Investing in internal comms not only helps you increase productivity, morale, and engagement among employees, but also leads to greater financial success, better customer service, and higher retention rates.
When times are tough and budgets are tight, it can be tempting to cut back on internal communications – it can be tempting to view it as a luxury expense. But in reality, effective communication is an investment that pays off in the long run.
Good internal communication fosters collaboration between departments and teams, encourages creative thinking, and helps to create a positive workplace culture. It also helps to strengthen relationships between employees and managers while giving all team members a sense of purpose and belonging.
We’re digging into just how you can achieve all this below.
Why there’s some hesitancy around investing in internal comms
For many businesses, internal communications can feel cost-prohibitive and time-consuming. However, teams must have a way of communicating with each other (and with their managers) so they can work as efficiently as possible – particularly during times of economic uncertainty.
Some might need to gain knowledge about what needs to be done for an internal comms plan. Not to mention that when budgets are tight and managers don’t know what the team needs from them, it’s easy for them not to invest in internal comms.
Instead, most companies focus on external communication and ignore internal communication altogether.
They do this because they think it’ll be easier to fix or tweak once they have a large enough audience. They assume that once they have hundreds of employees and lots of customers, everyone will understand what they have to say and how to help solve their problems.
Kyle Elliot, Tech Career Coach, says internal communications is a smart move when deciding where to invest your budget – and that you should especially know how to communicate change.
“Employees can feel uncertain or put off by change, especially when it’s not handled with care. However, when change is communicated with intention and thoughtfulness, employees will be more receptive.”
It’s equally crucial to remember that internal comms can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Marek Nebesář, Operations Director at Behavio Labs, stresses the importance of trying out different solutions and testing them out with your whole team.
“You should consistently explore new methods, tools, processes, and formats to bring aboard as many employees as possible. Without it, employees lose touch with how their contributions fit into the bigger picture and remain unaware of their peers.”
What investing in internal comms looks like
Let’s see what an excellent internal comms investment looks like for diverse people management use cases, starting with the initial hiring stage.
Hiring the right people
To ensure you hire the best candidate for the job, it’s important to invest in internal communication during the hiring process.
This time should be used to highlight your company’s brand and values, as well as its culture and work environment. Doing this effectively will help you stand out from other employers and attract top talent who are passionate about working for you.
Make sure to provide all potential candidates with a clear understanding of what they are signing up for when they join your team. Even if they won’t admit it, they could get drawn into the projects and people they encounter and choose to stay longer.
What this could look like for you: Include a copy of your About Us page among the job spec resources. This will give you a chance to convey messaging about your company and its culture before an interview takes place, in addition to helping you find candidates with the specific skills and expertise you need.
Training your managers and leaders
Once you’ve determined what’s working well and what needs improvement within your people strategy, you’ll simply have to rely on an internal communications plan. This should include the goals, budget, timeline, and strategies for achieving those goals.
You can implement the plan by training your managers and leaders on effective communication techniques. This could include workshops, seminars, or one-on-one coaching sessions.
Tip: Don’t forget to track and monitor the progress of your internal communication efforts. Use metrics to assess the effectiveness of your strategies and make adjustments as needed. Evaluate the results of your internal communication efforts and make necessary changes to improve the results as you continue to monitor progress.
What this could look like for you: Establish a series of workshops for your managers and team leads to attend. These could tackle topics such as how to become a better communicator, communicate in times of crisis, or share bad news.
Investing in a tool like Workvivo
Digital tools make staying connected and maintaining a solid internal comms strategy easier. You can pick from several options like social intranets, knowledge bases, instant messaging, and more.
To make it easier, consider a solution like Workvivo which has everything you need in one place. It offers features like employee experience, communication, engagement, and more. These use cases allow you to centralize knowledge, culture, and collaboration all under one platform.
What this could look like for you: Request a demo to learn how Workvivo can bring your internal comms strategy to life.
Making learning and development (L&D) programs more efficient
Besides making sure everyone in the organization is informed about the L&D program and has access to customized training programs, you can turn to internal comms to give everyone a clear understanding of:
- What the program is and why you launched it
- What’s expected of them
- What next steps they should take
- If there’s anyone they should report to for feedback and results
By keeping everyone on the same page (when it comes to the goals and objectives of a training program), you’ll reduce confusion and make your programs smoother and thus more efficient.
What this could look like for you: Keep things fun. Move your training materials over into the form of a podcast (or another format your employees love). Use an employee communication tool to make sure these resources get to everyone.
You can also provide access to online courses from accredited universities or colleges (like Coursera or Khan Academy) or reimburse employees for tuition costs related to these types of classes.
Developing recognition and fair compensation
Ever wanted to make sure your employees feel valued and appreciated for their work at all times?
Internal communication helps by ensuring your employees are aware of the compensation policies and procedures that are in place, as well as any changes to these. Workers will also better understand how their efforts are rewarded and that they’re being provided with a fair and equitable compensation package.
What this could look like for you: Showcase team and personal accomplishments through public messages and praise. Comments from colleagues reinforce the recognition and foster strong team connections. A tool like Workvivo lets employees incorporate the company’s goals and values into the content they share, so they stay focused on the organization’s activity.
Results spotlight: Bus Éireann was able to recognize the efforts of its employees in a greater capacity with the help of Workvivo. This supported the GEM Employee Awards, which enabled colleagues to recognize their peers through simple nomination submissions. In the first year, over 450 nominations were made for the Hero of the Year award. The program encourages engagement between employees and the company, allows staff to contribute to decision-making, and motivates colleagues to spread appreciation for their work.
Building organization-wide trust
Internal communication is needed to build organization-wide trust because they provide a platform for employees to stay informed and connected with the company. They help create a sense of transparency by providing employees with timely updates on company goals and progress, as well as important information about policies and changes.
Here are some of her notes on how you can use internal comms to create a unified culture by ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
“I’ve seen so many companies feel the ripple effects of their leadership team’s inability to communicate effectively within themselves. That inability creates ambiguity. Humans aren’t designed to handle ambiguity. Having that in an organization is distracting and affects performance.
“Of course, in startups, some level of ambiguity will always exist. But, the key is giving your employees as much insight into how you, as leaders, will navigate that ambiguity. This makes them feel involved and not like they’re waiting for some shoe to drop.
“This builds trust. And trust is the most foundational pillar of the employee experience. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything.”
What this could look like for you: Decide on a channel (e.g. email, social intranet) to rely on whenever you have any kind of news you want to communicate. It’s important to note you’ll want to update your employees on all matters and even give them a heads-up in case things aren’t going as expected.
Results spotlight: Dean Possenniskie, Managing Director of A+E Networks, keeps his employees updated on the latest news of the company through a video update every two to three weeks. He records himself using his smartphone and uploads the video directly to Workvivo, making it easy for employees to stay informed.
Building culture and belonging
Culture is what you make it.
So think of a list of five core values that define your team culture and start working towards them.
Let’s take company-wide transparency as an example.
Chino Nnadi, Global Talent Strategist and Founder at Consult x Chino Inc., emphasizes the importance of having transparency to avoid a high turnover rate.
“Internal comms is important for specific projects, teams, and organizations as a whole. Without it, everything else falls into place. You’ll need to first figure out what needs to be communicated and to whom.”
Chino further notes that how you communicate a message matters. “For example, will you have monthly town hall meetings or quarterly ones? These meetups should happen on a more frequent basis with teams while you won’t want to forget about regular one-on-ones.”
What this could look like for you: Leverage meetings to build up culture and ask how people are doing or and where projects are going. At the end of the day, there needs to be interest from the management side in how employees are feeling besides just looking over work status.
Results spotlight: Burnetts Solicitors use a ‘Wow’ Space to celebrate personal achievements and milestones. Staff can connect over their interests, post pictures of newborns, share news about weddings, give sneak peeks of office renovations, and receive thanks from customers and colleagues. Having a dedicated area for recognition and appreciation will make employees feel safe, secure, and part of a community.
👉 Check out our guide on how to run ad hoc meetings for more tips that can save even improvised meetings.
The benefits of investing in internal comms for all areas of your business
With all of these use cases, internal communication has now become a key part of business strategy for many organizations.
Employees are encouraged now more than ever to contribute with their ideas and need to be kept informed about changes in the business.
In fact, internal comms is all about encouraging an open dialogue between employees and management, which leads to better working relationships, increased productivity, and reduced staff turnover.
Let’s see just how various business areas are impacted by improved internal comms.
Productivity and morale
Studies show that good communication leads to more engaged employees. And better employee engagement means better productivity. When employees feel like they have a say in what happens in their workplace, they’re more likely to stay with the company longer.
This leads to greater loyalty towards your organization as well as higher profits and increased employee morale.
Not to mention that by simply staying transparent you’d be reducing stress across your teams. This could otherwise affect individual employees or entire departments at once. If stress is left untreated it can lead to more serious problems like depression, which take an emotional toll on both the individual and wider organization.
Companies with a strong culture have 30% to 50% higher engagement and retention rates. That’s because it provides people with a sense of purpose and belonging for employees. They’ll have a clear set of values and expectations that they can strive to meet and commit to. This, paired with a supportive work environment, makes employees feel valued and respected.
Simply put, when employees feel connected, they’re more motivated, engaged, and productive. By bringing people together around common goals and shared values, you create a culture where people want to work together towards common goals.
Customer satisfaction and success
A Gallup study has found that proper employee communication and engagement leads to a 10% increase in customer loyalty and engagement.
That’s because knowing what needs to be done, where your organization stands, and what learning your employees need allows teams to work together more effectively. Good communication between employees also allows for a streamlined workflow, which helps improve customer service and satisfaction.
When employees have a clear understanding of their roles and the next action steps they need to take, there’s less confusion and fewer issues that could lead to customer dissatisfaction. Additionally, that improved employee morale simply helps them provide a stellar customer service experience.
Happy and informed employees are more likely to promote your company and help you bring more people on board. Imagine having everyone talk about how fantastic your culture is. That’s instantly a lot of extra visibility on your company culture and values.
You won’t even have to spend thousands of dollars on finding qualified candidates for the job as they’ll come to you first. Plus, potential candidates will better understand the company and what it stands for, which can make them more likely to apply for a job.
Tip: Don’t forget to keep everyone on your team updated on roles you’ve opened up. This will allow them to recommend professionals they know or look for qualified candidates themselves.
Investing in internal communications can reduce operational costs by speeding up processes and improving your daily workflow. By creating efficient and organized processes, you can reduce both the amount of time and money spent on tasks and risk management, leading to lower overall costs.
On top of this, we’ve already mentioned that by focusing more on internal comms, you’d be improving your retention rate. Replacing employees when they leave is one of the biggest costs organizations face. If you can increase your employees’ engagement levels and foster stronger relationships between them and their supervisors, you’ll see lower turnover rates – which will save you money over time.
Ready to start investing in internal comms? See how Workvivo can benefit every part of your company
Get all of these results and more with Workvivo! Learn how we can help you communicate purpose, strategy, and values with your employees in innovative and engaging ways.