How has your business communication been in the past year?
Have your efforts been stellar and on point? Does everyone — staff and customers alike — have the information they need? Has messaging been clear and consistent?
Or would you say that communications have been erratic and confusing? Perhaps important company news hasn’t been making its way to everyone who needs to know?
If your connection with team members and the public could be better, it’s time to pay attention to organizational communication.
Fine-tuning organizational communications can have a powerful effect on the culture of a business, whether that business employs two people or 500.
What is organizational communication?
Basically, organizational communication embodies the skillsets and processes used to share company information with a variety of audiences, or stakeholders.
Organizational communication may include internal messaging for staff, such as writing clear human resources policies and accurate job descriptions used for recruitment. It may include developing and publishing a company newsletter or writing corporate letters on behalf of executive-level leaders.
Organizational communication also is used for messaging intended for the public, such as the development of media releases, copywriting for email marketing programs, managing a brand’s reputation online and producing marketing materials aligned with the company’s branding.
What tools are used for organizational communication?
Communicating well includes ensuring that information is delivered to everyone you need to reach, be it staff (internal) or stakeholders (external).
Many tools are used to communicate on behalf of a business. These tools may include digital and printed versions of a company newsletter, posters in staff and public areas, email newsletters, social media platforms, video chat technologies, text messaging apps, comment boxes, websites, print advertisements, media releases and voice calls.
Depending on the size of your company and the stakeholders with whom you need to communicate, you may use a select few communication tools or a wide range of them. The number of communication tools you use can be scaled based on the size of the business.
What is the value of effective organizational communication?
Regardless of how many tools you opt to use, you can achieve the following goals by dedicating time and a budget for organizational communication:
- Improve company culture and build trust through transparency.
- Increase consistent messaging across the entire company.
- Squash office gossip by sharing facts and findings in a timely manner.
- Foster feelings of inclusion throughout all levels of the company.
- Help staff better understand industry opportunities and challenges that impact the work they do.
- Create an environment that welcomes and provides a path for communication and feedback.
- Inspire others by acknowledging staff who align with the company’s values.
- Promote the company’s mission and values.
- Enhance the company’s branding and reputation.
- Share business news related to operations, products and services offered.
How can a business improve organizational communication?
A simple internet search will produce endless tips and ideas for improving business communications. One could get lost in the pile of possibilities! Here are three quick tips to help you get started:
Focus on content development. You will need to have someone on your team, whether that is a staff member or a contracted copywriting professional, who is a proficient writer. This person should be able to take a 2,000-word policy, report or instruction manual and boil it down to an error-free, two-paragraph message that is concise, accurate and easily digestible. This person should be able to write messaging that speaks to various stakeholders, and this person should be trusted to speak as the voice of your brand through various media channels.
Strategically select communication tools. Once you have a plan for content development, you’ll need a way to share that content with stakeholders. Monthly staff newsletter? Texting appointment reminders to customers? Blogging? Email marketing? In-store signage? Consider the audiences you want to reach, and then select the tools most likely to get the job done.
Tip: Always make sure that business communication tools are set up in a way that ensures the business maintains ownership of the tool. Make it a policy that staff cannot independently create accounts or use their personal email address when setting up communication tools on behalf of the business.
Develop a one-page communication plan. Once you decide on the tools you will use, develop a communication plan. This one-page plan will list the people who are responsible for content development. The plan also will list the tools to be used for broadcasting messaging, and it will set a schedule for distribution. With this plan, it will be clear who is responsible for communications and how messaging will be delivered.
Tip: Your one-page communications plan can serve your business during normal operations and serve as a baseline during crises. However, you also should develop a robust crisis communication plan to ensure that everyone knows what to do during stressful moments.
It is normal to struggle with communication, but you absolutely can bring about change that will have a positive impact on staff, customers and the community.
Being aware that business communications are not yet on point is the first step. Change is always possible. When we realize things are not as we want them to be, we can work to improve the situation.
Next comes acceptance and a willingness to try new things. This can be challenging for business leaders, especially those who already are overwhelmed by day-to-day activities. Consider tapping someone to help with project management, such as sourcing a writer, setting up communication tools or developing a communication plan.
Finally, and most important, comes action. Plans are just written words until you put them into action. Delegate and assign some or all communication tasks to people who are well-suited for the role. Once action begins, you can observe, monitor effectiveness and adjust your plans accordingly.
If you need guidance or a trusted partner to help with organizational communication, Bellingham PR & Communications is here to help. Reach out anytime.