If the issues of staff retention, disengaged employees and unfulfilled business potential have you frustrated, you might want to look to your internal communications for some answers...
That isn’t as daft as it sounds. And here’s why.
Internal communication (IC) is the most powerful management tool at your disposal. It sells the story, it connects people, it encourages, persuades and compels action.
But when it’s misaligned and poorly written it leads only to burning day to day questions like ‘Why won’t people do what we want them to do?’ ‘Why are so many mistakes being made?’ ‘Why do people keep leaving?’.
Then there are deeper questions like ‘How do we communicate in a way that inspires trust?’ ‘How do we talk about change and uncertainty and still keep people engaged and onboard?’
These are the things that Liz Atkin tackles head on in her book Refreshing Comms: Internal Communication for a better connected, feelgood, goal achieving workplace.
‘With the best will in the world many leaders, managers and HR professionals find themselves just too busy with operational planning, departmental responsibilities and compliance to step into the role of strategic communicator. And many SMEs simply don’t have the benefit of their own dedicated HR department, let alone an IC team.’
‘I want to help organisations have the best employer-employee relationships they possibly can by giving them the understanding and tools they need to write authentic internal comms that deliver on both employee needs and business strategy.’
Liz believes that like any tool, internal communication needs to be used intentionally.
‘At the very least, communicators need to be clear about what they’re saying to who and why. If a message or request is dismissed as irrelevant, gets misunderstood or fails to achieve the desired response, then the tool has fallen short of its potential. It’s simply being used poorly.’
So what can you do if you’re short on resources but want to power up your internal comms to rebalance relationships, nurture the right culture, get more collaboration and cooperation, and get the best out of people?
Well the good news is there are lots of simple, practical and smart things you can start to do with your workplace communication that will make a real and positive difference. But just in summary, Liz shares these key points:
‘Change and uncertainty lead to stress and anxiety; lack of clear information grows fear and distrust; and a job with no apparent meaning or purpose is at best dissatisfying and at worst demoralising. People’s behaviour will always mirror their emotions. So ditch the notion that feelings aren’t important. Emotion trumps logic in decision making, even at work – that’s a psychological fact – therefore how you communicate is key.
Use communication to help your employees understand where they fit into the bigger picture. If you want them to do something tell them why so they have a sense of purpose and belonging. Think about your content, the point of your messaging. Make sure you’re coming across as relatable by using the right tone and word choice, and don’t shy away from showing some personality. They want to know you’re human!
Let your internal comms do the heavy lifting for you – it’s strategically savvy and feels good!
About Liz: As co-director of Blonde Creative and author of Refreshing Comms, Liz combines her business experience, communication know-how and creative thinking to help organisations of all types engage successfully with their target audiences.
You can pre-order Refreshing Comms now from Amazon, Waterstones or any good bookstore. Or get in touch with Liz for workshops, coaching and support at www.refreshingcomms.co.uk