Solving key internal communications challenges can be a real boost to organisational effectiveness and efficiency. Ensuring you have a solid internal communications strategy in place is crucial. It ensures a fluid cascade of information from high-level management to frontline employees, an informed and engaged workforce, and can improve employee morale. Despite that, over 50% of companies don’t have a long-term internal comms strategy.
Keeping employees engaged, happy and productive is what’s at the heart of internal comms. Even though it might seem simple, many organisations are constantly puzzled about how they can improve their internal communications and fulfill employee expectations.
Studies show that as much as 70% of organisations don’t rely on any third-party tools to support their internal communications processes. This means comms managers are left to organise and control everything themselves. As a result, common internal communications challenges arise, meaning your workplace isn’t running as efficiently as it could be.
In this blog, discover how to solve 5 challenges that keep internal communications managers up at night.
How to Improve Internal Communication
Ways on how to improve internal communications have seemly been around since the dawn of time. Throughout history, we have seen pottery shards in ancient Egypt, telegrams were introduced in the late 19th century, and we saw the pneumatic tube make its mark in the 20th century. However, with the introduction of new and digital technologies, internal communication performance shot through the roof.
Like never before, employees could be reached at an instant by an organisation. Whether through SMS, email, slack or digital screens, employees can be reached where and when they need to be most. The best way an organisation can improve its internal communications is by harnessing these new digital technologies to maximise employee engagement, morale, and ensure a highly informed workplace.
However, improving internal communications goes much further than introducing the latest tech. Ensuring your messages are relevant, fresh, and engaging will be top of the list. If your messages don’t meet these criteria, internal communications could fall on deaf ears and your workplace remains unengaged. It’s also critical to not overload employees with information. This can cause friction in message absorption and if there is too much friction employees won’t bother to read your messages.
Below, we discuss 5 main internal communication challenges and how you can solve them.
1. Engaging a Highly Mobile and Non-desk Workforce
A non-desk workforce consists of employees whose main line of work is situated away from a desk. Think factory workers, bus drivers, or supermarket staff. These staff are unlikely to have a company email address and be able to use a mobile phone on their shift. This can prove to be a headache for internal communications managers as this segment of staff is hard to reach.
When the internal comms department can’t reach employees, it means information isn’t being cascaded from top to bottom. Therefore, these non-desk workers may be unaware of new company initiatives, schemes, and other key business messages and updates. For companies that have a high percentage of mobile or non-desk workers, it is crucial these employees feel engaged, empowered, and acknowledged. They are a critical part of organisational operation, and the organisation simply wouldn’t survive without them.
Some organisations solely rely on print newsletters or rely on multiple levels of management to cascade information. However, these methods tend to lack engagement and are unreliable. This is especially true for large organisations and PLCs who may have dosens worth of managerial levels for information to pass through before it reaches (or doesn’t) non-desk workers.
One way internal communications managers are solving the problem is by using communication methods that are highly visible, consistently updated, and are visible to non-desk workers. Digital signage in the workplace has changed the game. Through a screen placed in a highly visible location, employees can be easily reached and engaged with throughout the day. From the viewpoint of employees, absorbing information is frictionless. There’s no need to go searching on the web, looking for a newsletter, or checking an inbox, it’s right there on the screen. This further ensures your key information is seen when and where it’s needed most.
2. Improving Internal Communications Between Departments
To make sure the company works like a well-oiled machine, internal departments have to communicate with each other. This, however, proves to be challenging, as departments can be far away from each other and after some time, employees get too comfortable and don’t want to branch out to other departments. 41% of internal communicators find inter-departmental comms their biggest challenge. After all, if employees don’t communicate with each other, the company can’t make sure they’re working on the same agendas.
A common inter-departmental problem can lie between the sales and marketing departments. Sales need to know the latest marketing campaigns and activities so they can correctly assist prospective customers. Marketing teams need to know sales statistics to gauge the performance of various marketing campaigns. This crossover and communication of business information are critical.
Internal communication managers need to come up with solutions to increase inter-departmental communication. One way organisations are closing the internal communications rift between departments is through highly visible digital displays. These screens can show real-time metrics and KPIs through digital dashboards, live social media feeds, the latest marketing campaigns, and employee recognition. A great example could be a sales screen in the marketing department. The screen can show live metrics for leads, closes, profit, etc. All the marketing department has to do is look up and see the fruits of their labour in real-time! Maybe a new PPC campaign was launched last week and this week sales have increased by 20%?
3. Saving Time When Creating And Designing Content
Content and template creation is a huge pain point in internal communications. In fact, it is the most time-consuming area of work for 58% of internal communicators. Beautiful, eye-catching designs are a necessity when thinking about how to improve internal communications in your company. Unfortunately, they can require large amounts of time and resources. Internal communications managers want their messages to reach employees quickly and to speed up the information cascade, therefore, fast content design is essential.
In the past (only 5 years ago really), designing content was often an expensive and time-consuming nature. Fantastic content was hidden behind the genius of a well-seasoned designer and an hourly rate that would make your jaw drop. However, with the introduction of digital communications and screen times have changed. There are now a number of software options that allow anyone to quickly create content for any use-case through professional templates. Our favourite is Canva. With Canva, a user can type in their template theme and choose from the thousands of templates the online design platform serves up. Simply choose your template, edit the text, colours, and upload.
Some of these design tools are integrated with digital signage tools, meaning you can create and upload Canva content to your internal communications screens from one place. This has saved an invaluable amount of time for internal communications managers.
4. Lack of Feedback and Responsiveness
According to Harvard Business Review, organisations with a high level of employee engagement report a 22% higher productivity. Similarly, workers who feel like their opinion is valued are also much more likely to do their best. Despite this, many employees in a variety of organisations feel bored and unappreciated. This results in high staff turnover rates, which can stunt company growth and success.
Evidently, creating an employee-focused culture should be a key goal for internal communicators. To do this they need feedback from employees to gauge exactly how they are feeling. This is not always an easy task, especially if the company has hundreds of employees scattered across multiple sites. Another challenge is getting an employee to actually visit a webpage or app to fill in a feedback form. Other internal communications methods possess too much friction resulting in a lack of feedback.
One way internal communications managers are responding to this problem is through placing interactive screens across their locations. By displaying a frictionless interactive survey that can be submitted anonymously, organisations can increase employee engagement, whilst simultaneously gaining valuable information about their experience.
Organisations can then act on this feedback and display the results on digital displays. A great way to do this is “you said. We did” content where you show how the organisation is acting on employee feedback. As a result, employees feel listened to and empowered.
5. Improving Internal Communications : Less Is More
When looking at how to improve internal communications, quality comes before quantity. Meaning, overloading employees inboxes and crowding walls with posters won’t do the job. Sometimes there’s so much information on offer, employees don’t know where to look, and in most cases won’t.
Email is a highly popular internal comms channel. However, for organisations with a high percentage of non-desk workers, it quickly proves to be ineffective. This is either because the non-desk worker hasn’t been given a company email address, or don’t have time to check their phone during their shift or aren’t allowed to.
This can mean internal communication managers are wasting a lot of time creating content, that only a fraction of employees engage with. So how can this internal communications challenge be solved? One way is to have a highly visual information point that displays one key message at a time as to not overload employees. It is recommended to update this information point regularly to keep content fresh, relevant, and engaging. It is popular to deploy a screen in these information points, that cycle through important business information. An employee can look at the screen as they are passing by and be full-up to date with company operations.
Popular content to display includes live data, employee recognition, crisis communications, and corporate updates.
If you have any questions about internal communications challenges and digital signage, speak to an expert today. Call our friendly team on 02380 981110 or Email email@example.com for a no-obligation consultation. Alternatively, click the button below.