How a Lack of Internal Communications Can Affect Your Business

30 January 2014 by Mark Williams

We live in the digital era, which means everybody can express their opinions and thoughts over social media. You can instantly communicate with a pal from the other side of the world, and even do business and develop successful relationships, both personal and professionally. But whilst this is a great benefit for external communication purposes, sometimes it can be harming when it comes to communicating with our internal team. We’ve talked to Dannie Lu Carr from Flaming Poppy about this modern problem among both small and big companies.

Imagine this… you turn up to work, nobody says hello, nobody asks what is going on, and everyone communicates through email and instant messaging. When a client gets in touch, nobody knows what’s happening, people throw responsibility in every direction but their own and then everyone rolls their eyes at one another for being so incompetent.

This may sound ridiculous but many businesses are not too far away from this less-than-idyllic image.

Saying that people should just know how to communicate is like assuming that people should just know how to do their accounting, or cook a gourmet meal. Some people are able to and it simply comes naturally to them but most people need a little help and a some ‘how to’ advice on communication. Particularly internal communications, where office politics, long running cultural patterns and historical blocks can get in the way for people, often unconsciously too.

Internal Communications need to flow between people who are coordinating projects and managers to ensure the success of the business. They also need to flow from those who manage the business to the people they manage. Internal Communications impact on three important areas:

-      Decision making: all levels of management need accurate, timely and complete information to make the best quality decisions about the business

-      Inter-departmental coordination: individual departments need to communicate with each other so that interrelated functions work smoothly together

-      Team information: keeping team members informed about company activities is an essential tool for motivation and retention

Ensure you are doing what you can to support the Internal Communications of your business – break up meeting patterns for example – do a half hour ‘breakfast and blather’ a few times a month, where you all have to exchange general gossip and then do a few ‘coffee and catch up’ afternoons where everyone shares what is going on in their role – the good, the bad, the ugly. Ensure the layout of your workplace encourages rather than discourages conversation. Listen. Ask. Respond. Divulge. You have to remember to do it consciously though. All communication needs to be checked into consciously so as not to not die away.

How do you manage Internal Communications within your organisation? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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