As communications professionals, we are in the fortunate position of working closely with Senior Management teams and as such, gaining a unique insight into how these teams develop and nurture the culture across their organisations.
Whether an organisation is entering a period of consultation, or riding a wave of success and recognition, people can feel just as disengaged and the approach taken towards internal communication is just as critical.
There are a number of indicators that a team (or members thereof) may be losing motivation and becoming disillusioned with the company:
· Increased staff sickness / turnover
· Rising recruitment costs
· ‘Cliques’ developing within the workforce
· Poor response rates to staff surveys
· Disgruntled social media posts
Having recognised that there may be some issues, what exactly can be done to resolve them? Here are a few tips we have that may help to avert that potential mutiny…
So many organisations, regardless of size or structure, have little or no strategy in place for internal communications. As with any other area of the business, it is crucial to have aims and objectives for what you are looking to achieve internally. It’s worth remembering that whether you have 5 or 500 people working for your organisation, they will definitely talk about work in their personal lives – what they are likely to say is up to you!
Open (or re-open) the channels of communication
Create regular opportunities to remind employees what it means to be part of your team.
Keep your story alive. Tell your employees how you got your business to where it is today and ensure they understand their role in building its future. If people feel they are relied upon and are contributing to the organisation’s success, then they will feel empowered to go the extra mile, particularly when you’re up against it. Equally, make it clear that dialogue is two-way. Make it easy for staff to feed back, suggest and inform so that it's not just the organisation 'telling' staff and pushing information out.
It’s important that your people know why, not just how, you do things across the organisation. Using consistent language will help to reinforce your desired culture. As a note here, I would also encourage CEOs and Managing Directors to write in a natural, personable way; do not rely on your workforce buying into ‘corporate speak’ – they may not see you every day, so it is nice for them to feel as though they are getting the real you when you do communicate with them.
Vary your methods of communication
We are all different and whilst some people will respond well to attending a staff conference, others would much prefer to peruse a staff newsletter or a well-designed infographic. The key here is to find different ways to communicate – people are far more likely to engage with information if it is provided to them in a format that they find interesting.
Identify ‘brand ambassadors’
It’s inevitable that there will be differing levels of engagement across your workforce, that is only natural. By recognising those individuals that are most dedicated to the vision and values of the company, you can develop a network of internal ambassadors. This network can provide a valuable link between you and the workforce and ensure that the messages you are sending out are being received as intended.
The value of effective communications in building a positive culture across an organisation should not be underestimated. If nothing else, get it right and you have a huge potential sales force at your disposal!