In today’s workforce, strong internal communication is more important than ever. For one thing, the number of remote workers is rising faster than ever. For another, exciting shifts in employee demographics promise an influx of innovation and creativity for the connected workplace. In addition, employees who don’t feel engaged at work are more likely to produce subpar work or leave an organization — contributing to the $550 billion dollar productivity loss in the United States every year.
Knowing the importance of strong internal communications, why is it that some companies still haven’t incorporated IC into their corporate strategy? There are several reasons — from stalled technological innovation, to a traditional top-down organizational structure, to simply not seeing the benefits — why companies might lack a clear internal communications strategy. Let’s take a closer look:
In a traditional top-down organizational structure, the corporate management and CEO make all the decisions — then relay this information down the chain of command. Though it’s always important for business leaders to make key decisions to move companies forward, this top-down approach can leave very little opportunity for the free exchange of ideas in a business.
Unfortunately, this management model means that leaders miss out on valuable input and diverse opinions from members of their team. Not only does a system of open communication help employees feel more engaged in a company’s mission, but employee feedback, input, and creativity plays an integral part in propelling a company forward into innovative new ideas.
In the last few years, rapid innovations in technology have swiftly rendered well-established modes of internal communication obsolete. Because keeping up with the latest in tech isn’t necessarily a priority for every business, some corporations are still making do with outdated modes of communication — causing their internal communication efforts to stagnate.
For example, email communication was initially considered a groundbreaking improvement over paper memos and countless phone calls in the workplace. Now, however, new technology has highlighted email’s failings: on average, office workers spend 2.5 hours a day reading and responding to emails. And it’s no wonder, since many receive an average of 200 emails a day. Streamlined office chat technology — a key aspect of an employee intranet — improves efficiency. Unfortunately, some companies still haven’t made the leap into improved technology.
Let’s face it: internal communications requires strategy, time, and a budget. Many companies simply don’t invest in IC because they’re unaware of the positive impacts of a strong internal communications strategy. Maybe they’re focused on other aspects of their company’s growth, like developing a product line or aggressive marketing efforts. For these corporate strategists, it may be useful to look at the benefits of internal communications policies:
Highlighting the benefits of internal communication can provide a compelling argument for change — and encourage corporate leadership to invest time and energy into a strong IC policy.
Internal communication, like every other aspect of corporate strategy, requires a budget in order to be successful. This can present a struggle for some businesses, especially when resources are tightly allocated. And many businesses simply don’t allocate the resources for internal communication.
In a survey of 700 HR and communications departments conducted by Newsweaver, it was found that the average budget for internal communications was $185,000 for companies with 500 or more employees. Compared to the millions of dollars poured in to marketing efforts by these same companies, it’s clear that many businesses simply don’t budget for IC.
In many companies, it’s natural for corporate leadership to focus exclusively on external communication. After all, without engaging with future and current prospects and clients, the company won’t experience growth. There’s a clear error in this line of thinking — especially since companies need strong internal communication in order to have strong external communication.
A strong business needs to present a united front to customers. This means that sales, marketing, and customers service teams all need to have consistent messaging. Maintaining a strong internal communication policy helps provide employees in every department with the information they need to present this customized and consistent messaging that’s so crucial to external communication efforts.
In some cases, companies’ internal communication efforts have stalled for one simple reason: they weren’t seeing results. And for companies with tight budgets to begin with, a perceived failed attempt at a strong internal communications strategy can result in the entire attempt being shut down. Though reasons for IC failure vary considerably, here are some of the major issues companies face:
Whatever the reason for the lack of internal communication in corporate strategy, one thing is clear — it’s important for companies to realign their priorities to include a strong IC strategy. Doing so can bolster employee engagement, increase retention rates, align external and internal communication, foster innovation, and clarify a company’s mission.
The good news? It’s never too late to implement a functional employee intranet — or strengthen the strategy you already have in place. At IC Thrive, it’s our goal to empower corporate leadership to develop and maintain a strong internal communications strategy. If you want to learn more, please feel free to reach out to us.