The True Value of Internal Communication
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”
Those with a perchance for classic Paul Newman films will know this is a famous line from the movie ‘Cool Hand Luke’, In which our antihero is faced with seeing his spirit being questioned while isolating in prison.
Such is the feeling of many during troubling and disconcerting times; the concept of communication becomes more apparent when our means to talk have been disrupted. But the real concern is the fact that businesses for years, no, decades, have failed to understand the actual value of internal communication that leads to business success.
Indeed, failure to communicate, especially during lockdown and isolation, will have a long-lasting negative effect that can never be recovered from.
Communication in the workplace is the process of exchanging information and ideas, both verbal and non-verbal between one person/group and another person/group within that organisation. The simplicity of its meaning would suggest it would be a front running strategy for any business to master. The realism is, however, that internal communications between divisions and staff hierarchy have become a lower priority than it should be.
Any time one party misunderstands or misconstrues the words or actions of another, it has the potential to create conflict. Poor communication in the workplace is leading to poor performance, lack of teamwork, low morale and reduced profits based on misguided information.
The real problem is that most businesses seem to be blind to such nonspecial issues that warrant extraordinarily little thinking from their already busy minds.
When poor communication occurs, it is not enough to simply point out issues and challenges. To indeed be able to counter the effects of poor communication, it is essential to investigate its causes. Many are for the following reasons:
- Objectives not being Clear
- Poor and misguided Leadership
- Cultural Diversity
- Demoralised Employees
- Personal issues affecting performance
- Lack of understanding the issue
- Competition for power
- Language barriers
- Technology not utilised correctly
- No faith and trust in the merits of staff
The list, of course, could go on. But with stats suggesting that 60% of worldwide companies have no internal comms strategy in place, it harbours the question of not understanding the importance and relevancy of investing time and patience into talking to each other at work.
The 7 C’s of Communication
Like most strategies, there are always vital steps to follow. The most common and widely accepted steps to follow in the world of communications are the Seven C’s:
- And Correctness
It would be aloof and foolish of me to breakdown each of the seven C’s when all should be clear – each outlines a compelling case that should serve to educate and innovate the misguided.
With a problem, must always come a solution. This one, however, will be debated far and wide as many will never admit to their being a problem in the first place. But a solution we must find.
Looking back over a long career, it is clear that one solution prevailed more than any to create a cohesive and productive internal comms plan. Create a club.
Not a club that limits many, a club that involves all. This would be an internal intranet or company website that is for the eyes of employees only. It would also be more than just a landing page with generic company information; it would be a central hub for all things good and great about the business, the staff, the vision and most importantly, what it is that EVERYONE does in the company….
By creating such a hub, you are helping to deliver a positive company culture that can emphasis collaboration, collection employee feedback and motivate those who need the support. A central hub that acts as an exclusive club for all staff gives everyone a voice.
But do not let it rot. Management of such a club needs leaders. It needs those that have a passion for what they do to speak to everyone and get the best out of what information they can share. Remember, your staff are your most valuable asset. Treat them as you would treat your clients so offer world-class customer care in-house.
Walking the walk is a crucial skill of any business leader. Sharing that skill, knowledge and understanding can only help grow your business from within. Do nothing and fear the mass loss of staff to your competition. No one wants to support your rivals in business, after all.