New technology, laws, and regulations can negate the relevance of one tool or process and replace it with another. However, one aspect of business that will forever maintain its importance is internal communication.
Internal communication definition
Internal communication is a business function that is responsible for successful communication amongst people within an organization. The purpose of internal communication in business is for all members of the company to obtain the information they need to achieve their goals.
Internal communication, or the lack of it, can determine the success of your business. Tackling something that important can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, we have got you covered with six internal communication best practices.
6 internal communication best practices
Adopting the following best practices into your internal communication efforts will improve your strategy and the movement of information within your business.
If you’re gonna do it, do it right. Right?
1. Develop a solid internal communication plan
A lot of the time, success is a result of planning. Sure, you can win the lottery without preparation, and it’s possible to hit a baseball the first time you step up to the plate. However, leaving the success of your internal communication up to chance isn’t the best business move.
An internal communication plan will get your business’ communication function to where it needs to be. Taking the extra time to develop, execute, evaluate, and modify an internal communication plan is well worth it. Not only will it ensure that these best practices become an every day internal communication occurrence, but it will create a more organized process when making changes to the way your business communicates.
2. Be consistent and transparent
No business is perfect. Flaws exist across all departments. There’s no need to attempt to hide these mistakes and failures from the people within your business. They live it every day from nine to five. People talk, and the truth will be revealed in one way or another.
Be honest and transparent. The last thing you want to do is lose the trust of your employees.
Being transparent aligns with being consistent. If you have an internal marketing audience, it is likely you have an external one as well. Keep the messages for both groups consistent. They don’t have to be completely identical, but lying to one and being truthful to the other will have your internal audience questioning your authenticity.
3. Reflect the company culture
Similar to being consistent, make sure your internal communication goals, strategies, and messages mirror the company culture.
The information shared within a business defines the culture. If your internal communication is strictly about business matters, your culture will be seen as strict and formal. On the other hand, if your workplace is open to unstructured office chit chat, the culture would be defined as casual and relaxed. There is nothing wrong with either, but make sure the conversations happening in the workplace match the culture you are aiming for.
This might include strategically choosing communication channels that are best suited for the type of culture you are trying to achieve. Email can force more structured conversation, but other internal communication software, such as instant messaging, provides an internal space for casual one-on-one conversations.
Internal communication that doesn’t reflect company culture not only confuses your audience, but it also negates all previous communication that was consistent with the culture.
4. Allow two-sided communication
The point of internal communication is to support the constant flow of information amongst people within a business. That flow should go both ways.
Today’s workplaces cannot thrive without inclusive communication. While providing information is the spark that initially lights the communication flame, feedback tends to it, keeping that fire healthy and efficient.
Encourage message receivers to contribute to the conversation with questions, comments, and concerns. If you want to create a culture that fosters progression and employee development, make them active members of the conversation. Answer their questions, take their constructive criticism, and make sure you are listening to their solutions. Not only will they feel cared for, but their thoughts will spark new ideas for improvements in your business and internal communication plan.
5. Encourage cross-department communication
Most communication happens among people in the same department. Whether they are collaborating on a project or comparing notes from the team meeting, their similar roles cause an overlap in topics of concern. Communication within a team is important, but don’t let it get in the way of cross-department communication.
Every department in a business has information that is valuable to others. Don’t let it go to waste. Provide a channel that includes every member of the company, as information from one department might be beneficial for all. Insights, trends, and news that concern the industry of the business are great examples of shareable information across all departments.
Employees might be separated by their roles, but every person within a business is working towards the same overarching goals. Communication will help them get there.
Who doesn’t love to celebrate a win? People love any excuse for a pat on the back or a congratulatory piece of cake.
Acknowledge when a team, person, or new project is on fire. Employee engagement software can help you recognize success, giving people a sense of accomplishment and inspiring others to push themselves to work harder. Give credit where credit is due. Even better, communicate it.
Practice makes perfect
Solid communication is the key to success. Personal and professional relationships can’t exist without it. Making the extra effort to include these best practices in your business’ internal communication will create a smooth flow of information within your company. And when the information flows, success will follow.
Need help creating a plan to help your business excel in communication? Take a look at our resource on how to create an internal communication plan.
Mary Clare Novak is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 in Chicago, where she is currently exploring topics related to sales and customer relationship management. In her free time, you can find her doing a crossword puzzle, listening to cover bands, or eating fish tacos. (she/her/hers)