Nothing is as it used to be. The changing landscape of organizations requires that communicators find new ways to make the internal communication channels effective.
The workplace has experienced brutal changes in recent years, resulting in having employees who work as teams across different locations, environments, and devices. So, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the digital environment is a necessity nowadays.
Companies must introduce new workplace communication strategies – the ones that focus on improving effective collaboration and internal communication. This task can’t be done without intelligently combined technologies. The spotlight is on complex internal communication tools, as those could break down communication barriers, all while promoting efficiency, growth, and innovation. Not bad, huh?
Not even the progress that was made in the field of digital communication could jeopardize the role of good old instant messaging. The thing is, this somewhat old tool still rocks. What keeps it on surface is the reality of remote work, together with the high-dependence of cross-functional teams.
However, all this makes effective communication a real challenge.
As workforce is getting more and more dispersed and mobile, there is less and less time for the proper office politics. We all know that it’s the healthy politics that keep collaboration increasing, that they provide transparency and feedback. So, this new environment’s tools are what is required to set the organization in the position to succeed, as they are the ones that play the most important role when it comes to successful internal communication.
Internal communication tool’s major accomplishment is aligning people behind common goals. But that’s not all. Employees who use a quick and effective internal communication tool are also rewarded with a detailed visualization of the actions every person in the project might take, in order to contribute.
Just to illustrate it – regular updates and information sharing is proven to be highly effective and motivating, since reaching the goals that had been set increases the feeling of fellowship in a team.
But lets not get ahead of ourselves. First we’ll define and categorize the main benefits of having an adequate internal communication tool.
Just like in life, we all want to know the WHY behind every task we are assigned to. In order to understand our goals, we want to know all about the plans to get there so we can be certain and confident about the value of our own handout.
Functional internal communication is a daily reminder that we are indeed valued and listened to, and therefore – are an important part of the team. Knowing that, everyone will try their best not to straggle, and will make an effort to keep up with others. By clearly assigning project roles and responsibilities, the employees will be able to take charge of their own tasks without wondering why something is done in this and not in some other way.
This especially goes for millennials and Gen Z, who have all grown up with social media and are accustomed to online interaction. By being digital natives, they simply don’t know the other reality but the one that includes – by default – a constant flow of likes, shares, and comments. In other words: digital communication.
Every modern generation, starting from Gen X onward, is more and more discerning about the ways their employers talk and listen. This is where we get to the second point of internal communication benefits:
By remaining in control of the message and its origin, and above all – by reacting on time – the management will never have to worry about their employees learning about important company news from an external source.
We are living in the era where information is easily accessible through internet and other media channels, so companies are intimidated (and rightfully so) by possible leaks of sensitive information to the staff from external sources.
To avoid this possible communication interruption, every organization must establish fast, interactive, and reliable channels to reach all employees. Immediately.
By doing so, the organization is laying the foundation for future trust and transparency. And that gives them an additional advantage: to remain in control of the information, by turning it into a message – well articulated and without danger of exposing it to external interpretations.
We all know how the hierarchy works. Information hierarchy is no different. The system that distributes information coming from the top of the ladder is usually a cascade one. OK, sounds logical. But, there is a catch in that arrangement. A bug even.
When information comes from the top, it travels a long and tortuous journey: delays, limited feedback, and a co-dependence in the individual communication efforts of each person in the chain, are the most common unwanted results.
Empowering the middle management by providing them with resources and information can be very encouraging in terms of their communication with the staff. In addition to this, handing over information through a controlled location-wide or central channel can really lighten the burden on middle management.
When it comes to times of crisis, there is no better or more constructive way to mobilize all forces than to employ an elaborate internal communication tool. Timely and carefully designed communication is the key to getting the upper hand over an internal or external crisis.
When an organization is experiencing a crisis, effective internal communication is a must, in order not to develop a ripe catastrophe.
It can help you influence how people perceive the situation and it can also provide support to the team by being a beacon of crisis management.
Every organization should create a hypothetical structure, plans, and channels before a possible crisis hits. Prepared in advance, and armed with a powerful communication tool – you will be able to handle the potential crisis situations with much more success and calmness.
There is nothing that makes an organization more vulnerable than the lack of communication. Communication is what defines the workplace culture, and it is highly reflected in the brand itself. Communication also plays a key role in the nurturing and retention of top talent.
Bottom line: your internal communication should be immediate, focused, measurable — and mobile.
The challenge is to follow the path of rapidly evolving communication technology and keep up with the speed of continuous change. Otherwise you might find your company in trouble caused by your own failure to recognize the importance of internal communication in setting up the standard for how you want your employees to interact with one another and the customers they serve.
Probably the biggest potential an internal communication tool has is the ability to provide a front door for an employee to find various tools and services of the digital workplace. And that is utterly important having in mind the increased demands for better work/life balance, flexible hours, and the ability to work from multiple locations.
Because, as you might notice by now – the future is not in the cubicles. Quite the opposite.
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