Member Article

How to drive effective internal communications to deliver results

Gail Franks, managing director at Summersault Communications, explains how to drive effective internal communications to deliver results.

Employee communication is an essential ingredient to a successful business and is important to consider when finalising plans and budget for 2012. Effective employee communication helps to engage employees and drive behaviour. This is particularly important in the New Year in order to focus the workforce on targets for the year ahead and motivate and engage people in the wake of the ‘January blues’.

As long as it is delivered effectively and tailored to the workforce, open and regular communication within a business can foster employee engagement, ensure a tight focus on the goals of the company, generate closer team working, and create an improved working environment and culture.

However, a successful internal communications strategy is not easy to develop or implement, particularly in these times of financial constraint when there may be difficult news to deliver such as changes to the business, restructure or redundancies.

As experts in internal communications, we recommend the following activities in order to help businesses communicate successful with their employees:

Be clear on what needs to be achieved from the communication and what change is required

Each communication must have a purpose, don’t communicate for the sake of it. Without a clear objective, the communication achieves nothing.

Don’t use just one channel

As individuals, we all have our own in-built preference about how we like people to communicate with us. Businesses should look at their communications strategy in an integrated way and use the best channel for the job - by employing a variety of formats, such as verbal, visual, written, mobile and online.

Don’t communicate from the top down

Communication shouldn’t be a one-way process, with the employer talking to employee. Instead, internal communications should seek to engage, with a free flow of information from one party to another, allowing people at different levels to feed in their views and gain a response.

Don’t just pass on the information, but help the audience to work it out for themselves

To ensure a thorough understanding, the audience must be given the opportunity and tools to work out the information for themselves, such as by providing a link to another area with further instructions. By actively engaging in the communication, they absorb more of the message.

Provide the context

Never assume the recipient will have a full knowledge of the background behind each communication. The communication should not be in isolation, but as part of a wider context. Ensure this context is made clear so the message does not get lost. This could involve outlining where the message sits within the company’s overall strategy or planned activity for the year.

Addressing these communication hazards will allow businesses to adopt an effective approach to communication in 2012. Companies should be mindful that communication is the glue that holds an organisation together, and should be something that remains fundamental, to enable the business and its staff to move forward and be successful in the year ahead.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Emma Ward .

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