Managing Internal Communication During a Crisis!
“Without good #communication, leaders make decisions in a vacuum – via @RobertSher”
Shouldn’t then, internal communications be treated just as important as increasing sales? And in the time of the COVID-19 crisis, internal communication unites your employees even though they are working remotely; it is the backbone of the organization.
Before we go ahead, let us relook at why it is so important and what internal communication is.
Internal communication is all about promoting effective communications among people within an organization. It involves producing and delivering messages and campaigns on behalf of management, as well as facilitating a dialogue with the people who make up the organization. This can mean anything from announcing a new policy or informing people of an upcoming event, to conducting an org-wide engagement or culture audit.
Some companies may not have the resources to invest in planning an internal communications strategy, while others have planned a strategy but might not have the capacity or tools necessary to maintain it. And that’s understandable. But if you take a look at the reasons why internal communication is critical, you’ll soon find that it’s imperative for the health of your organization.
United we stand, divided we fall! You must have heard this famous aphorism. It’s pretty much true in the current work environment too. Your company can never achieve success if all different departments and teams are nurturing different cultures! Internal communication unifies the organization and binds them to a common culture and cause. Improved internal communication can also increase employee engagement, build stronger teams, and enhance the competitiveness of your company. Effective internal communication practices help you increase productivity, build a better workplace, and reduce day-to-day conflict between team members.[Text Wrapping Break]
It is imperative to develop smooth and hassle-free channels of internal communication and approachability in your team/teams. If your workplace has informal communication, you will see that information can be distorted in plenty of ways. Distorted information flow can hurt a company’s environment more than anything else. Word of mouth can easily be misinterpreted and can create misunderstandings. For Example, if important messages from the management are communicated via word of mouth, the information flow is distorted which can create confusion and hurt a company’s environment more than anything else. Word of mouth can easily be misinterpreted and can create misunderstandings. Therefore, ensure an internal communication system that is formal and flexible.
5 Reasons why internal communication is important especially during the lockdown:
1. Internal communication keeps your people informed
We’ll start with the most obvious reason why internal communication is important – It’s the usual situation we are in. The workforce is disbursed and now more than ever there is a need to crank up communication. Keeping your people informed of upcoming events, important news or policy changes, engagement initiatives and updates on the overall situation due to COVID-19 is the priority. Good and strong communication helps create a sense of transparency and openness that people appreciate and can rely on.
People do not enjoy ambiguity and especially in a work from home situation, it is lethal for business health. They crave information about the company. They eagerly await the end of the lockdown and further updates on how their organization plans to tackle this difficult period. They also look forward to tips and pointers on how the business will continue in this scenario and how it will impact their work and contributions to the organization. Good internal communications are all about getting the word out to everyone, preferably in a way that gets them involved and invested in the bigger picture and clears their concerns about the company, business scenario or even their working contribution in the face of this economic slowdown.
2. Internal communication helps build out your organization’s culture
Establishing an inclusive and productive culture is a task for every concerned organization. Even with the workforce all under the same roof, it is a challenge to cultivate a culture. Therefore times like the current lockdown demands even more fluidic channels of communication because everyone is disbursed and needs to connect to a common community. When in office, communication is easy via multiple public forums such as notice boards, internal magazines etc. However, in recent times, these mediums are rendered ineffective since they demand physical presence. However owing to the COVID-19 situation, employees cannot all assemble under one roof and the only promising presence is a virtual one. Even then, internal communication needs to be effective enough to communicate a strong culture or it might end up getting lost.
In a lot of ways, the primary role of internal communications is to help make your company culture manifest. After all, each announcement, message, news update, CEO blog article, etc. play a role in how your people interpret the cultural landscape of your organization: what it stands for, who it values, why its mission matters. Your company culture is the sum of its parts, and good internal communications take this into account.
Culture should be at the forefront of your internal communication strategy when uniting the workforce that is disbursed. Your culture should also be able to guide your internal communications and vice versa.
3. Internal communication helps keep people calm in times of crisis
Things don’t always go as planned or as expected. Sometimes situational crises force us to operate in unconventional ways. This is when people need internal communications most. Announcements of impending structural changes, updates on further action, updates that pacify and calm people are the need of the hour! They need to be treated with extra care because the morale of the organization and its business continuity is at stake. Internal communication becomes critical when trying to soothe the overall sentiment during a crisis!
Being transparent about policies and processes, how the situation is being handled and what the organization expects of employees are all communications that require a delicate tone and complete transparency. People will have questions and the way you answer those questions will remain in your people’s minds for a long time to come.
Use your internal communication channels to create a setting for these difficult times. Ensure that you are always around to solve a query or answer any question tossed in the public forum. It creates an atmosphere of openness and caring that can help sustain your organization through tough times.
4. Internal communication creates a channel for feedback, debate, and discussion
Internal communication isn’t a one-way street. Good communication flows both ways. As important as it is to give feedback to your employees, it’s also crucial to teach your team members to give feedback. Feedback becomes essential and imperative when working remotely. It is important to discuss, take stock and communicate effectively on the work or projects that teams are working on. The key to this step is an open and healthy discussion that encourages dialogue between teams and individuals. When your employees understand their role and expectations, they’ll work for success. To promote open communication at your company, your communications strategy needs to create room for feedback, pushback, and public debate of issues and ideas. This is how collaboration happens and it’s often not pretty.
Internal communication can be harnessed to create a channel for these tough discussions. This can happen in several ways: employee polls, a link to an internal discussion forum, an event announcement to encourage feedback and criticisms, or even an org-wide invitation to debate a particular goal or project.
The same goes for feedback. Listen to your people and regularly ask for their feedback. That way, if an update or post doesn’t go the way you’d planned, for example, you can learn how to avoid making mistakes in the future. Good internal communication is always finding a way to improve and better serve the organization’s people.
5. Internal communication gets your people engaged
ENGAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES, EVEN WHILE WORKING REMOTELY!!
This can’t emphasize this enough: creating a two-way conversation should be one of your main goals with your internal communications strategy. It’s the difference between boring top-down messaging (probably in the form of mass emails that no one reads) and thoughtful, interactive conversations that promote engagement. Organize team gatherings on zoom, play games or indulge in interactive sessions over messenger. Make sure your workforce interacts with each other, without a formal agenda!
Engagement can mean several things: asking thoughtful questions at an All Hands event, commenting on an important news update posted on your company’s intranet, sharing what your team is working on to the rest of the company. Good internal communications create space for these small yet meaningful acts. Again, it’s not just about communicating ideas as much as it is encouraging communication among your people.
So there you have it! Why effective internal communication is the key to a healthy, engaged organization. If your current internal communications strategy isn’t being used in a way that caters to the current situational needs, it’s time to pause, reboot and reset! Using an effective intranet medium is a good start for implementing your messaging more effectively, and goes into detail about how to turn your top-down messaging into a two-way conversation. Want to know how it’s done,take a demo with Buzzz today!