While businesses don’t typically allocate resources for internal communication strategies, making these your priority can certainly mean an improvement in employee productivity, performance, morale and engagement. As a matter of fact, a 2010 study by Towers Watson showed that companies that focus on effective communication practices placed 47 percent higher shareholder returns compared to organizations that do not have proper strategies in place.
Why do you need a plan?
Most employers and managers know how vital it is to have internal communication strategies. But, why are they important anyway? Why should you have a plan in place when everything seems to be going okay? You don’t see any communication issues in the workplace. You regularly chat with employees and hold meetings with supervisors and team leaders. Why do you need to allocate resources to a plan?
While you may be “okay” now, in time, your company will feel the negative repercussions of not having a communication plan in place. Without a plan, there is no direction. You will observe performance that is not up to par, or even considered poor, low morale, dissatisfaction amongst clients and employees, increased costs, decreased revenue, high employee turnover, and low employee morale, productivity and engagement.
Common Internal Communication Pitfalls
So without effective and proper internal communication strategies, what are the common internal communication pitfalls that occur in an organization?
1. Assuming that everyone knows what is going on in the business
What leaders and managers make the mistake of is assuming that employees know what they know. Information should be deliberately disseminated and distributed. Instead of assuming, make sure that employees actually know what is going on in the organization that they work for.
2. A resistance to the procedures and policies in the company
When internal communication strategies aren’t employed in a business and policies and procedures aren’t written down, this can lead to resistance. Some small businesses and start-up companies don’t believe in writing down policies and procedures which makes it confusing and frustrating for employees. While organic communication can be considered acceptable while the business is small, it will become more problematic when the company grows and expands.
3. Messages that are misinterpreted or misunderstood
Miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings and friction amongst employees and colleagues. This will lead to lower productivity, decreased employee morale and engagement, and dissatisfaction.
4. The belief that communication is only needed when the company is in crisis
Rather than waiting until a blow-out or crisis occurs, make sure that operations are smooth by practicing effective communication even when things are going well. Some managers also don’t believe that input from staff members are important, until the company is already in crisis.
5. Believing that data is information
As a company grows, managers and employers are more likely to emphasize how efficient operations and work processes are. While this can help in gathering raw data, the lack of study and interpretation will not really be of value to the company.
Don’t mistake data for information. Information is data that is studied and utilized to create communication strategies. Information can help you create strategies that can help you build better relationships with your employees, while at the same time, improve your business operations.
No matter how successful a company is, it will meet its downfall if there is a breakdown of communication amongst people who work there. Management has to be aware and put importance in the way it communicates with staff members. By having internal communication strategies in place, you can prevent issues that could deter your success, while, at the same time, increase productivity, employee engagement and morale.