Internal Communication Best Practices (+ Bonus Tips)
Ensuring robust internal communications is a modern workplace necessity, especially amidst the rising culture of remote and hybrid work modes alongside housing both in-office and frontline workers. Research suggests that poor communication costs bigger companies $62.4 million each year and smaller companies $420,000 annually.
But how to avoid these bottom-line financial losses & ensure your organization’s internal communication is primed for success? Let’s check out some internal communication best practices to help you get there.
Here are 5 internal communication best practices
Adopt a multi-faceted communications approach
Following a one-size-fits-all communication method is never a good idea, let alone in today’s fast-paced and evolving world. It can be rather damaging in situations involving an in-office and frontline workforce. For instance, while using emails can be good for in-office workforce, it can lead to missed information, wastage of time, and chaos when it comes to frontline employees. Similarly, you cannot expect the combination of an in-office and remote workforce to collaborate in the same manner.
Diversifying your communication strategy is essential to ensure everyone is aligned - irrespective of offline, remote, or hybrid work. To address this, we recommend:
- Use a mix of communication tools - from emails and meetings to innovative collaboration platforms and social intranets to communicate internally.
- Try video conferencing, virtual town halls, and asynchronous communication to bridge geographical gaps for remote employees.
- Use mobile-friendly technology to double up as a solution for the in-office, frontline, and remote workforce to communicate efficiently. This was the approach Brink chose to communicate effectively and increase the speed and accuracy of its information sharing with both their in-field security officers & in-office staff with an employee app. Read their story here.
Establish a centralized communication hub
If you manage internal comms in a big organization, having a single source of truth for all communications to avoid ambiguity is essential. This is possible by implementing a centralized communication hub. This also eliminates the need to switch between multiple communication applications and empowers employees to align their efforts more easily with the organization’s goals. A central hub also helps to deepen a sense of belonging by fostering free-flowing communication. If you plan to implement a centralized employee app, remember to:
- Update the employee hub’s dashboard with the latest company announcements and milestones to ensure a well-informed workforce.
- Use the same centralized portal for uniform onboarding, role-specific training, and communication of key policies.
- Recognize employees on the portal who perform competently making them feel valued and appreciated.
- Use the employee app for rapid dissemination of information during emergencies, ensuring that all employees receive timely & accurate updates.
Following these footsteps, X²O Badkamers implemented a centralized employee app to communicate efficiently and effectively with its employees. Their team was dispersed across 29 showrooms in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.
The employee app’s features helped them ensure everyone was well-connected and on the same page. Find out more about their internal communication success here.
Encourage two-way communication
A gap between leadership & staff perceptions is one of the prime causes of productivity loss and derailing from intended outcomes. An Axios survey reveals that 66% of leaders felt aligned with their employees, and only 44% of the employees felt the same. Such occurrences can be bridged by encouraging direct two-way internal communication to enhance and improve collaboration outcomes. Simultaneously, encouraging dialogue even between employees at the same level also helps to share best practices and successes and increase organizational efficiency and productivity. If you’re looking to boost two-way communication, here’s what you can do:
- Establish a culture of open dialogue in the organization. You can also establish regular office hours to clarify doubts, share best practices, etc.
- Implement the right toolkit to facilitate two-way communication. For example - ensure it is compatible with the communication needs of both in-office and frontline workers.
- Regularly measure the efficacy of two-way communication and intervene to improve wherever necessary.
Make sure communication is engaging and inclusive
While getting messages across clearly and timely is essential, they must be engaging and inclusive to be effective and be received well. Employee disengagement is rising and has shot up from 14% in 2020 to 18% in 2022. This development has several negative consequences, like reduced motivation, productivity, and a tendency to switch jobs. Simultaneously, ensuring diversity and inclusivity is vital to unfolding a positive and prosperous environment. To that end, here is what you can do to make your internal communication more engaging and inclusive:
- Creating a workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy. With that, encourage respect for different perspectives and backgrounds while communicating.
- Support the formation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), i.e., employees with common interests or backgrounds. Encourage them to use it to connect, share experiences, and provide mutual support to boost engagement.
- Use multimedia tools in your internal communications so that employees engage better with your messaging. Heavy text isn’t always the most engaging way.
- Measure your employee pulse using different engagement metrics like the Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS). Tracking metrics offers a scientific way to gauge employee engagement and sentiments on inclusivity and overall brand loyalty. Several modern-day employee apps have robust measurement features.
Use technology (with caution)
So far, we’ve established that providing the right technology toolkit to employees for internal communication is vital to implementing a robust internal communication strategy. However, merely extending useful technology isn’t enough. Research by Cisco AppDynamics highlights the importance of proper digital experiences and how employees get anxious or angry if the applications fail to perform. A staggering 52% claim it makes them more inclined to leave their job. Thus, choosing the right tech and using it appropriately is key. Here, it helps to remember that technology is a facilitator. Thus, it is crucial to maintain a balance with its use. It musn’t overshadow personal touch or negatively impact employee mental health. You can strike a balance by doing the following:
- Implement user-friendly, secure technology for internal communications that everyone can use. Provide training if needed.
- Avoid using AI or bots for all communication, as human touch is irreplaceable in many instances.
- Personalize communication experiences for better engagement. For this, you can segment employees based on role, hierarchy, department, and years in the organization and tailor communication accordingly.
- Implement an asynchronous communication culture to avoid information overload. Sometimes, with instant communication, there can be a thin line between communicating enough and too much. Asynchronous communication culture helps address this.
- Schedule regular check-ins (even if virtual) to go beyond discussing work tasks and include humanized conversations about the employee’s well-being, career aspirations, and feedback.
Simplify internal communication by using tech, but choose wisely
The key to building a thriving organization lies in effective internal communication. This ensures a cohesive, informed, and responsive workforce that’s productive, engaged, and stays with the organization for the long haul. The best way to ensure robust internal communication is to understand employees’ communication needs and ditch a one-size-fits-all approach. At the same time, encourage individuals to interact freely, engagingly, and inclusively without going overboard in communication.
Do you want to build a successful internal comms strategy? Check out this template for a jumpstart on building an effective one.