There are many factors that are creating internal communication challenges, especially for enterprise-level companies.
From an organizational perspective, many businesses really only communicate in a top-down manner. When that happens, there’s often a real lack of employee engagement and an overload of irrelevant content.
When people are getting way too many emails and too much information that they don’t care about, they tend to ignore it. In fact, we see it all the time with organizations telling us, “We don’t understand the issue, our leadership team communicates with the company every day.”
In this example, the problem isn’t that there’s a lack of communication. It’s that the type of communication isn’t working.
The problem isn’t that there’s a lack of communication. It’s that the type of communication isn’t working
On the technical side, everybody wants to communicate and consume content in different ways and more and more, they want to do it on their own devices in their own time. This is something that many organizations struggle with because they’re not using the right tools to meet their employees where they are.
When companies face communication challenges like this, you’ll often see departmental silos where certain departments aren't communicating with other departments effectively.
There are also generational divides where a more senior person that's been in the workforce for a long time is used to do something one way, the younger generation is looking to do something another way.
The biggest challenge with individuals is giving people the motivation to share knowledge. Your team needs to feel confident that what they’re sharing is good quality, useful to others, easy to digest, and impactful.
People tend to worry that others might not really care about what they have to say and so they’ll err on the side of not sharing anything at all.
Overcoming Internal Communication Challenges
Do these challenges sound familiar?
Well, you’re not alone. All of these factors create quite a hurdle and it’s something that many organizations struggle with.
So, what should you communicate? Where do you share? Where should people go to look for it? How can you make sure that what you’re communicating resonates with your team?
The first step, and perhaps the most obvious, is implementing the right technology (tools) that will get a wide user adoption, are easy to use, and gives people the flexibility to communicate how they are most comfortable. That applies to both creating new content and receiving it. Remove barriers wherever possible.
It’s also important that whatever communication platform you use is searchable. You need to have a way to catalog your information so people can quickly find whatever is most meaningful to them. For example, if you’ve got a Sales Enablement project, the platform you use needs to have some kind or tag or search functionality so people can sift through and find only the Sales Enablement content.
Educating your employees on how to effectively communicate is also critically important – and oftentimes ignored. Some people think they're being effective in their communication, but that’s usually not the case. So, it’s a matter of providing a support system to help the team effectively communicate, whether it’s providing structure, prompts, or simply coaching.
Here’s another tactic for improving internal communication: make it fun! Gamify the process, reward people for hitting milestones, and maybe even award prizes for participating. If communication isn’t something people enjoy, they’re probably not going to do it with much enthusiasm.
The Importance of Peer-to-Peer Communication
The more people you can get to participate, the more effective your internal communication will be in driving your business forward. It has to fall on everyone – not just a director of internal communications, marketing manager, or HR representative.
From the CEO to the receptionist and everyone in between, every employee needs to be involved and has to understand that it’s up to each of them to drive internal communication.
The challenge, of course, is still to provide structure and guidance so that what’s being shared is clean, concise, and meaningful narratives. What you don’t want to happen is inconsistency in message!
In fact, studies show that the average employee spends 2.5 hours per day searching for information. That’s a lot of time, right?
The average employee spends 2.5 hours per day searching for information.
But, if you’re more proactive in communicating in a clear and efficient way, that time can be cut down dramatically.
In order to truly improve your internal communication, you first have to be honest with yourself about where you stand now as an organization. Acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses is critical.
Then, you need to build a plan, have the right tools in place, and have a little bit of drive. You’re going to hit roadblocks and meet resistance – that’s okay. Keep going!
And the best part is, you don’t have to do it alone. Our team has been helping companies like yours overcome these exact challenges with some incredible results.