Extensive research has shown that effective internal communication is key for an engaged workforce. If employees have at their disposal an avenue for genuine, useful two-way communication with both their peers and their managers, they will feel valued and important and as a result will be more productive and motivated to do their jobs. Feeling ‘in-the-loop’ and part of the bigger picture are important aspects of a healthy workplace culture, and these, among others, are cultivated by transparent and continued workplace communication.
It is no secret that the old, tried and tested methods of internal communication are no longer fit for purpose. This is in large part due to the rising number of remote or ‘deskless’ workers – workers who do not work in an office, often do not have a corporate email address and do not have ready access to a desktop or laptop computer. While noticeboards, emails, newsletters and corporate intranets once adequately served as a way for organisations to reach and communicate with their entire workforce, these tools are now alienating and ignoring what is becoming an increasingly large proportion of the global workforce.
For workplace communication to be truly effective, it needs to be inclusive. It needs to give every member of an organisation – from warehouse workers, to office employees, to senior management – an equal voice, and an equal opportunity to make their opinions and thoughts heard. However, it is worth noting that giving employees a voice, and a platform to share it, is only as effective as the reach of that platform. If workers can voice their opinions but get no feedback or are unable to start a dialogue, it is of little to no value.
Management has a responsibility to be proactive with, and own, new internal communication platforms – the mantra “lead by example” is particularly true here. If employees can’t see that their managers are engaging with internal communication tools, there will be little reason for them to make the effort. Equally, if a manager expects their workers to stay late to work on a project, but then sharply leaves at 5, that is not setting a good example and will only further widen the gap between management and their employees.
There are direct links between effective internal communication and a better workplace culture. CultureIQ found that 86% of employees at strong cultures feel their senior leadership listens to employees1. Research has shown that employees understanding their overall role in their business triples the percentage of those who will work for success2. There is also a myriad of evidence that a healthy, happy and inclusive workplace culture positively affects productivity, business profits and customer satisfaction too – companies with an engaged culture have 30% greater customer satisfaction levels3.
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