“Effective internal communication is a powerful force that not only helps organizations to be more successful but also helps enrich employees’ lives in meaningful ways.”- Paul Barton.
Communication is indispensable, not just for businesses but for the entire living world. However, it has a special significance in the world of business.
The company that succeeds in expressing what it has to offer in the most appealing manner snatches victory from the jaws of defeat.
Although, whenever we talk about business communication, everyone starts advocating for the importance of interaction with external stakeholders. Company-wide interaction and different types of internal communication are often overlooked.
Yes, it is imperative to communicate with all your external stakeholders efficiently as they play a significant role in growing your business.
But let’s not forget about the internal aspects as communication is not limited to a business and its customers only.
Having effective communication with your internal stakeholders is just as important or, I should say, more important than any other form of communication because it’s them who shape your business and help you sustain it in the long run.
Effective internal communication is all about passing the word to your employees in a way that keeps them interested, involved, and invested in their work.
Table of Contents
What Is Internal Communication?
Internal communication (IC) is all about facilitating effective communication among employees and other stakeholders within a company.
It revolves around creating an adequate flow of information and collaboration among the participants who make up an organization.
This could include announcing a new policy or telling people about an upcoming project, celebrating team achievements, or performing a company-wide engagement event.
It is believed that internal communication is generally the responsibility of the management and HR department. Yes, that is one of the most important types of internal communication but it is not only limited to only one segment of the company. It can be done by any team or department all across the organization.
Employee productivity, teamwork, experience, and, ultimately, employee engagement are influenced by how effectively you communicate with them.
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What Are Different Types Of Internal Communication?
Because no two businesses are alike, different internal communication methods may be effective in different situations. Mentioned below is a list of different kinds of internal communication used by top businesses these days.
- Management to employee communication
- Employee up communication
- Peer-to-peer communication
- Crisis communication
- Change communication
- Cultural and informal communication
Let’s dig deeper into each one so that you can find out the ones you are interested in applying to your organization.
1. Management to employee communication (Top-down)
Management to employee communication is one of the most important types of internal communication that focuses on organizational structure and the systemic delivery of information from the highest levels to the company’s employees.
Top-down communication is a hierarchical method of disseminating information and instructions inside a company. Each level of the hierarchy gathers information from the level above until it finally reaches all the echelons of the company.
This type of internal communication ensures that every rung has the necessary information and details to complete relevant tasks or activities. Top-down communication also helps you master another kind of internal communication, information delivery.
It ensures that every employee is properly informed about all organizational and legal procedures of the company.
Effective employee communication management brings in employee alignment and keeps everyone focused on the same goals and objectives.
Not just that, it helps you build better connections with your workforce because employees are more loyal and productive if you keep them informed about everything.
How To Ace It?
- Be transparent
An organization must make sure that its communication process is transparent and straightforward. No secrets. Employees like to know things. Nobody can work in an environment where they are surrounded by secrets and hidden information.
- Build in accountability
If you have a message that needs to be relayed down throughout the organization, assign your subordinates a deadline and hold them accountable for it. Also, do not forget to check in with the bottom rungs of your company to check whether the information was received or not.
- Use multiple means of communication
Different types of internal communication require different mediums or tools. Emails, texts, meetings, communication, and collaboration tools all have their own place. For example, a face-to-face or virtual meeting would be the best way to convey strategic information, while using an internal communication tool would be ideal for everyday follow-ups or quick discussions. Utilizing an internal communication tool like ProofHub can help you manage company-wide and team communication effectively.
- Tailor Your Communication
It is important for you to make sure whether your message is relevant to the audience you’re talking to. Not all of your employees need to know every little detail of your organizational strategy or any new initiatives. Consider who you’re talking to if the information is relevant, and tailor your message accordingly.
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Employee-up communication is another significant type of internal communication that starts from the bottom of an organization and makes its way to the highest positions. It is an upward communication process that enables employees to pass on critical information and feedback to the upper management.
It is a type of internal communication that is collaborative in nature and revolves around the inclusion of the entire workforce, their ideas, and their personal and professional experiences to build a positive company culture and excellent business strategies.
Businesses need to understand that an organization’s information flow should never be one-sided. Two-way and bottom-up communication processes help you create an atmosphere where employees feel heard and valued.
How To Ace It?
- Be approachable
Being a leader, it is critical for you to be approachable, otherwise, your employees will never be able to open up to you. It is believed that when you put your employees at ease and let them be comfortable around you, they trust you more and perform better under your leadership.
- Acknowledge two-way feedback
Two-way feedback can help employees and the organization gets better at what they do. It is vital to give feedback to your workforce regularly but asking for their feedback is just as important. Two-way feedback helps your employees to perform better and lets an organization develop a better work environment.
- Have An Open-door policy
An open-door policy is a workplace standard that allows employees to talk to the senior management or their immediate supervisors about any topic at any point in time. This policy aims to promote open communication, two-way feedback, and discussions regarding any issues faced by employees.
- Provide Effective Internal Communication Channels
Providing the proper communication channels to your employees is the key to building an efficient internal communication process. It keeps your employees engaged and aligned with your business objectives. Using an internal communication tool will help you connect with all the employees in your company effortlessly. You can also use discussion forums, workplace surveys, virtual suggestion boxes to welcome new ideas from your employees.
3. Peer-to-peer communication
While it is essential to have a positive relationship with your workforce, equally important is their relationship with each other. Since staff members work together throughout the day, having a solid relationship with one another is imperative, and positive peer-to-peer communication is the only way to achieve it.
Let your employees know the importance of peer-to-peer communication and provide them with the opportunity to work on their communication skills to develop a positive relationship with their colleagues.
How to ace it?
- Practice positive communication
Positive communication means relaying your message thoughtfully and tactfully. It also involves praises and acknowledgments. Make sure that you have positive communication with your employees regularly as it would encourage them to do the same with their peers.
- Let your employees decide the communication pattern
Everybody in the world has their own communication style. Allow your employees to express how they wish to be communicated with. While some of your employees might like things to be a little casual and informal; whereas others might want everything to be super professional and formal. Encourage your employees to get to know each other better and practice positive communication in the workplace.
- Fix and tend to issues immediately
No matter how hard you try, there will be times where you and your employees will face challenges with your communication process. It could be anything from a technological issue to a heated-up argument between two of your employees. Instead of ignoring the problem, try having an open conversation and fix it right away. Keep in mind that peer relationships can make or break the organization as a whole.
4. Crisis communication
Crisis communication is one of the most critical types of internal communication. It refers to the processes, strategies, and systems that help an organization communicate effectively during a crisis.
As we know that a crisis never occurs with a warning. Thus, it is never more critical than in a crisis situation to get the appropriate information to the right individuals in a fast, efficient, and effective manner.
The perfect example of a crisis would be the pandemic. Nobody was prepared for it. The world turned upside down in no time, especially the businesses.
It was nothing but a lesson for us to be prepared ahead of time for a crisis to ensure that everyone in the organization can effectively communicate with each other to quickly alleviate the situation and ensure business continuity without any hassle.
How to ace it?
- Make a solid crisis communication plan
Just like any other business strategy, crisis management and communication also needs a proper plan and objectives. Without an appropriate plan, your employees are less likely to get aligned with the company strategy. Having a crisis communication plan ready beforehand assures a systematic flow of information, decreases misinformation, and keeps everyone on the same page.
In order to make a solid crisis communication plan, you need to make sure that-
- Communication takes place in real-time.
- Information is accessible from anywhere.
- Messages are relevant to the intended audience.
- You train your employees to develop good communication skills.
- Your statements are simple, accurate, and consistent.
- Perform “what if” exercises and ask for employee feedback.
- You create appendices and guidelines.
- Use the right technology
It is vital for businesses to understand that crisis communication can never be successful if you do not use the correct technology for it. Internal communication tools are one of the most significant considerations for this type of communication. They provide you effective solutions for real-time and unified communication within your organization.
An internal communication tool like ProofHub is communication-effective, not only in terms of chats, discussions, and recording minutes of meetings but also through visualization of tasks and tracking all moving progress.
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- Conduct post-crisis analysis
Once the crisis is over, employers must address a few questions like:
“What did we learn from this crisis?”
“What went wrong?”
“Did we have a crisis plan in place?”
“How can we enhance our crisis communication in the future?”
Despite the fact that these situations are uncomfortable for anyone, they should serve as a valuable lesson and learning experience for your business. Perform post-crisis analysis and ask for employee feedback in order to be better prepared for such unprecedented situations in the future.
5. Change communication
Change communication is an integral part of the change management process, which helps employees understand what is expected to change, why, and how it will affect the entire organization.
It gives stakeholders a better grasp of the new initiatives and assists them in moving from where they are now to where the organization wants them to be in the future.
Whether you’re making changes with the technology, work practices, company rules and guidelines, leadership styles, or a combination of different things, an effective change communication process is crucial to ensure a smooth transition.
How to ace it?
- Analyze change impact
Before anybody else, it’s the management that needs to be well aware of changes coming up. It is essential for you to thoroughly understand and examine the factors that are supposed to change, who will be affected by them, your desired goals, and how you plan to achieve them. Develop a clear vision of the future, and then start communicating your plans to your team.
- Develop a change management strategy
A change management strategy in business defines how an organization will deal with the upcoming changes in the future. It is basically a blueprint that addresses topics and approaches related to resources, communication, learning, participation, sustainability, engagement, and change adaptability.
- Run internal communication campaigns
A communication campaign is a drive that uses media, technology, messaging, and a specific set of communication activities to achieve particular results in a large number of individuals and in a specified timeframe. Once you have analyzed everything and formulated a change management strategy, it’s time to execute your plans by driving action and influencing change all across the organization. Running internal awareness campaigns is a great way to do so.
6. Culture communication
“Company culture is the backbone of any successful organization.” Gary Vaynerchuk
Culture communication can be defined as the way your organization communicates with its employees, disseminates information, encourages them to speak up, and keeps them engaged.
If you wish to increase your employees’ performance, motivation, engagement, productivity, experience, and overall business growth, this is one of the most significant types of internal communication that should be practiced in your organization.
Everything from attracting top talent, retaining employees, branding, business stability to employee performance is influenced by company culture. Consistent internal communication is the key to building a positive company culture.
Culture communication covers everything from company mission, values, initiatives, policies, rewards, recognition, social events, non-business information to onboarding communication.
How to ace it?
- Maintain professionalism in a casual way
When it comes to creating a positive communication culture, the tone of voice is key. It is crucial to find the perfect balance between the corporate and casual culture. Nobody likes to work in an environment where everything is super formal. Offices have become significantly more casual over the past few years. It is important for you to provide your employees with a comfortable environment to work in and make sure that your workforce stays aligned with the company’s rules and regulations.
- Eliminate one-way communication
Gone are the days when employers would issue a company-wide newsletter to inform their employees about a specific topic. This way, employees are unable to express themselves and raise their issues due to one-way communication. It prevents them from being a part of company conversations and feeling more engaged. According to a recent report, employees are 4.6% more empowered to do their best work if they feel their voice is heard in the workplace.
Effective and efficient internal communication aids in ensuring that every individual of the organization is aligned to the same goal and works in the same direction to achieve it.
By practicing the above-mentioned types of internal communication you can foster a coherent culture and empower employees to make better decisions in line with the company’s objectives resulting in increased efficiency, greater productivity, and ultimately, excellent customer service.