to clarify and explain the actions taking place.

· Impart purpose and share a vision. The idea is to ensure employees understand the purpose of the actions and the impact their role has on the outcome of the discussions, for instance.

· Connect people and build trust. Internal communications aim for transparency that helps connect people together. Effective communication creates trust between the management and employees because information flows smoother.

· Generate feedback and monitor the impact. Internal communications during contract management can provide feedback from different levels of the organisation, resulting in enhanced negotiation strategies. It also makes it easier to understand and analyse the impact the negotiations have on the organisation. 

Why is internal communication important?

When you examine what internal communication is, you lift the veil on the purpose of the practice. Internal communication is about the employee experience – connecting the employee to the organisation.

Communication keeps employees at all levels informed about things like:

·      Decisions and initiatives taking place.

·      Company goals and the big mission.

·      Different departments and their work within the organisation.

·      Past and future events.

But how does this information enhance the employee experience? Why is communicating vital for productivity?

Just look at the data. A McKinsey Global Institute study found employee productivity to have the potential to increase by 20-25% when employees connect better with the company. The flow of information provides employees with a clearer idea of the vision and mission the organisation is trying to achieve.

If your employees are not informed, they are not performing at the best of their ability. Misinformation, or lack of information, can result in problems that spill down to the customer experience. When employees are aware of what they need to do, how they have to do it, and why they should do it, they can work with a clearer vision.

You also should not view the benefits of communication through an internal vs external communication lens. Good internal communication leads to better external communication, too. When information flows better internally, employees are better-equipped at providing excellent customer care. Effective internal communication means employees know reasons behind every aspect of the organisation. They have a clearer vision of the purpose and vision of the company and they can use this knowledge and clarity when talking with clients.

It is as basic as the ability to explain problems in distribution of goods, for example! Let us say you have a problem in the supply chain due to ongoing contract negations. Because you have effective internal channels feeding information to employees, they can feed this information forward to clients in a purposeful and effective way.

The advantages are meaningful to any company. The problem is that a Gallup poll found 74% of employees feeling like they are missing information. Many organisations are simply not taking advantage of the benefits of internal communication. If you want your company to succeed, then you need to pay attention to internal communications in 2020.

What is internal communication like in 2020?

The world of business is constantly transforming. Organisations that understand and respond to this change are miles ahead of others. The transformation is happening in internal communications, too.

Two key transformations are taking place in internal communications in 2020. First, you have technological advances in internal communication tools. Communication is not tied to a time and place any longer. Companies have a variety of tools available from instant messaging systems to data rooms. These technologies can help create more transparent communication channels and improve information flow.

The other major force changing internal communications is what the modern workplace looks like and how we work in general. 2020 has fastened this transformation, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many people to work from home. But flexibility in where and when we work was a big thing even before the pandemic.

With organisations more scattered in terms of physical location, internal communication tools are increasingly more important. When you cannot physically pop into an office to have a chat about recent changes, you need digital tools allowing this type of on-the-spot communication.

These two transformative forces have led to the following trends in internal communications. If you want to harness the power of good employee engagement, then you should focus on:

1. Data-driven communication – Communication is not just something that happens any longer. You measure and analyse the effectiveness and impact, allowing data to highlight how communication strategies are working.

2. The emphasis of digital channels – Organisations are investing in internal communication tools that work. The requirements for digital tools are increasing and more emphasis is put on things like security. While other forms of communication are important, emphasis should be in nailing down the use of digital channels.  

3. Communication as part of the wider business strategy – Internal communication’s strategic importance is becoming a key to business success. Good communicators are utilising the different organisational voices to ensure decision-making in the organisation improves. Enhanced and transparent engagement boosts business results and employee happiness.

Takeaways – investing in internal communication tools is vital

Good and transparent internal communication is a cornerstone of good business practice. By laying the foundation for communication across the different parts of the organisation, you enhance and improve the employee experience. When employees feel seen, listened to and able to voice their opinions, they will be more productive. It all feeds into improving how your organisation performs and serves its customers, too.

Engaging and informing employees in today’s business world is both hard and easy. The workplace is changing; partly due to technological advances but also by unforeseen forces, such as the current pandemic. Teams do not always work in the same physical spaces and this can create many communication challenges.

The good news is that there are also more internal communication tools available for organisations. Companies can leverage these tools and boost communication across the board. Contractbook is a great example of an opportunity to streamline communications in a secure way. Information flow is not restricted to a time and place.

You will have informed and engaged employees by having open and honest communication channels across the company. And happy employees are the best brand ambassadors to help achieve business success! 

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