13 ways to quickly improve internal communications
Internal communications joins the dots. It connects every member of an organization and helps keep everyone up to speed. But it’s not without its challenges.
Comms leaders have to quiet the noise while amplifying key messages. They need to share updates consistently. And find tech tools that make communication engaging for employees.
In frontline organizations, there are additional communication challenges to tackle.
Frontline teams often work disparately. Employees can’t rely on in-person meetings for the latest updates. Nor do they have access to a desktop computer or even a company email address.
Finding reliable ways to reach these employees – that go beyond a messy noticeboard – is vital for business success.
With these challenges in mind, we’re going to look at the ways comms leaders can quickly and effectively improve internal communications. Let’s dive right in.
Why is it important to improve your internal comms?
Poor internal communication harms your business and its bottom line. When leaders, teams, and individuals fail to communicate well, every area of operations is affected.
Poor communication also has an effect on employees. Staff want to feel part of the organization they work for, and the first step to achieving that is keeping them in the loop.
Ultimately, when you improve internal communication, you:
- Boost workplace trust. Over 40% of workers say that poor communication is reducing the trust they have in leadership and their teams. This is making them more stressed and less loyal to their organization.
- Engage employees. Informed employees are 2.8 times more likely to be engaged. Employee engagement is linked to higher productivity, profitability, and employee retention rates.
- Get better at what you do. When you improve internal communication, you improve decision-making, teamwork, and collaboration. Everyone pulls in the same direction, which spells bigger and better business results.
The benefit of good internal communication in frontline organizations is even more pronounced.
Safety concerns. Equipment failures. Product or service updates. A shift you need to cover. Inclement weather. These critical communications need to travel between frontline staff and managers quickly and reliably. It’s how you limit downtime and ensure the very best customer service.
But if your communication culture, communication skills, or communication tools are lacking, you’ll find it hard to connect the various teams that make up your organization.
13 ideas to quickly improve internal communication
With so much to be gained from good internal communications, time is of the essence. Every day you continue doing things the old way, you’re missing out.
So here are some internal communication ideas that you can put in place quickly, for maximum impact. Weave these ideas into your internal communication strategy and start making improvements right away.
1. Start with the leadership team
Leaders set the tone of an organization. So if your leadership team isn’t sold on your bid to improve internal communication, your employees won’t be either.
It’s up to leaders to drive comms throughout the company. It’s also on them to engage with comms. That way, employees see that your internal communication channels are a valued resource for people at all levels – and they’re much more likely to engage with them, too.
To prove to your workforce that it isn’t one rule for them – and another for their managers – get the leadership team on board right at the start. Involve leaders in the launch of your internal communications plan and encourage them to be positive promoters of it.
2. Ask questions & launch surveys
To avoid time-consuming missteps, get employee insight early on in the process. Employee input informs your strategy and improves your chances of getting things right the first time.
You can get input by asking informal questions and launching surveys. Find out what employees want from internal communications – and what aspects of current comms they struggle with.
With Blink’s super-app, you can launch surveys that reach your whole workforce. A user-friendly interface makes it easy for employees to respond. And a clear dashboard helps you to draw conclusions from their answers.
Surveys help you make informed internal communication decisions. But there’s another benefit, too. By involving employees in this part of the process, you set an important precedent.
You show employees that you value their input – and that their voices are heard. This raises trust in the process. It also helps employees see what they stand to gain by engaging with internal communications going forward.
3. Streamline your communication channels
Well-established companies often have history with lots of different internal communication tools. In frontline organizations, there tends to be a mix of tech solutions and old-school communication channels – like posters and notice boards.
If you’ve inherited a complicated system of communication channels, it’s worth stepping back and assessing their impact on company communication.
Is a noticeboard crammed with memos an efficient and reliable way to communicate with your teams? Are multiple communication channels helping you to clarify the message – or are they muddying it?
Less is usually more. So streamlining your comms channels is a great way to improve internal communication. Employees are much more likely to engage with a single source of reliable info.
That’s exactly what happened at Domino’s. The pizza delivery company was using word of mouth, posters, and WhatsApp groups to communicate with its frontline. But by switching to Blink, Domino’s put all internal communication in one place and now everyone gets the same need-to-know updates.
4. Personalize your comms
Think of all the marketing emails that land in your inbox every day. The ones that personalize their message stand out. They’re much more likely to resonate. The rest is like white noise. It becomes very easy to ignore stuff that doesn’t feel relevant to you.
The same goes for company comms. When you make your message more relevant to your audience, they sit up and take notice. When employees are inundated with comms that have nothing to do with their role, they tend to start ignoring the noise - and before you know it even the most relevant and critical messages are missed.
You can quickly make a change by segmenting your audience. Divide your organization by department, team, location, and stage in the employee life cycle.
Then, craft personalized comms. And only send mass communications when they really are relevant to the whole organization. Intentional, personalized communication is much harder to ignore.
5. Run company-wide standups
A standup meeting is a short but regular opportunity for teams to share progress and identify blockers. It’s a way to get everyone on the same page and clarify what they should be doing.
A company-wide standup is the easiest way to communicate your current priorities and action plan to everyone. But you can also run standups within teams, departments, or locations.
Of course, if you’re a frontline organization, getting everyone together for this type of meeting isn’t always practical. Employees work different shifts and in different locations, or maybe even work on the road.
But don’t dismiss the idea of company standups outright. Create standups for different shift swaps, or locations, or smaller groups of people. And for the times you can’t be together in real life, tech can help.
Employees can join a meeting via video conference. Or you can record your company-wide standups and post them as video content to your primary internal communication channel.
6. Implement an employee app
In today’s technological world, you can find incredible tools designed to improve internal communication, fast.
An employee app is a great example. It works well because you meet employees where they already spend their time – on their smartphones. And because it incorporates features that employees are familiar with, like instant messaging, group chats, and a newsfeed.
Take Stagecoach, a UK-based bus company. When Stagecoach implemented an employee app, 84% of their workforce started using it within just one week. Because they chose a communication tool that employees could use intuitively, they got better and faster uptake.
An employee app also streamlines your employee communications because employees can access everything via a single, user-friendly interface. And it provides channels for both top-down and bottom-up comms. Anyone can read and share information.
Blink’s employee app ticks all these boxes. Designed for frontline organizations, it helps bridge the gap between your frontline and desk-based teams.
7. Reward & recognize your employees
Another way to quickly improve internal communication is by rewarding and recognizing employees. Shout out those employees who hit their goals or reach a personal milestone. Highlight the times when a member of staff goes above and beyond.
A culture of recognition helps to build engagement. It also boosts morale and encourages other employees to do their best work.
Using internal communication channels in this positive way encourages employees to communicate more frequently, too. When an employee feels acknowledged, they’re more likely to acknowledge others, share successes, and communicate constructively with peers.
You can put the wheels in motion by encouraging managers to send regular messages of acknowledgment. But to amplify the effect, go further.
Build recognition into your internal comms strategy by using Blink’s recognition feature. Via the app, you can send messages of public praise with the power to inspire everyone.
8. Conduct regular 121 meetings
If your managers only run 121 meetings with employees once or twice a year, this is an area ripe for improvement.
A lot can happen over the space of a year or six months. Internal communication might be missed or misinterpreted. Regular 121s are an opportunity to realign goals and understanding.
Regular 121s help you to:
- Build a personal connection with employees
- Address concerns in real-time
- Improve employee engagement
It also makes the act of discussion and feedback more familiar. Employees get used to sitting down and sharing their work experiences with managers. So managers are much more likely to get candid (and therefore useful) insight from their staff.
Advise your managers on how often they should conduct 121s. Monthly, bi-weekly, or even weekly sessions create an open feedback loop.
Also, remember that a public communication forum can never replace 121s. While employees are often happy to share some ideas publicly, they also need the opportunity to share their thoughts privately and confidentially.
9. Encourage content creation
Leave content creation to management and you run into two key problems:
1. Your internal communication is unengaging because there’s lots of top-down communication but not enough bottom-up or peer-to-peer communication.
2. Managers find it hard to balance content creation alongside their usual workload. This means more managerial stress and/or less quality content.
There’s a quick and easy solution. Give everyone a turn at content creation. Use guidelines and templates if you think they’re needed. Then, let employees start threads, post blogs, upload videos, and recognize their peers.
In doing so, you strengthen your company network. Employees build new relationships. They find people with whom they have things in common. They chat about non-work-related topics.
This type of water cooler chat may seem irrelevant to your business objectives. But trust us when we say it’s hugely important to the quality of communication that takes place within your organization.
This is particularly true in frontline firms where workers don’t always get the opportunity for informal chats with co-workers.
When employees build trusting relationships with co-workers, they don’t just find it easier to chat about their latest vacation or the boxset they’re currently binging. They find it easier to communicate and collaborate on workplace topics, too.
10. Take a data-driven approach to internal communications
How do you measure the success of an internal communications initiative? You need reliable, accessible data you can track over time.
This is another reason why having the right communication tech is vital. Pick communication tools with analytics built in and it’s easy to view and act upon insights.
You can see which type of content your employees do and don’t interact with. You can see which posts get the most comments and likes. This helps you to hone your internal communication going forward.
Similarly, analytics functions help you to see the bigger impact that your communication strategy is having. Perhaps it’s helping you to reduce staff turnover or increase staff satisfaction.
When you have access to the data, it’s easy to demonstrate the value and effectiveness of internal communication improvements. You’ll also find it easier to make informed, targeted changes that make your initiative even more successful.
11. Be consistent
Good internal communication is all about consistency. You can’t promise employees a weekly update or a monthly webinar and then fail to deliver.
They’ll stop seeing your communication as reliable and trustworthy – and they’ll stop checking in for new content. This is the point at which the wheels fall off your strategy and you have a much harder job pushing that new initiative uphill.
To show employees that your new internal communication strategy is here to stay, make sure it’s sustainable.
At the outset, you may like to err on the side of caution, only committing to a content schedule you know is manageable for the people delivering it. You can always add more items to your content calendar once it’s up and running.
Also, as we mentioned earlier, enlisting the support of employees in content creation helps to create an internal communications ecosystem that doesn’t rely on a handful of time-stretched managers. With all hands on deck, it’s much easier to create and post content consistently.
12. Be transparent
Internal communication is most successful when communication is transparent. That means:
- Including everyone in communications
- Creating an open connection between leadership and employees
- Clearly communicating business changes and decision-making processes
- Acknowledging both successes and mistakes
Transparent communication is important because it helps to build trust between all members of your organization. It prevents secondary channels of communication – in the form of rumors and speculation – from emerging. And it helps to boost employee engagement.
If you don’t already have a culture of open communication, getting there is likely to take time. You need to develop communication skills throughout your organization and set new norms of behavior.
However, one of the things you can do to improve internal communication quickly is to involve employees in your internal communication strategy. Be open about the changes you’re trying to implement – and why.
When employees feel like part of the process, they’re much more likely to feel invested in its outcome.
13. Report back on changes you are making
So you’re planning to make big changes to the way you communicate internally. Don’t forget to involve employees from the beginning and throughout the process.
After launching employee surveys and conducting 121s, communicate your findings. Let workers know what you’ve learned, what changes you plan to make, and what you hope to gain.
This shows that you’re committed to transparent communication, not just paying lip service. And that you’re putting employees at the center of decision-making.
Take this tack and employee engagement, morale, trust, and the success of your internal communication strategy all stand to benefit.
Improving internal communications takes time and strategy. It’s a long-term commitment. But there are quick wins to be had.
Gather insights. Involve all members of your organization. Find the right tools. Start fostering a culture of open, honest communication, right now, today.
By doing so, you’ll create change in the here and now. And lay the groundwork for future internal comms improvements, too.
It’s well worth the investment, particularly for frontline organizations. With strong internal communication, you build teams who are more connected, informed, and engaged - which leads to widespread benefits for your employees, customers, and business.
Want to make internal communication a priority for 2024? Then put internal comms in the palm of every employee with Blink’s employee app.
Our mobile-first app supports two-way communication, critical messages, employee recognition, and workforce surveys. It also integrates with the business tools you already use. So employees can access all resources from one user-friendly interface.
Accessed via mobile or desktop and with speedy, sky-high adoption rates, Blink provides a quick and easy way to improve your internal communications in 2024.