Ravi was out of office on Friday, when his organization announced a change in the filing date for tax documents. The following week, his colleagues told him of the change when it was too late and he had to pay a penalty.
If Ravi’s teammates kept him in the loop, he could’ve avoided this situation. Additionally, Ravi should’ve been mindful of possible changes or new developments if he was on leave. This is an example of an effective internal communication.
Let’s explore the importance of internal communication and how it can help organizations achieve short-term and long-term objectives.
What Is Internal Communication?
Internal communication is the way people interact with each other within an organization. It defines how you would communicate with your coworker or senior and vice versa. Internal business communication comprises emails, phone calls and video calls with anyone from your organization.
Today, when the world of work is largely digital, internal communication is mostly done online. The importance of internal communication is that it helps employees stay on the same page. One of the biggest reasons a project fails is a lack of clear guidelines or ineffective communication. If you don’t know what you’re working on, you won’t be able to do a good job.
Here’s how internal communication can help you achieve organizational goals:
Regular updates inform everyone of any policy changes or business developments that may impact them or their work
Streamlined communication encourages timely and efficient completion of projects
Everyone feels like a part of the team, instead of feeling left out, which builds teamwork and collaboration
Effective internal communication helps avoid mistakes or errors as everyone is well-versed with what needs to be done
Tracking organizational communication can also aid in monitoring a project or a task and identifying areas for improvement for future reference
Internal communication in an organization is like the glue that holds everything—and everyone—together. Imagine you work in a four-member team where no one talks to each other. You have no idea when you need to submit your work, who to reach out to in case you hit a snag or even what to do. This will mean a complete breakdown of the system. No one in an organization should be kept in the dark about work, goals or ongoing projects. If you expect all hands on deck, it’s important to share relevant and important information across levels.
Examples Of Internal Communication
In a professional setting, communication can be both horizontal—within teams or across the same level—and vertical—across hierarchies. It depends on the kind of information that’s being shared. If it’s high-stakes, sensitive information, it may only move among senior management. There are many examples of internal communication in an organization, such as emails, video calls, in-person meetings, presentations, town hall meetings, phone calls, chat tools, memos, minutes of a meeting and many more. What you use will be determined based on the information.
Say you want to inform your manager that you’re taking a few days off. You’ll likely send them an email with a request for approval
You may be chatting with your coworker and team member on the organizational chat tool for informal communication
If you’re working from home, your weekly meetings with your team may be through an online video app
Your organization may be big on newsletters to inform everyone of any new updates, some fun non-work-related things and other information
In a crisis situation, internal communication can help organizations guide employees to take stock
Each organization has its own internal communication strategy. What you need to focus on is what’ll work for you. It depends on the scope of business, number of employees and goals.
What Is An Effective Internal Communication Strategy?
For a strategy to be effective, you need to first lay the groundwork. Assess your current internal communication methods and system. Identify what’s missing and how you can improve for better results. Keeping track of the communication from planning to execution will help you keep everyone in the loop and curb miscommunication.
Here’s how to build an effective strategy for internal communication:
Assess Your Communication Needs
You may have your own reasons to improve internal communication in your organization. It can be to learn how to speak well, write compelling messages or emails and communicate with impact. If you want to participate in meetings and deliver your ideas with precision, you can rely on internal communication methods. It also helps to update others in your team of work and related changes.
Seek And Address Feedback
An important aspect of communication within the organization is giving and receiving feedback. If you’re a manager, you can give proper feedback to your team or, as an associate, ask for feedback from your manager. This helps maintain a flow of communication where you can reach out to others, talk about your strengths and weaknesses and identify what needs more work. You’ll be able to improve your workplace impact and performance as a result.
Set Timelines And Share It With Key Stakeholders
Sometimes when you’re unaware of your timelines, it can cause substantial delays in your work assignments. You can set timelines and measure your progress accordingly so everyone can be on top of things. If you know an email needs to go out on Monday morning, your teammates and coworkers must be intimated of this as well. Miscommunication can lead to unnecessary delays, rile up customers or clients and affect your performance.
Encourage Quality Checks Across Levels
Effective communication requires a quality check to make sure there are no discrepancies. Anything from a misheard statistic to an incorrectly conveyed message can upend a business’s operations. At each level—be it junior, mid or senior, quality checks can help build a powerful internal communication strategy. The less room for error the quicker you can get your message across.
Incorporate Communication Tools For Better Results
Adopting new technology and communication tools in the workplace will help you achieve your goals much more efficiently. An online chat tool makes it easier for you to communicate with coworkers if you want quick responses. Even if you’re working from home, this chat tool will help connect you with your colleagues who may be sitting in different cities or even countries.
Today, the state of things has redefined what it means to work. It’s no longer just about going to an office, attending meetings in-person or interacting with colleagues by the copier. Businesses have adopted new technology and methods to transition to a new remote work setup. This opens up even more opportunities to improve internal communication in a professional context.
How To Use Internal Communication In A Virtual World
As we’re going digital with most things, including office or business communication, it’s the right time to restructure your internal communication channels. Teams can interact over video calls on platforms like Zoom or Teams. Even if you need something urgently, there are avenues like texts, emails or calls to help you resolve queries. But there are times when messages get lost in a sea of emails or back-to-back meetings. What you need to do is set time aside for communication to focus on one thing instead of multitasking. You may feel that a late email won’t affect you that much when in reality it can delay everything in the pipeline.
Hold regular meetings to discuss the week’s agenda
Follow up on queries, tasks and project-related work to make sure nothing has been missed
Reach out to your coworkers and discuss their progress to avoid delays with deliverables
Pass the baton to let everyone have a turn at speaking during a video call
Schedule informal catch ups or games to keep morale high among teams
Virtual internal communication isn’t all that different from in-office communication. The only difference is that now you see others through a screen. Focusing equally on these new channels of interacting with your coworkers can improve your communication strategy.
Harappa’s Speaking Effectively course will teach you everything you need to know about communicating with impact. Whether in office or at home, you can learn how to speak with confidence and get your point across. Frameworks such as PAM (Purpose-Audience-Message) will allow you to connect with others through your words. Distinguish yourself from the crowd by equipping yourself with the right toolkit to speak your mind. Not only will you convey your ideas clearly and compellingly but also be persuasive with your communication.
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the COMMUNICATE Habit such as What is Communication, The Process of Communication, The Need For Business Communication, What are Social Skills & How to Improve Your Communication Skills and learn to convey your ideas clearly.
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