What is Company Internal Communication?
Internal communication is an entire process within an organization. It includes how information is shared up and down communication channels, as well as laterally, in order to achieve the organization’s goals. Communication is shared in various forms (verbal, written, and digitally), within teams and company-wide.
Effective internal communication has the following characteristics in common:
- The reason for the communication is clear and direct.
- It makes appropriate use of vocabulary.
- It is to the point and free of jargon.
- The communication is prepared to meet the needs of its audience.
- It gives an opportunity for two-way communication.
Why is internal communication important within a company? Some of the reasons are as follows:
- Effective communication makes decision-making a faster, easier process within the company.
- It helps team members work more effectively together.
- The level of day-to-day friction and conflict between employees and managers is reduced.
- It assists in motivating employees.
- The company’s customer service becomes more responsive.
- The company employees become more productive.
- It makes achieving the company’s goals a smoother and easier process.
→ Read more: 10 Reasons Why Internal Communication is so Important
Examples of Internal Business Communication
Good communication is an important consideration for long term business success. It is a key part of the company culture and has a bearing on how employees feel about their work. It feeds directly into whether your company will be able to attract and keep quality candidates on a long term basis.
1. Establish an open door policy
One of the best internal communications ideas is to create an environment where your employees feel comfortable approaching their manager to discuss any issues they may have. These issues may be directly related to something on the job or could be a personal concern that is having an impact on the employee’s work.
Good managers know that employees are not robots and that they may need a sympathetic ear and some reassurance that reasonable accommodation can be made during times when they are facing challenging circumstances.
The employee should also feel free to approach their manager to share their ideas for how to approach a task or improve the workplace as well. Reassure team members that there is no such thing as a “bad idea” and that all opinions are welcome as long as they are shared respectfully.
2. Develop digital forms to speed up the onboarding process
When your company is bringing in a new employee, there are typically a number of forms that need to be filled out. Traditionally, these forms were paper, and completing them was both necessary and time-consuming.
If these forms are available in a digital format, some of them could be potentially provided to a new hire in the pre-boarding stage. The company can still hold back on providing anything that must be seen only by employees until the official first day of hire, but some of the basics can still be looked after in advance. Once the new employee is actually made “official,” then the rest of the forms can be completed.
3. Make your company intranet fun to use
Using your company intranet should not feel like more work if your goal is to encourage your employees to use it more often. Make a point of adding your company logo and colors to it, and ensure that all employees know how to use it effectively. Give everyone some training when they join the company and offer refreshers often.
Not all team members who feel lost will speak up (even if they are invited to at team meetings). Some people prefer a self-directed approach, while others would prefer to have a designated person they can ask if they have questions. Give your employees multiple options so they know they can get help in the way that feels the most comfortable for them.
4. Use video as a regular part of your internal communication strategy
If you are looking for ways to keep your team updated about company news and developments which are essential for them to know, don’t be shy about including them in a video. Unfortunately, if you are relying on including this information in long email formats, you run the risk of losing your audience before they can interpret the message.
Some employees simply won’t bother to read to the end. Others will read to the end but won’t be sure exactly what they read, and others will misinterpret the message entirely. Put it in a video format and employees can watch it multiple times if need be.
5. Be open with company objectives and goals regularly
In some organizations, the only people who have objectives to meet are the sales staff. Other employees only hear whether the company is doing well when the company president thanks them for their hard work at the end of the year.
When employees know what their employer expects them to achieve, they can commit their efforts to achieving the goals jointly. It is not expected that one person or one team is responsible for meeting the goals. Everyone can contribute toward the company reaching its goals; once they are met, the entire company can take credit for its success.
6. Create a company culture where employees are valued
The old idea of running a company where the incentive for someone coming to work was the paycheck at the end of a pay period has gone by the wayside. Yes, there are financial incentives for people to go to work, but there are other reasons why they choose to work for a specific company —your company! — as well.
Avoid creating an atmosphere in your company where your employees feel as though they are reaching for the proverbial carrot being dangled in front of them from a stick. If they behave in a certain way, they will be rewarded. If not, they will be “punished” by not being able to get better assignments to work on, ignored in meetings, or other petty ways to get back at the employee.
7. Conduct stay interviews as part of the company routine
The best way to retain great employees is to ask them what they like about their jobs and what the company can do to improve their work environment. If you want to improve the performance of team members who are considered “average,” do the same for them.
Schedule an interview with the employee’s direct supervisor, the HR director, or a company executive. Let the employee know that anything said during the interview is considered confidential and “off the record” so the employee feels comfortable about sharing anything they want to about improvements to the workplace. This is a place to find solutions; an employer can’t act on an issue if they aren’t aware of it.
8. Use employee profiles to raise productivity and connectivity between employees
This is one of the most innovative internal communication ideas you can introduce in your organization. According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, the average information worker spent approximately 20% of their time at work looking for information internally or tracking down colleagues who can assist with a task.
One solution is to use your intranet to add employee profiles. Encourage team members to include their title, who their supervisor is, what kinds of projects they work on, along with any special skills in their profile. The profile can also include their hobbies and personal interests. Fellow employees can find the help they need and coworkers they share interests with quickly.
9. Discourage employees from using email whenever possible
When email was first introduced, it was hailed as being a wonderful technological development that would save time and make communication more efficient. It may have worked that way in some instances, but as anyone with an email account can confirm, it also leads to a glut of messages that clog our respective inboxes.
Employees spent 28% of their average workweek reading and answering emails
The McKinsey Global Institute study mentioned above also found that employees spent 28% of their average workweek reading and answering emails. Instead of adding to the list of messages that a coworker has to sort through, employees should consider whether they can resolve a matter in a different way: sending a text, a private message through the company intranet, or calling their coworker on the phone.
→ Also read:Ideas to Improve Internal Communications for Retailers
10. Encourage casual internal knowledge sharing among employees
The idea that employees should stay put at their desks for the duration of their workday is no longer accepted by many companies. Instead, employees are encouraged to take lunch and coffee breaks during the day to stretch, get a change of scene, and to give their minds a break.
During these times, encourage workers to introduce themselves to someone they haven’t had a chance to meet yet while at the coffee machine or in the hallway. These casual conversations can bloom into something purposeful over the long term. A recent survey conducted by Farmington, Massachusetts-based market intelligence and advisory firm International Data Corp. revealed that Fortune 500 companies lost a minimum of $31.5 million annually simply due to failure to share knowledge.
11. Tap into your employee base as part of your marketing campaigns
Consumers hold a tremendous amount of power in determining whether a new product or initiative will be a success or not. Your employees work for your company and they also have a voice as consumers.
Neilson’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey asked 30,000 online respondents located in 60 countries which types of advertising they trusted most. The results were as follows:
- 83% said they trust the recommendations of their friends and family
- 66% said they trust consumer opinions they read online
Given these facts, ask your employees for their ideas about the best ways to reach out to your target market. Give some of your employees the chance to try the product before the official launch and provide an honest review for their peers.
12. Start a company newsletter
A company newsletter is a place to share news about your company and the products and services it provides. Distribute it in a digital format to make it easy for your team members to access at their convenience. The newsletter can be posted on the company intranet so it doesn’t clog up your employees’ email accounts, as previously mentioned.
This forum gives you the perfect opportunity to introduce some fun internal communications ideas. Consider including some of the following in your company newsletter:
- A list of employees celebrating birthdays each month
- Trivia questions and answers about the company or your industry
- A profile of a featured employee
- Reminders about important events or dates for employees
13. Adopt storytelling to relate accomplishments to specific employees whenever appropriate
Are you looking for internal communication ideas to re-energize employees? Draw them in with a good story! When the company as a whole reaches a milestone or is recognized for doing something well, share this information with all workers. Be sure to tell everyone about the specific people who were involved and whose efforts led to the achievement.
This employee recognition strategy does not have to be limited to work-related achievements. If an employee has received an award outside of their work life, share this with their work colleagues too. The news will encourage sharing and camaraderie between workers.
14. Use PowerPoint or Apple Keynote presentations for training purposes
After employees are hired, they should still be learning. Technology changes and improves over time. There may be regulations impacting your industry that they need to be aware of to do their work effectively.
Rather than asking your team to read a lengthy text document, an effective way to keep them up to date on changes they need to know or to review general fire and safety procedures is to prepare a PowerPoint or Apple Keynote presentation. These are methods that allow for creativity so that the presentation is interesting to the viewer and each slide can contain an important point to be covered.
15. Set up a reference library for employees
Training materials, such as PowerPoint presentations or Apple Keynote presentations, can form part of a reference library that employees can access when needed.
These documents can be stored on the company intranet so that all employees can access them without having to request hard copies of documents when they have questions. The employee can simply look up the document and if they still have questions, they can reach out to their fellow team members or their manager.
This option is less disruptive to the workday and is much more efficient than storing the information in hard copy form in a specific employee’s office. If that person is away due to illness or some other reason, their fellow employees are stuck without access to the information they need.
LumApps, the Employee Experience Platform
16. Set up team chat rooms
When a team is working on a project, there will no doubt be plenty for them to talk about as it progresses. Not all of the communication will be face-to-face, though. If everyone on the team had to get up from their workspace and physically go to someone else’s desk to talk to them, very little would get accomplished.
Set up chat rooms so that teams can collaborate online instead. They can ask questions, voice concerns, or act as virtual cheerleaders to team members who have become frustrated. Employees can post a message and then move on to something else without having to wait for a response.
17. Hold team meetings regularly
Get the entire team together on a regular basis to check in on their progress. This is the time when they can celebrate their victories and work through any issues they are facing together. No one on the team should ever be singled out as being someone who is not contributing “enough” — any performance-related issues should be dealt with at another time.
The goal is to ensure that all the team members have everything they need to do their work well. This may mean obtaining specific equipment, reaching out to experts in the community, or working with another company that has the necessary resources.
18. Managers give coaching sessions to team members
Managers in an organization aren’t hired to keep track of employee missteps. They are a part of the employee’s success within the organization. Try this creative internal communication idea on for size: Managers meet with their team members regularly for coaching sessions.
The manager should make it clear to the employee that they are invested in helping the employee succeed. This is the employee’s opportunity to get extra support in areas where the employee feels they are less effective. The manager may also suggest trying some new approaches in areas where employees “generally” run into difficulty.
19. Post messages on closed-circuit television (CCTV)
Everyone is familiar with digital signage. We see it everywhere in our everyday lives. Your company can use this technology to share messages with your employees in the workplace. The messages can range from fun facts and trivia to local weather reports and company-wide announcements.
This is the type of internal communication idea that will be most successful if the content is updated regularly. Employees will quickly grow tired if they see the same content repeatedly and will not look at the CCTV regularly. They may miss an important message as a result. The televisions would need to be placed in convenient locations where employees are likely to see (and notice) them.
20. Hold company-wide meetings for major announcements, especially when a crisis hits
It’s important to be honest with employees when things are not going well for the company. You do not want your people to find out about something major that is going to affect them from outside sources. Schedule a meeting that includes the entire company as soon as possible. Be honest about what you know and avoid speculation. This is one of the topinternal communications best practices for crisis management.
Anticipate your employees’ questions and try to answer them as quickly as you can. Most people want to know whether they are facing a job loss when their employer loses a major contract or sales take a dip during a quarter. Address this elephant in the room directly and expect that your employees will have questions for their managers. Provide regular updates on the situation so that employees know how the company is adapting to the situation.
21. Send SMS messages to employees when an emergency occurs
This is an example of communication with employees that you hope you never have to use. Examples of emergencies where you may need to reach out to your workers may include a gas leak in your building, a fire, severe weather, a natural disaster, etc. You want to be able to contact your employees wherever they are to determine they are safe and give them instructions.
In an emergency when voice communication may not be reliable, SMS communications should be able to reach your employees more quickly. You can send a “blast” message to everyone in the company at once and ask them to respond by text.
22. Maintain communication consistency with remote and hybrid teams
As the amount of remote and hybrid workers increases, it's important for internal communicators to consider working environments when releasing communication. For instance, teams should avoid having ‘hybrid' meetings where one group is a conference room and others dial in remotely. This sets an unlevel playing field and usually results in various miscues during the meeting. Hybrid and remote workers also miss out if workers in the office have an impromptu meeting without sending out a summary to the relevant team members.
Lastly, it's important for all remote workers to have the right tools and technology to have effective meetings and communication workflows. This includes a reliable internet connection, a headset or microphone-enabled headphones, and quality work computer.
Have these internal communication examples and ideas given you any food for thought? How many of them do you use right now? There is always room to improve the ways we communicate with others in business. When we take the time to listen to each other, wonderful things can happen.