What is the key to effective internal communication?

Wednesday April 3, 2019

One employee missing your important email and asking questions could be brushed off as an honest mistake. But when the second, third or fourth person does the same thing, you may find yourself exhaling sharply and exclaiming “just read my email!”.

It could be that they simply didn’t read your email. With email being a popular form of communication in businesses, it’s possible that yours was lost in a sea of many others. Or perhaps they scanned it and missed some vital points of information. Regardless of how it happened it can be frustrating and counter-productive to repeat the message over and over again. Especially if it is an important update relating to your business.

The problem of oversharing in internal comms

Of course, another scenario is that everybody receives your email but perhaps it isn’t very well received. Could you be oversharing with your internal communications?

For example, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been criticised for some all-staff emails. In one early morning email, sent at 01:20 am to be precise, he admitted to there being other companies who can offer a better work-life balance and urged employees to do everything they can to advance the cause. (Tesla’s, that is).

Then there’s the boss who let his anger get the better of him in an outrageous email rant sent to all employees. Listing the misdemeanours of “five to six” employees and threatening a risk of being “fired and slung out the door in under three months” if they didn’t pick up their game. Yikes!

Tips for communicating with your workforce

So how should you communicate with your wider workforce, and what is the key to effective communication with employees?

First, it’s a good idea to consider your audience. Does everybody need to know or only those concerned? Is your message clear and concise? Use plain English and try to avoid overcomplicated terms.

If your communication includes employee conduct, such as our example above, this should be dealt with privately and on an individual basis. Timing is also important. Catch up on some sleep and save the 1am emails for 9am. You can revisit your draft with fresh eyes before hitting send.

Methods of communication

When your message is good to go, it’s time to consider your method of communication. If you’re stumped as to how to get your message out there without email, why not try one of these?

  • Face-to-face. Call a company meeting at your premises to get your message across in person. This can reduce the risk of misinterpretation and you can take questions there and then. For clarity, it might be an idea to run the announcement past managers first.
  • Mobile first. If your team are dispersed in the field, an internal communications app with notifications could work well for your business. If you decide to go the social media route, be sure to implement a policy first to manage usage and behaviour.
  • Instant message. Instant messaging can be an effective communication tool for businesses and is growing with popularity. If you’re thinking of trying it for your business, read our blog on how to keep control over workplace instant messaging.

More help with internal comms

For further advice or a second pair of eyes on your internal communications, speak with your local HR Dept today. We’ll work with you to make sure your message is understood.

Preventing People Problems

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