Good communications start from the inside
It’s worth remembering that whilst your customers see and benefit from the results of your external communications, for complete business success you must not forget or forgo efficient and effective internal communications too.
Effective internal communication is essential for the smooth running of any business, both to convey your company culture and values and to stay on top of employee concerns. It is also one of the key intangible factors leading to high performance. Where communications work well within an organisation, you'll find that frontline staff are empowered to deal with issues as and when they arise giving the customer a quicker response time and a much better experience. It makes excellent financial, as well as business sense, to resolve any customer query at the earliest possible point.
To illustrate this point clearly, I recently had a meeting with a prospect. The prospect company had four offices and at the meeting was a representative from each office. As we worked our way down the agenda it became clear that each office were doing things slightly differently when it came to the handling and implementation of internal communications. The result, as I am sure you can appreciate, was very disorganised. Because as we all know, internal communications need to come from the top down, not the bottom up.
Open, honest and consistent dialogue
Internal communications can take many forms, via an intranet, emails, newsletters or message boards. But when it comes to important issues, it should always be two-way, preferably face-to-face. Monthly company-wide meetings can be a good way of keeping everyone up to date with what's going on in each department to ensure that all important consistency. Success comes from an open, honest, consistent dialogue throughout the organisation where opinions and ideas are listened to and valued.
Every internal communications programme will be different. It will reflect the unique set of circumstances faced by each business. For the successful implementation of an effective internal communications strategy, you need to follow the seven steps below:
1) Align your internal communications with your business objectives
2) Audit your current activity
3) Clearly define roles and responsibilities
4) Select the appropriate communication channels
5) Listen, listen and listen again
6) Develop honest and consistent communications
7) Invest in training
Is your business ready?
All organisations use different mechanisms to communicate internally. The challenge is to ensure that what you communicate is closely aligned to your business objectives and that how you communicate can be easily heard so that your staff are engaged, motivated and prepared for the changes, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Capturing and listening to feedback both formal and informal can have a hugely positive impact on culture and performance and can help take your organisation from good to great.