Though much of the way businesses communicate is external — advertising to customers, collaborating with stakeholders, sharing business success and so on — the importance of good internal communication should not be overlooked, as it can have a tremendous impact on employee retention and job satisfaction.
What is internal communication?
Internal communication often takes the form of a supervisor or department manager reaching out to the team or employees through such avenues as:
- individual or team meetings, in person or virtual
- staff training
- employee newsletters
- team-building and social activities
- internal rules and procedures
How good internal communication helps your business
Trust: Reliable, consistent communication helps build trust among a team. When leaders communicate consistently, employees know what is expected of them and why the company operates the way it does.
When significant business decisions are made, for example, clear internal communication can help employees understand the decision and get behind leaders’ decisions.
For example, employees who are worried about a company’s financial future tend to want to leave. Transparent internal communication through staff meetings, employee newsletters and emails can help employees understand the company’s business goals, how the business is working to achieve them — and how employees can help.
Understanding: Good team communication is a two-way street. Employees not only learn important information about company operations, but they also have a chance to ask leaders for clarification and guidance, helping them better understand their work.
Fewer than half of employees know whether their work impacts the business — but 92% of employees who feel their work helps the company reach its goals are happy with their jobs.
When team members know the “why” behind the work they do, they’re much likelier to love their jobs.
Camaraderie: Ensuring that team members can communicate well with each other goes a long way toward ensuring employee retention. Employees who feel isolated and who cannot learn from each other tend not to feel fulfilled in their work.
On the flip side, peer-to-peer communication, modeled by company leaders, can help others feel a sense of belonging — and it allows them to learn from each other, too.
Why seek help with internal communication?
Non-emotional responses: An outside communications consultant will be able to provide an objective and fair look at company operations. This can help your business see issues from various perspectives and avoid emotional communication.
For example, a complaint from a customer might cause a business leader to send an off-the-cuff email to staff that is unnecessarily critical of the team. An outsourced communications pro can take an unbiased look at a situation before guiding business leaders on how to respond.
Consistency in messaging: Even the most well-intentioned business leader will come up against times when it is impossible to keep a consistent schedule of company communications or staff meetings. Contracting with an outside provider can help ensure that employee newsletters and emails are delivered on time and that communication is consistent, clear and concise.
Regular updates: Employee handbooks, drug-testing policies, crisis communications plans and other important internal documents need regular updating as rules change. A contracted PR and communications team can help ensure those updates get done accurately and consistently.
For help improving your company’s internal communications in Whatcom County, reach out to Bellingham PR & Communications. Our team has more than a decade of experience helping local small business leaders build and maintain relationships with their employees.