Internal communication refers to the ways you and your colleagues share information, whether in person or remotely, verbally, or in writing. While external communication with customers, clients, and the general public is critical, internal communication is the backbone of a successful business.
According to Gartner, effective internal communication improves productivity by as much as 10% and can increase profits by up to 29%. Avoiding misunderstandings and contradictory messaging also is key to boosting employee morale and satisfaction.
Challenges of internal communication across different channels
Today’s workforce uses a variety of communication channels to stay in touch. In addition to traditional face-to-face conversations and phone calls, your team now likely uses several digital channels to communicate, including email, instant messaging, video conferences, texting, and interactive work platforms like Google Docs and Google Sheets.
It is important to choose the right channel for your communication. To do this, consider the following:
The type of communication you’re engaging in—whether upward, downward, or lateral.
This is often worth considering when choosing which channel to use. For example, it might be fine to send a quick, casual text to a fellow manager or a direct report when you have a question that needs answering. But when asking a CEO for advice, it may be preferable to send a more formal email or even meet face to face.
Your communication style—and that of your audience.
Individuals with personal or intuitive styles, for instance, tend to prefer connecting in person, whereas analytical and functional communicators often respond well to written communications.
Choosing the best channel for a particular task and audience helps maximize the potential efficacy of your message. It means faster responses, fewer misunderstandings, greater levels of engagement, and better relationships between individuals and teams.
Advantages of good internal communication
Here’s what good internal communication facilitates:
- Promotes effective collaboration and project management by preventing information silos
- Improves employee morale by minimizing misunderstandings and empowering employees to ask for what they need to succeed
- Fosters innovation by providing employees with a safe environment in which to speak up and express novel ideas
- Encourages a culture of communication by promoting honesty and transparency
- Streamlines remote communications with guidelines to prevent unintentional overcommunication
Of course, the opposite is also true. Poor internal communication can have a significant detrimental effect on productivity as well as employees’ morale and mental health. This is why improving internal communication must be a top priority for your organization.