Why Good Internal Communication Is Worth It
I didn’t learn how to communicate when growing up in Buffalo, Iowa.
It was a construction and manufacturing town that relied on salt-of-the-earth beliefs like “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” As a young man, I took these beliefs to heart.
As I got older, however, I saw how these beliefs made it harder for us to talk to each other in meaningful and helpful ways.
As a professional, this meant I had to learn things the hard way. When I didn’t practice how to communicate with others, I failed at important points in my career. All these events taught me how crucial and important communication is, especially in the workplace.
At TruHu, we are trying to change how companies communicate with their employees. Good internal communication is a simple yet powerful way to connect and engage.
Here is what we are finding out:
Managers that provide feedback are good communicators
Communication from managers to employees is important to support employees and ensure work gets done. But according to a 2021 Gallup survey, only 26% of employees strongly agreed that their manager’s feedback helped them do better work. As a result, we have seen employees not having key information to do their jobs or know what’s expected of them.
Effective communication in the workplace has the opposite effect. When managers clearly describe what they expect and give employees room to ask questions (and receive feedback), the workplace flourishes: Employees have direction on how to complete projects, and managers are ensuring company and department goals are being met.
Companies that offer open and timely information are good communicators
Communication from executives and administration are important to hold employees accountable to company expectations. From yearly performance metrics and vision to service changes, company-level communications provide the “why” behind employees’ work.
Unfortunately, only 7% of U.S. workers strongly agree that communication is accurate, timely, and open, according to the same Gallup survey. Employees lose focus on the big picture and disengage when they don’t understand why they’re working so hard.
Companies that directly tell employees what they need to know, give employees room to adapt to business conditions, and being transparent about how the company is doing all contribute to effective communication in the workplace, according to Harvard Business Review.
Employees who think before speaking are good communicators
Good internal communication from employees involves two factors: (1) how employees communicate with each other and (2) how employees communicate up the ranks. Actions like not sending a hasty email or thoughtfully coordinating with different departments, are the results of good peer-to-peer communication. Good communication to superiors includes voicing legitimate concerns to upper management, who in turn takes time to listen.
Both forms of employee communication are important to encourage a productive workplace and increase employee engagement. We are witnessing how internal communication and employee engagement work together to make a better workplace for everyone.
I am still learning to be a better communicator
Finally, I hope that what I’ve said can be useful as a guide or starting point. While I am certainly not a young man anymore, I am still working on being a better communicator. The good news is that I am seeing it pay off, again and again. I believe companies and employees who work to improve good internal communication will also see amazing results.
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