Focusing on Internal Communication is Key to Organisational Success
Internal communication can be defined as the overarching transmission of information within an organisation. It takes place across all levels and units of an organisation and can flow both up and down the organisational structures.
Communicating with frontline staff can prove to be challenging as they often find themselves in environments where diverse and ongoing demands are made upon their time. This is in stark contrast to the traditional office environment, where communication channels have long been tested, retested and then later established as the norm.
Many businesses may still have internal communication policies and processes that focus solely on the traditional office setting, leaving them ill-prepared for the unfolding future of internal communication, particularly with frontline employees.
Frontline workers are significantly impacted by a lack of internal communication channels because the mobility and flexibility demanded of them by their work responsibilities mean traditional approaches do not support their needs. Without efficient team communication and direct access to the leadership, these employees frequently run the risk of feeling disconnected from their organisation.
Outmoded Administrative and Communication Methods
Combating the ever-present frontline disconnect
As a result of working in remote or non-traditional settings, frontline employees are more vulnerable to the effects of antiquated administrative and communication procedures. These outdated processing systems further exacerbate a disconnection forming between workers and the company and can negatively impact several organisational aspects.
- Decreased productivity
- Lower employee engagement
In order to combat these effects, businesses must look to the future of internal communication channels and develop supporting policies that will allow internal comms to assist in fostering increased employee engagement.
Frontline Engagement: The Future of Internal Communication
If you want to keep staff informed, internal communication is essential
The COVID-19 pandemic along with changing employee expectations of the work environment (which started before the pandemic) have all led to a fracturing of internal communication systems. With some employees working from home and others still on the frontlines, the importance of keeping staff in the know, regardless of their work setting, should be a top priority for business leaders.
Frontline employees, more than most, have limited time to keep up with company communications and updates, the comms channels available to them should therefore be easily accessible.
Furthermore, frontline staff generally spend much less time in ‘traditional’ work settings as their roles demand mobility or physical presence in remote locations. These factors are playing an important role in driving changes in the future of internal communication. Without effective communication, employee involvement in a company becomes limited, hampering the reinforcement and understanding of organisational values, policies and goals.
The future of internal communication depends on the willingness of organisations to develop and promote effective measures that encourage not only employee engagement but clear and efficient messaging between different company departments, as well as furthering organisational goals and values.
Employees are certainly more accustomed to using technology and this can be a positive when it comes to creating a connected frontline workforce. However, it should be noted that with ineffective or otherwise lacklustre digital solutions, organisations may find that their frontline employees are still left in the dark when it comes to engaging with company values and communicating internal issues. This will definitely be a backward step from delivering on the potential technology has to improve the future of internal communications.
In response, businesses wanting to improve employee communication should look to leverage digital technologies that provide frontline workers with flexible and impactful communication channels. Through a centralised, well-featured and functional digital solution, organisations can promote both internal communication and employee engagement.
Key Internal Communication Trends
Factors impacting on the future of internal communication
Several trends today highlight the importance of internal communication and employee engagement.
- Multi-channel Communication
As a result of the differences between frontline and traditional employees, organisations are seeking to utilise a wide of range of channels such as SMS, mobi and apps for frontline workers, intranets for headquarters staff and other channels for managers.
- Email Remains Key
While some have believed that email communication would be absent from the future of internal communications, it remains an active solution for a multitude of organisations, leaning into the multi-channel aspect for internal communications.
- Preventing Information Overload
Following the pandemic situation, companies are looking to combat the overload of information that has become a ‘near-new-normal’, relieving pressure on both frontline and office staff.
- Organisation Leaders and Communication
Business leaders, particularly CEOs, are becoming more visible and conveying very clear statements and messages on social media networks and internal communication platforms.
- Investing in Technology
Organisations are beginning to consider how to properly connect with employees, both frontline and traditional, making sure they feel valued and recognised through effective digital solutions. The above trends are also clear signals that the future of internal communications will be multi-faceted.
The Future of Internal Communication: How Organisations Should Move Forward
Focusing on clear and effective communication
Providing channels for communication with a focus on frontline team members, while continuing to advance and promote business values should be the primary goal for companies looking to solidify the future of internal communication within their organisation.
Furthermore, companies should additionally focus on key aspects of their digital solution:
- Centralisation and Accessibility
When a digital solution is used to combat internal communication issues, it is crucial that no loose ends or oversights exist when it comes to how the solution is accessed by employees. Business leaders must strive to toward a creation of a central channel accessible and usable for all employees.
- Software Accessibility
When selecting a software solution, businesses must take care to ensure that the digital application will promote communication and not hinder, disrupt or otherwise discourage frontline employees from relaying information and concerns.
Businesses across the globe are taking measures to combat improve internal communication. Through the use of digital technology solutions, it is possible to limit the disconnect between frontline personnel and company leadership, while simultaneously promoting clear and effective communication.
To prepare your organisation for the future of internal communication, talk to an employee engagement expert.