Internal communication errors that can be avoided
Internal communications oversight are the bane of every manager. The way you came home and found that ‘all of you’ thought the other was making dinner tonight.
A situation that one would like to avoid as often as possible, that is clear.
With so many things to do, there is always something that can be overlooked by anyone.
Among all of the regular duties of a manager, we’ll look at a few specific areas where “not to fail” is a significant asset.
Failure to do so could slide into challenging situations, sometimes with dire consequences, perhaps even as far-reaching as the end customer and the bottom line.
So why not spend more time controlling this important aspect to stay one step ahead of the curve.
The most noticeable failures with regard to internal communication are:
- Information obesity and density
- Alienation from team members
- Recognize severity (leads to loss of opportunity costs, legal consequences)
- Bad follow-up phase
But how big is the problem?
To quote Gallup CEO Jim Clifton from the Gallup State of the American Workplace Report …
“Like Six Sigma and Lean Management before, this transformation [read on] will lead to historic leaps in productivity and change your company, America and the world. “
- An amazing 16% of employees are actively logged out!
- It is also said that only a third of the employees are active at work and the rest, that is an overwhelming 51%, … “just there”.
- The bottom line is that 67% of the workforce are NOT actively involved in getting better at work.
NOTE: Gallup developed State of the American Workplace using data collected in 2015 and 2016 from more than 195,600 US employees through the Gallup Panel and Gallup Daily Tracking, and from more than 31 million respondents through the Q12 customer database Gallup.
Those are seriously worrying numbers if you ask me.
Now that we’ve established the severity of the problem at hand, let’s move on to
Internal communication errors that should be left out and why.
Companies will have to adapt to the changing needs of the modern workforce, or they will struggle to attract and retain great employees, and therefore customers.
Not simple, keep it structured.
Failure to follow a concise structure can result in the information being overlooked by the reader and / or not being stored. This means that the information is tight.
- After an hour, people retain less than half of the information presented.
- After a day, people forget more than 70 percent of what they learned in training.
- After six days, people forget 75 percent of the information even about their education.
No successful manager would ever say that “forgetting is only the learner’s fault”.
The way information is presented can either hinder or stimulate memory. People often forget because it was never really learned whether it was their mosquito-sized attention span or unclear messages that were to blame.
This leads to dissatisfaction between employer and employee, which consequently leads to hurdles in achieving goals.
How do we approach this problem?
- Use infographics instead of simple paragraphs whenever possible.
If possible, use infographics or explanatory videos instead of plain text.
By creating infographics using data visualization tools or an HR video template, you can provide your team members with helpful information and ensure their attention in a fun way.
- Repeat important information at least three times.
Just like in marketing, recurring messages generate a higher retention rate. If we view employees as corporate consumers, we need to address them similarly and sincerely.
- Have two-way communication with simple surveys / quizzes.
To keep the reader interested and increase engagement. They are not just part of the solution to learn how many people are reading the information. You can address readers with a quiz or a test. It’s a playful, fun way to communicate with each other and learn how much / what information readers are keeping.
- Use a consistent structure and formatting.
So readers know where to find information when they need to refer to it. Digital asset managers or file organizers will be useful to you here – nothing is more confusing than having a “different voice” with every newsletter.
Make sure to put someone in charge, possibly even a designer, who looks more like that perspective: readability, likability, and of course, click-through rates.
- Use offline communication tools like SMS and IMs to increase open rates.
SMS and instant messages (cellular and not internet) have an amazing 90% open rate (most of them under 3 seconds). Use this opportunity to minimize the more extensive information and give your employees a little insight.
2. Do not increase employee engagement beyond the scope of the work.
Better internal communication not only gives employees a stronger sense of belonging, but also enables managers to stay in better contact with their team.
Internal communication is the springboard for successful external communication and thus overall sales.
We have to optimize this as early as possible. The overall feeling about their workplace, employer, their colleagues and even their future in the company is at stake!
Do not believe me. Here are some stats from Nick Jordan at Contentdistribution.com
The increase in internal communication corresponds directly to the company’s target achievement.
Despite the informal nature of internal communications, it is recommended that a significant change (or mindset) be made in the organization. Team building activities are a great channel to focus your efforts.
We often see that internal and external communications are very different depending on how much attention they are given and how much people feel responsible for it.
How do we encourage open internal communication?
- Design and deliver multiple but easy to use types of communication, including visual communication.
- Take part in regular surveys and integrate responsibility structures into corporate culture and ethics.
- Approach performance management in a way that motivates employees and offer benefits / perks that attract and increase retention.
- Enable more flexible working hours in the office or encourage work from home. While maintaining strong lines of communication.
- Build on personal responsibility and shared responsibility.
- Improve clarity and communication for employees who work in multiple teams.
3. Don’t emphasize the severity or the consequences.
No responsible manager or employee can be a passive spectator anymore. Nobody can point a finger anymore.
Inherent to the word team, you know.
Instead, we have to take the situation into our own hands in order to transform ourselves into active participants and “our job” into an exceptional workplace that is characterized by respect and mutual trust.
Do we remember the Volkswagen emissions scandal, also known as Dieselgate?
So far, 3 CXOs have resigned or been suspended, even charged with fraud and conspiracy.
Previous Cost: $ 33.3 billion in fines, penalties, financial compensation, and repurchase costs.
The EU is still to follow (where most of the vehicles involved are located).
And of course the stock lost a third within the first few days after the scandal surfaced.
Amazingly, shortly before the outbreak of the crisis, Volkswagen had a significantly higher brand image among its employees than any of its competitors.
All employees who were closely related to the malfunction were summoned and questioned unequivocally. Maybe they were all asking the same question.
Who’s to blame?
Was it a manager’s decision to proceed with the non-compliant parts while the engineers warned them, or did the engineers themselves hide facts?
In the company’s defense, since it went to great lengths to try and “communicate”, the engineers were solely responsible for the deception!
The exit not only damaged consumer confidence, it also severely affected relationships with their “scapegoat employees”.
How do we try to minimize such incidents?
Neurolinguistic programming could be a good place to start. NLP is not a rocket science; it uses everyday language, but in a very deliberate way, to suggest something to the mind.
NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder of the University of California to treat mental illness.
The art of neurolinguistic programming uses language that subtly trick audiences into doing things they wouldn’t otherwise have done.
4. Don’t keep track of what’s happening.
Here you are with freshly implemented cultural ramifications, improved lines of communication, and even timely social gatherings.
But your efforts need to be translated into numbers to justify whether or not the overall internal communications improvement strategy is going in the right direction.
According to the Using Internal Communication to Move the Business Needle case study, proper follow-ups lead to better employer-employee relationships.
They make them feel better overall about the two-way relationship, with an increased sense of worth and appreciation.
How do we go after?
By asking yourself and your Sample Space these few questions about the implemented changes …
- Has the organization acclimatized?
- Is it working and is it being used optimally?
- Is it able to provide an acceptable level of performance? (Quality, quantity, convenience, continuity)
- Will it continue to work at full capacity during the defined period?
- How quickly do we get employees on board?
- Does this have any negative effects on the environment?
- Who is responsible for quality control?
Improving internal communication by implementing new standards, culture and tools is a whole project.
Therefore, project tracking tools can help you reduce administration and reporting burdens by ten times and channel your energy into decision-making more effectively.
Don’t implement all changes in a single day!
To improve overall resilience and support critical customer services, you sometimes have to start over.
But making all the planned changes at once has its downsides.
- You can’t trace which changes actually produce more results.
- Employees may not be able to accept all changes and are too overwhelmed.
- Too much time would be wasted spreading a simple idea.
Try to be simple with the implementation, monitor carefully and closely, get feedback on the new methods and keep improving!