4 steps to create effective internal communications

What is internal communication?

The standard approach to internal communication in a company is as follows: The organization is presented as an independent entity, inside of which processes happen. It can be said that the organization is a kind of vessel for these processes. One such phenomenon occurring in the company is internal communication.

In such a vessel, communication behaves like a liquid: it takes its shape and is limited by its structure. It is also one of the many elements that must fit into this vessel. What’s more, all the processes that are part of it are only its momentary manifestations. This means that, according to the standard approach, communication is not something permanent, but rather appears according to the current demand for it. Just like an evaporating and condensing liquid, dependent on environmental conditions.

This is evident in the definitions of internal communication. One of them says that internal communication is the transmission of information between members or parts of an organization. Another says it is a group of processes and tools responsible for the effective flow of information and cooperation between employees within an organization.

Matthew Koschmann, a professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Colorado, on the other hand, proposes a different approach. He argues that every organization … is its own internal communication. Yes, literally. According to him, internal communication is more than just information transfer. It’s a process that shapes corporate reality and allows for the continuous creation and reinterpretation of the social world.

All right, but what does that actually mean?

It means more or less that no organization can exist without internal communication. Moreover, communication is both the foundation of any company’s existence and its superstructure.

An organization is nothing more than a collection of people who have decided to commit to creating something that requires their cooperation. The manifestations of this commitment are the manifestations of their activity. What makes up an organization’s activity are relationships, messages, interactions, symbols, contracts – or simply: communication.

Of course, the organization also has some material possessions, for example, but still, without communication, they are worthless. It is the ability to operate on them between people that makes them given value.

On a day-to-day basis, we find it easier to function using a simplified definition of internal communication – one in which it is an element inside a vessel. We write e-mails, make phone calls, report on progress. But the true importance of internal communication emerges in more complex situations: When we want to communicate an idea, resolve an interpersonal conflict, see hidden forms of control or understand the true dynamics of one’s company.

Only on closer inspection do we see all the structures that are hidden on a daily basis. A new social reality opens up to us, a whole culture, ideology, distribution of power, group and individual worldview.

Organization is communication. Not an element or a fragment. It is the foundation without which no company exists. And since it is so important, it is worth considering what it actually results from.

Why is internal communication important?

Studies show that 74% of employees feel they are missing out on an important piece of company information. It’s worth considering how this feeling affects employee motivation. Would we ourselves want to interact, even informally, with a group that withholds some internal information from us? Would we then feel motivated to act on it?

Good internal communication allows employees to stay abreast of all the company’s activities. They then know their tasks and possible field of action. They know what they can afford to do given the current state of the company. They also make fewer mistakes as a result. Above all, however, they have clarity and a sense of being included in its life.

If they receive all this information, they are able to form a more complete picture of the organization. It also helps them know what to ask for when in doubt, when they feel the picture is becoming inconsistent. This, in turn, helps them understand and fit into the specific culture of the organization. Being sure of what kind of environment you are in, what kind of behavior is accepted here and what motivates you is key to feeling at ease among colleagues.

This is because true freedom allows intrinsic (not due to pressure from above) motivation and commitment to emerge. If we know that we are given space to interact, and that the interaction itself takes place on a partnership basis, we will want to engage more.

This involvement can manifest itself through contributions to tasks and projects, but also to the life of the company after working hours. And it’s not just about meetings, but even asking questions or commenting on company blog posts.

This style of operation is also a recipe for staying calm in times of crisis. If employees know the plan, know that communication is working smoothly and have confidence in it, they will act with prudence and for the good of the group. Then even difficult conversations are full of respect and honesty from both sides. This also opens the floodgates for debate, discussion and critical feedback.

4 steps to create effective internal communication

The four basic elements of effective internal communication: identify, create, deliver and verify

Step I: Identification

The real art is good goal setting. If you have a good understanding of your business, and know who you are creating for, you will be able to communicate your vision to your employees with ease.

A clearly defined company goal allows you to formulate clear plans and strategies. These, in turn, are reflected in the company’s products, its voice or even its chosen visual style.

Defining the company’s goal also includes defining the communication goal. It’s worth considering what we actually want to achieve. If the problem lies in insufficient access to information about employee rights, then we will not look for a solution in greater integration within the company.

Framing communication goals will help us define what success in internal communication means to us. This, in turn, will allow us to divide the achievement of the communication goal among different employees. In this way, we can make sure that the goal is progressively achieved.

Step II: Create

Why is it so hard to get people’s attention? Because we are frugal. We don’t use energy to analyze and remember all the information we come across. Especially with today’s glut of data, we need filters to select what is most relevant.

However, this is a demanding and often tedious process. For this reason, if we want our information to reach the addressee in a satisfactory way, let’s try to keep our messages short and to the point. Let them also be directed to specific people. Not all information is of interest to all recipients.

It is also a good idea to enrich the messages (for example, by including a video). Such a way attracts attention and makes it easier to remember the main message. Creating a good message also requires more work, making you think three times before writing another unnecessary email.

In addition, remember to create a certain standard of communication. For example, when communicating tasks to employees, always do it through the same channel in a similar way. Then employees will always know where to look and when to expect the information they need.

Step III: Delivery

First and most important – have the information delivered on time. Deficiencies in this area cause the company to operate under outdated assumptions and guidelines. This causes frustration for both employees and customers.

A simple example: Imagine we are in a store and want to buy a game on promotion. However, only at the checkout do we find out that there is no promotion. We get annoyed at the cashier because we came specifically to buy this one item. The cashier gets upset because no one told her about any promotion. So she calls the manager, who gets the information that the promotion ended some time ago. Who is to blame? There is no one to blame. The problem lies in updating the information.

To avoid this, it’s a good idea to make sure that employees have constant access to all the data they need. This can be accomplished by creating a special information hub, for example, in the form of a phone app. However, it is important that insight into the most important information is not hindered by a flood of unnecessary files, as sometimes happens in unorganized intranets.
(Interestingly – according to the survey, only 20% of employees believe that their communication tools are “mobile friendly.”)

It is also worth creating a special place for employees to present their ideas. After all, they are an expression of commitment, as well as a great way to understand another internal perspective. In addition, not everyone wants to share their ideas on the forum. However, a simple module in the app is enough to make the process significantly easier.

And last: Use multiple channels of communication. Let them be dedicated apps, emails, blog posts or social media. However, all of them should have a specific use. The employee needs to know where to look for what information. Wanting to know about the company’s recent successes, he will go to the blog, and looking for half-year summary data, he will find the relevant email.

Step IV: Verification

A clearly defined communication goal will allow us to check how its implementation is progressing. For example, employees who are more aware of the company’s life will gradually accumulate more knowledge about it. So we can check their development in their functions through tests or interviews

It’s also important to collect feedback from employees on the organization’s operations and communication effectiveness. Maybe they have some new ideas? Maybe they can point out to us things that still need to be improved? After all, they are, according to Koschmann’s approach, the foundation that makes up communication, and therefore the entire organization.

Well, and above all – a well-communicated community is an integrated community. It is good if employees also act informally, i.e. they don’t just talk about work and also meet outside the company. This is always an indicator of high morale and team integration. Informal communication can often quickly settle many issues that are sometimes a pain in formal communication.

Leave A Comment