When developing internal communication strategies for organisations, I make sure that I seek out employees’ thoughts on how they would enhance communication within their companies.
Throughout the years, the most common response from employees is that they value strong internal communication with senior management and being regularly updated on the organisation’s news.
I recall how one employee was particularly frustrated at how he constantly found out what was happening in his company from people in his social circle than from his management.
Many organisations prioritise enhancing their external communications strategies over their internal approach.
In essence, success starts from within.
A study by global consultancy Deloitte found that organisations with engaged workers are 17 per cent more productive than those with less engaged employees.
When it comes to profitability, employee engagement is a driving factor.
A study by analytics and advisory company Gallup considered the differences in employee performance between engaged and disengaged work units. It found that those in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 21 per cent in profitability.
Separately, a study by Fierce, a leadership development company, revealed that 86 per cent of respondents blamed ineffective communication for workplace failures.
Before working on developing external communication strategies, it is essential that organisations ensure that effective internal communication is in place.
When employees are well informed about their organisation’s objectives and targets and know how they can play a vital role to ensure it succeeds, it will positively impact their engagement and motivate them to excel.
In addition, an effective internal communication strategy helps to foster collaboration between departments and employees, which is more important now that many companies have a remote workforce and maintaining engagement becomes a priority.
An internal communication strategy can be executed in many ways – from ensuring there are several communication channels in place, such as weekly staff meetings and the use of internal circulars and emails, to keeping employees informed and up to date with events.
Improving communication within and across organisations through social technologies could raise productivity and interaction between employees by 20 per cent to 25 per cent, according to global consultancy McKinsey.
Thumbtack, a modern home management platform, uses different internal communication channels such as internal newsletters to keep its remote cross-continental workforce informed and prevent them from feeling disconnected.
As important as it is to develop these internal communication strategies and dedicate various channels to keep employees informed, a culture of transparency needs to be adopted and it has to begin from the top.
Company leaders should be open and transparent with their employees about the challenges and opportunities the organisation faces, and have an open-door policy where workers feel comfortable to raise concerns and share suggestions.
Some strategies I found to be effective are scheduling periodic circulars from the chief executive to employees, organising a monthly chief executive lunch with different departments, or holding a company-wide meeting twice a year or every quarter, where staff are encouraged to share their feedback.
Organisations can follow the example of Google, one of the most favourable workplaces globally because of its strong work culture and focus on employees.
The organisation’s culture encourages employees to collaborate with each other and share ideas with senior management.
An effective communication strategy not only ensures employee engagement but can also help organisations reach their financial targets faster.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications adviser based in Abu Dhabi