Improved Leadership. Competitive Advantage.

How much internal communication is enough? From an employee perspective, some need more information than others. Additionally, the desired communication medium varies a great deal from one employee to another—and from one leader to another. Some want face-to-face, others are ok with an email blast.

Regardless how much communication and the amount of information provided, some people will complain they don't get enough. Conversely, some leaders will complain that all they do is communicate... "If people don't know what is going on in our company it is their own fault."

Why bother? A well-informed organization is more nimble, and more responsive to customer and market fluctuations. Some would argue it is more focused on the job at hand, though, due to fewer distractions.

One CEO's perspective was that 85% of his job is communicating the strategy internally to the organization. He starts every meeting, every ‘all-hands' meeting, with a review of the strategy and goals. This makes sense, since some research suggests that 95% of a typical workforce does not understand its organization's strategy.

How much is enough, how much is too much, and what do employees NEED to know? We suggest multiple approaches using multiple mediums. Some internal communication approaches might include:

  1. Newsletter—Send a quarterly company newsletter to employees' homes celebrating a few individual and organizational accomplishments, benefit information changes, etc. Sending to the home engages the employee's entire family.
  2. Town Hall meetings—Take the message to the satellite properties and locations.
  3. Fireside Chat—Webinars & conference calls allowing Q & A.
  4. Monthly Leadership Meetings/Conference Calls—Allow leaders at all levels to stay current with the clear directive to share this message with their teams.

As for the content of these communications, try three categories:

  1. WIIFM? (What's In It For Me?) - People need to know about things that will impact them personally. Benefit changes typically top the list, which normally comes up in Q4 when people have to make elections. People want to feel safe about the things that impact them personally.
  2. They also need to know where the organization is going, and in general terms, how will we get there. People want a view of a positive future. This offers hope.
  3. Employees should be aware of customers' expectations, and how to better meet them. This will link with strategy and provide the "WHY" we do what we do.

To be sure, it takes multiple iterations, multiple methods, and sticking to a communication effort to create and sustain a well-informed organization.

Of course, to learn even more about communication, call Robin Bichy, an ELP founder and principal, at 703.999.5676 to learn more.