Boost your company profitability by creating an internal communications plan
What is the cost of a misunderstanding? In our personal and family lives, misunderstanding can lead to confusion, anger and misery. At work, it costs money. Lots of money, in fact: around $62.4 million per company per year, according to a survey of 400 large corporations in the US and UK. That is money lost when employees do the wrong thing because they don’t fully understand company policies, business processes or job functions.
Poor internal communication is like a dripping tap, easy to ignore but slowly leaking away profits—until the drip adds up to a major loss. Fortunately, the problem is not hard to fix. The same survey found that in companies with leaders who were good communicators, shareholders had 47% higher returns.
Internal communications makes a measurable difference
Why does good communication make such a big difference? There are plenty of reasons: for one thing, it helps to ensure harmony and correct action. It also makes people happier, and that makes them more productive—as much as 12% more productive, according to a study at the University of Warwick.
So, it’s clear that good internal communication has a measurable impact on productivity and profit. Yet very few companies have an internal communication strategy, and even fewer have a long-term strategy. A 2019 survey by a leading UK-based firm found that only 38% of companies had a written internal communication strategy covering more than one year.
This means that if your company is one of the 62% who don’t have a long-term internal communication strategy, the single most effective thing you can do today is start one.
Quick steps to crafting a winning strategy
First, think about what your internal communication needs to achieve. Typical objectives include things like:
– Making sure everyone understands the company’s vision and long-term strategy
– Helping people understand their contribution to the company
– Helping people understand why leaders make the decisions they do
– Encouraging two-way communications between various levels of the company
– Creating a sense of unity in diverse groups
– Helping people to feel more valuable and engaged in their work
– Improving safety and reducing accidents
– Decreasing staff turnover
When you understand what your goals are, do some research to find out how you’re doing so far. Surveys and focus groups are useful, and you might also want to commission an external audit from a communications specialist.
Next, think about audiences: Where are your employees? Are they in offices, travelling, working remotely or working outdoors? How do they communicate with each other? What channels and media do they prefer? With your goals and audiences in mind, you can develop and implement some short-term goals and an action plan.
Don’t forget to measure your progress! Your strategy should include the metrics you are going to use, your targets and a plan for how often you will report. One of the most common complaints about internal communication is a lack of resources—but if you can prove your value, you can make a case for getting a bigger allocation.
Finally, your strategy should be a living thing, especially in a world where communication channels are evolving so fast. Do a review every year at least, update your targets and adapt your tactics. If you are consistent, you should start seeing results within a few months.
Author: Pam Skyes