Everyone knows that workforce demographics are in a constant state of change, but one trend that holds true has centered around communication. With each generation, employees are caring more and more about how their employers treat them and speak to them both inside and outside of their immediate work environment.
This can be seen not just through internal branding initiatives and workplace culture, but also in the increasing attention being paid to work/life balance and overall lifestyle quality. People are working much differently today than they were just twenty years ago, and they now care about collaboration, feedback, and transparency more than ever before. All of this aligns with internal communication, which is now front-and-center when it comes to reaching work-related goals on a personal and organizational level.
People Want Purpose
“Why?” is often the favorite question for a child to ask and people never truly seem to grow out of that mindset. At the end of the day, everyone wants to know why they are doing what they are doing. What is their job’s purpose within the bigger picture? More than that, what difference are they making in their community or in society at large?
In the workplace, this mindset can be applied in a very direct way. Employees should know their goals and they should have a concrete plan for reaching them. Employers should help employees in this venture by making sure they feel valued, heard, and as part of a bigger team that’s working towards even bigger goals. Specific feedback and one-on-one interaction should be part of the daily routine.
Employees Want To Be The First To Know
Getting big company news from an external source will not help breed trust and connection amongst employees. For this reason, a fundamental aspect of internal communication is sharing company news with employees before it’s shared with anyone else. Employees want to know that their opinions matter and, even if something is beyond their control, making sure they are informed of it will help them feel “in the loop,” which goes a long way.
Part of keeping employees in the know, of course, is having a way to do so that is quick, direct, and reliable. Employers must establish multiple channels of internal communication that are interactive and able to reach every employee within the company for quick, transparent messaging that doesn’t leave things up to interpretation.
Messages Need To Reach The Right People At The Right Time
Too many companies still follow a top-down structure where information must flow through multiple hierarchies before it reaches its intended recipient. This trickling of information can result in not only delays, but also other issues like disconnection and an increased risk of misinterpretation. It’s not very interactive and can lead to limited feedback, and all of this affects people’s work.
This is another reason why efficient internal communication is a must. Your internal communication system should empower those in middle management to best communicate both with their team’s members and with the leaders above and across from them. Without such a system, middle management will not be able to play their essential role of being a liaison effectively.
Workers Want Transparency for Advancement Opportunities
Good internal communication will do many things to help promote transparency but one way in particular that it can be utilized is to streamline workers’ career paths. Most loyal employees look forward to opportunities for advancement, but most feel that the promotion process is not transparent enough. This can lead to terrible levels of disengagement amongst a once-motivated and dedicated workforce, and it can also lead to higher turnover.
Employees should have clear and direct paths for advancing within the company, which means being able to communicate comfortably and efficiently with their managers and other leaders within their department. If they feel they are not being given the tools or resources they need to advance, and they don’t even know what those tools or resources are, it will be very likely for an employee to feel unvalued and even ignored when they are repeatedly passed up for promotions.
Internal Communication Conquers Crises
When there is a company crisis–be it a controversial tweet that needs to be quickly and tactfully responded to or a product launch gone wrong–companies need to be able to respond fast. The issue is, poor or complex internal communication structures can turn an approval process that should take mere minutes into one that takes days. And, in today’s fast-moving “cancel culture,” that simply won’t slide.
Careful and timely communication will be key to managing crises, including internal ones. When a company has good internal communication and they can handle issues quickly, it will help employees, stakeholders, and customers view incidents as positively or as neutrally as possible. Yet, surprisingly, it has been found that management often communicates with employees less during a crisis–and that can lead to disaster.