Internal communication plans are key when a company wants to transform itself in some way.
For Michael Beer, professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and author of the book “Fit to Compete”, the main reason lies in how the different parts of the company communicate. “There is a kind of silence in many organisations, where no one feels comfortable talking about the truth with their bosses.
This silence kills morale and can lead companies to make major strategic mistakes.
People become so discouraged that they stop bothering to collaborate to improve the organisation.”
This explains why most companies fail in their efforts to transform themselves: while employees at lower levels are aware of many problems affecting the business, they do not pass this on to management or other colleagues for fear that it will not feel good or their job will be in jeopardy.
The way around this is simple: develop an internal communication plan
What is an internal communication plan?
Internal communication is any type of communication that is not work-related or occurs within the organisation.
Communication is often the basis for a healthy relationship, whether in a couple, between 2 friends or in a business.
An internal communication plan is therefore the concrete steps an organisation takes to ensure that internal communication at all levels of the business functions properly.
If you want good internal communication, you have to draw up a strategy and, within that strategy, a plan:
How to define an internal communication plan?
Developing an internal communication plan before a major change in your business or simply to improve the human aspects of your business is a great idea.
To do so, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Encourage bottom-up communication.
- Encourage 1 to 1 communication.
- Encourage 1 to N communication.
- Define communication problems and eliminate them.
Encourage bottom-up communication.
In most companies there is no problem with communication flowing from the top down:
- From management to managers.
- From managers to employees.
The problem lies in the opposite direction, mainly because of the fear with which we started the article.
To avoid this, you have to close the gap between one rung of the company and the others.
The key to this is to demonstrate from the top that every idea is welcome, to foster communication channels accessible to all team members and to create a culture of continuous communication.
The following two points are about the latter:
Encourage 1 to 1 communication.
One of the best ways to start improving internal communication is through 1 to 1 meetings.
At Efficy we do them and I, among others, value them a lot: They take place once a quarter, and in them, each person meets with their line manager to:
- Giving feedback from the other person.
- Receive feedback from yourself.
- Give some ideas for the new quarter.
This technique is super easy to implement and has great benefits.
Encourage 1 to N communication.
1 to 1 communication with your manager is fine, but it is also important to encourage everyone to everyone communication within a company regardless of their job title or team.
Quarterly meetings, brainstorming or cross-collaboration in team and departmental chats are one of the best ways to implement this.
Encouraging each other is also easy.
Define communication problems and eliminate them.
Many times internal communication does not flow not because of a lack of will or culture in the company, but because of a lack of means or because of specific obstacles.
In the case of obstacles, the most common are usually managers who are not very open to dialogue or who have a very dominant approach.
It is very easy for these team members to unintentionally cut off any possibility of communication in the business.
It is important to identify and train them so that they are no longer an obstacle.
The lack of means and channels is even easier to address. In this article we talk about it in depth, but if you want to take away one key piece of advice, this is it: Use a CRM.
It is the most important tool for internal communication in a company.
If you want, you can see it with Efficy right now :).
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