How to Improve Organisational Internal Communications
“Noone knows what’s happening” – “We’re kept in the dark” – “I didn’t know about that”
Are these familiar phrases to you? If so, perhaps it’s time to look at the internal communication tools within your organisation and see where imprvements can be made. Internal communications, simply put, are methods of passing information between internal stakeholders.
As Thornton (2009-2014) states, “Part of developing a solid plan, is determining which communications vehicles are appropriate for your message and your audience”. Internal communications allow internal stakeholders to gain an insight into the development of a brand, where the organisation is positioned and the future plans. This helps to build the internal brand and culture which in turn improves customer service and brand loyalty and demonstrates value proposition. Where there is a lack of internal communications in an organisation, there runs a high risk of poor external communications as the brand and information cannot effectively be translated to external stakeholders. This could potentially be damaging to any brand.
Planned marketing communications incorporates three key elements: tools, media and messages (Fill, 2013). Though the mix of elements chosen may differ from organisation to organisation depending on the objectives and strategy in place, here are a few examples ofinternal communications tools,
This includes emails, intranet, scheduling information systems, CRM packages, process management software and more. These systems help to manage customer information as well as internal brand details and information and whilst electronic media is an effective form of internal communication, it is not always the most appropriate. For example, if there are members of staff who do not have access to computers or mobile devices, how will they be informed of updates and notifications? Another form of electronic media which more organisations are starting to utilise is an internal company social media platform, such as Yammer (other platforms available), which can encourage a closer organisational culture with a forward thinking approach to information sharing whilst giving a sense of inclusion and value.
Face to Face Meetings
Both formal and informal meetings could regularly take place such as weekly communication meetings, ad-hoc informal discussions, annual appraisals and staff training. These act as two way discussions giving the opportunity for Q and A to clarify any uncertain points which can often be very effective. Face to face meetings can also used to communicate where information is of a sensitive nature and therefore inappropriate to put in writing.
Noticeboards can also be utilised and positioned in open spaces, offices and workspace areas. These can be displayed with key internal information and should always be updated regularly. Changing content here attracts interest and regular business content, such as method statements, insurance and health and safety information can remain as improtant points of reference.
Documentation may be used in the form of schedules, specification documentation, information desk drops and memos to name a few. These are a one way method of giving a quick snapshot of information.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list but will hopefully highlight some areas to improve. It is advisable to use a range of different internal communication tools as often departments operate in different environments so an integrated approach would be necessary!