A new stress on internal communication

Tell your employees to work smarter by speaking in one voice, because it is essential for every business. Here are four things about internal communication that will help your business.

28 Oct 2015 | By K Radhakrishnan & Suresh Verghis

Every successful business needs excellent internal communication flowing through its veins to keep the body of the organisation alive, active and healthy.
An internet search throws up several definitions of ‘Internal Communication’ as follows:
“…a business imperative for companies seeking to stand out... creating the kind of culture and employee engagement, that creates a competitive edge… sharing of information within an organization for business purposes… facilitating connections and conversations within your organization... the transmission of information between organizational members or parts of the organization... across all levels and organizational units of an organization... communications that occur inside the organisation are all internal communications… and so on.
In our experience, both as practising managers, and in working with our clients, the single most powerful approach to internal communications within organisations is to regard it as: “all conversations that are made within an organisation”. Any type of communication, whether thought, spoken or written words need to be on the basis of the company’s values and customer-centricity. The more this is achieved, the faster the whole team moves towards a values-based, customer-centric internal communication.
The dream of any business owner or manager is to have an organisation or team that speaks the same language and performs their responsibilities in a streamlined manner. This is precisely what is achieved through a process called Internal Communication. Employees and teams are trained to think, speak and write (or email) on the basis of the company’s stated values and its customer-centric approach. One voice.
A unified and coordinated system ensures that all messages and conversations happen within the company fully aligned to customer focus and organisational values.
Whether it is a sales executive communicating customer requirements with the production supervisor or a receptionist taking an important message from the customer for the director, all employees can be oriented towards the goal of thinking ‘customer’ and modifying his or her response to a situation (thinking), response in verbal form (speaking) and response in written form (such as email). Irrespective of the situation, employees will be able to ask themselves at the start of any response, whether the response is aligned to the company’s customer focus and values. This is an important investment for the future of the organisation.
When we talk to our clients we are often told that there are some good performers who have a lot of experience in their team. These senior employees have grown with the company and remained loyal to the management over the years. They are regarded highly and have ‘saved’ the company in many crisis situations. With growth and expansion of the company, new employees are also added. In the course of time, the closeness and proximity that the senior employees have developed with the management may possibly yield other side-effects. They may tend to feel alienation or reduced management attention on them, simply because the company has grown rapidly. There may possibly feel an insecurity amongst them. They could start to resist other more recent employees and can sometimes block their progress or work.
Hence the other significant benefit in the process of streamlining all internal communication is this: it brings uniformity of communication. It reduces ego clashes and insecurity feelings. It ensures that all employees, senior and junior, longstanding and recent entrants, are all aligned to the company’s customer-orientation and values.
How do we then bring all activities within the organisation in a streamlined customer-centric manner that will demonstrate the company’s values both internally and externally?
This is done by orienting employees and teams through personal interviews and training sessions and examining task by task, its effectiveness, bringing in better role clarity and ensuring all roles have a customer-centric nature. Appropriate education is a must in this situation. It is a journey that may take a few months but will yield proven results.
Here are the four key things that successful leaders do to ensure improved internal communications
Define your company’s customer-centric approach and educate the whole team.
Train all staff on Thought, Word and Written aspects of such communication.
Empower all key staff to communicate with appropriate customer-values.
Walk the talk: Most importantly ensure you follow-up and monitor consistently.