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Internal communication in business: barriers, benefits and strategies to consider

How cohesive internal communication strategies drive company success

By the team at SlackMarch 29th, 2024

Internal communication is the lifeblood of any organization. Without a proper communication structure in place, employees can end up double-booking themselves, overlooking critical tasks, and letting damaging mistakes slip by unnoticed. To keep your team on task and budget, good internal communication is key.

Internal communication binds teams together and keeps everyone moving in the same direction. However, many companies have trouble formulating and implementing effective strategies for internal office communications.

Here’s how to improve your business’s communication practices to boost efficiency, productivity and morale.

The role of internal communication

Strong internal communications help keep any workplace running like a well-oiled machine. Your company must have good communication processes in place to ensure that projects flow smoothly and everyone has the information they need.

To enhance transparency and promote team-building companywide, internal communications should be a top priority.

What is internal communication?

Internal office communication encompasses all forms of work-related discussions and announcements that occur within a company. Such communications can take many forms, including:

  • Email
  • Business messaging
  • Phone calls
  • Meetings, whether in-person, remote or hybrid
  • Internal newsletters
  • Communication via an intelligent productivity platform like Slack

Why is internal communication important?

Internal communication matters to all employees in a company, regardless of their title or level. Good communication practices benefit the whole organization by streamlining operations, boosting efficiency, building employee trust, and making the most of everyone’s time, budget and materials.

At the managerial level, a strong internal communication strategy is critical to keep teams on track, improve project management, cut down on human errors and promote bonding among teammates.

Finally, for individual employees, internal communication provides necessary information, determines guidelines, clarifies company activities and updates, and gives opportunities to provide both positive and critical feedback.

Developing internal communication processes

So, we’ve established why internal communications are important—but how do you design and implement a good internal communication strategy?

Start with consistency. Your company’s internal communications should follow a standard structure and process that everyone understands. Of course, exact details may vary according to each team’s and individual’s needs, but business leaders can follow these general best practices for an effective approach to internal communications:

  • Gather feedback about your company’s current internal communication processes from both managers and front-line employees
  • Leverage the feedback you receive with a focus on solving any problems identified
  • Carefully assess potential solutions to determine whether they fit your company’s budget and culture

Overcoming internal communication challenges

The feedback you gather from your employees and managers will highlight the unique communication challenges facing your organization, but internal communication for businesses tends to present certain common challenges as well. Consider whether any of the following may apply to your company.

Style differences

Some employees are more responsive than others, and everyone has unique strengths, improvement areas and preferences when it comes to the various types of workplace communication.

Well-communicated rules and standards can help in this department. For example, managers might require team members to post daily status updates on their respective projects in a specific Slack channel. Or they might set the expectation that all team members read monthly update emails from the CEO but that the company’s weekly newsletter is optional.

Audience engagement

Effective communication needs engagement, which can be particularly challenging for presentations, town halls and other types of one-way communication. The person leading the presentation must strike a balance between casual and professional, keeping things serious and on track without becoming boring and causing people to tune out.

Engage an audience by speaking plainly but professionally and using plenty of visuals to break up wordy documents.

Too many (or too few) communication channels

Certain messages are best conveyed through certain channels of communication. For example, employee reviews and other critical discussions usually warrant face-to-face meetings, while a simple Slack message would probably suffice for a casual status update.

Synchronous communication works well in situations where someone might need to ask lots of questions or share their screen to walk through a process. One-off questions that aren’t time-sensitive, however, can be addressed async.

Your internal communication strategy should provide channels for both synchronous and asynchronous communication to accommodate all types of messages. On the other hand, too many options can lead to inefficiency, confusion and lost information.

Provide clear guidance to employees on which channels they should use for which types of internal communication.

Improving internal communications in the workplace

A poor internal communication system can lead to various issues, such as:

  • Mistaken assumptions
  • Delayed projects
  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Redundant efforts
  • Employee dissatisfaction

To avoid the pitfalls of ineffective communication, implement a system that helps hone employees’ internal communication skills and facilitates feedback on improvement areas. Determine and follow a set of best practices, and leverage the technology at your fingertips to keep communications airtight.

Internal communication skills may not come naturally to everyone on your team. Consider bringing in an expert to host a course or two to help get the entire workforce up to speed.

Most importantly, gather feedback regularly to track how the quality of communication evolves at your company, and refine your approach as needed.

Best practices for internal communications

As your company develops its internal communication strategy, focus on the following best practices:

 

  • Make communication part of the standard workflow
  • Organize websites and platforms in a coherent, user-friendly way
  • Designate different channels for different types of information to make data and answers easier to find
  • Standardize the frequency, style and tone of official internal communications
  • Encourage interaction and collaboration throughout your organization

Tools and technology to manage internal communications

Set your internal communications plan in motion with Slack, the AI-powered platform for work. Slack integrates with your existing tech stack to:

  • Connect employees’ work to the company’s broader mission
  • Make content more engaging with media like videos and podcasts
  • Organize your communications in clearly defined Slack channels
  • Increase participation in various feedback initiatives
  • Publicly recognize employees who go the extra mile

Tracking and refining your strategy

Like any business initiative, implementing an internal communication strategy should not be a “set it and forget it” proposition. You’ll want to continually evaluate your approach and make adjustments over time as needed.

This means gathering input and data from a variety of sources. Regularly solicit feedback from both employees and managers. Audit your company’s communication platforms to analyze patterns and identify sticking points. Use click-through rates and other metrics to determine whether official communications are getting through to their intended audiences. And be ready to make a change if a particular part of your strategy isn’t working as expected.

Level up your internal communication strategy with Slack

Communication is the beating heart of any company, and internal communication holds your team members and projects together. Without a cohesive internal comms strategy, mistakes and loss of productivity are virtually inevitable.

To strengthen your company’s internal communications game, focus on practical skills, develop clear guidelines, sensibly organize materials, and reduce context switching with the right tech tools and integrations.

If you’re ready for the best platform for internal communications, give it a spin or contact Slack’s sales department for more information.

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