5 Tips To Ensure Lasting Business Success

26th June 2015

Posted In: WMB Advice | Your Business
Ailish Smith

The economy is starting to take shape again. Business is beginning to boom. There is an air of positivity about the future that was lacking in the last number of years.

But there is a very real danger that while business leaders focus on the now seemingly bright horizon, they may forget to look around them at the people powering the business. An effective internal communications strategy is vital to continue on the road to success and building for the future.

Words: Ailish Smith, PSG Plus

Internal communication is the transmission of information between organisational members or parts of the organisation. It takes place across all levels and organisational units of an organisation.

Sounds simple. Unfortunately though, many companies and workplaces struggle to get it right. A new research report ‘The Inside Story’ published by PSG Plus shows that just 20% of workers fully trust their employer to keep them informed of important changes in the workplace. In addition, one third of workers claim to hear news of company change through the ‘grapevine’ first rather than directly from their employer. Not exactly inspiring is it?

There are of course plenty of companies where internal communication helps people get the job done really well. Where the internal communication helps people deliver their service with a smile. And where it results in people skipping into work in the morning rather than running out as soon as the clock hits 5.30pm. Effective internal communication actually shares and inspires a vision and culture that employees can really believe in.

The good news is that high quality internal communication and employee engagement is neither a dark art nor built on the charisma of a business leader. In truth, the most effective results are where there is strong communication between team leaders and their teams at all levels of seniority. The following are some simple tips on how to develop and foster improved internal communications in your workplace:

1. Keep employees informed
The PSG Inside research found that just 20% of employees fully trust their employer to keep them informed of important changes in their organisation.

Ensuring transparency within the company and maintaining open lines of communication from the top down is key to creating a happy, motivated workforce. The benefits stretch far beyond the bottom line. Open discussions help build a strong community and helps create a culture where employees feel confident within their roles and one that encourages them to outperform expectations.

An increase in informal, face-to-face contact between line managers and their teams is a simple step to take to ensure all news is company led rather than rumour led. This approach should naturally be done as part of a more strategic communications solution to improve employee engagement.

2. Share the goal and vision
The business leader knows where they want the company to go. They know the vision and the goals they want to hit. But does that filter all the way through the company? The Inside Story research reports that just 15% of employees in larger companies have a full understanding of the company goals and their own role in achieving those goals.

If employees don’t fully understand what is expected of them and how they can contribute to the overall success of the business, it is impossible to get the best from them. By communicating this with employees, motivation will increase and a marked improvement in productivity can be expected.

3. Listen

As outlined above it is important to tell employees about company updates and news but it is equally vital to listen to their feedback, thoughts and inputs. Actively seeking the opinions of employees and showing a genuine interest in their development will demonstrate commitment to ensuring they are part of the success of the business. Bottom-up communication as well as top-down communication is the winning formula for effective internal communications.

4. Acknowledge and reward
It may sound simple but not acknowledging an employees’ hard work can lead to employees feeling deflated and a feeling that perhaps they’re not doing a good enough job. All this can lead to performance issues.

Regular feedback and positive reinforcement can motivate and inspire employees. As well as feedback and direction, allocate budget within the internal communications plan to reward employees with fun events, a nice lunch or dinner or a gift token. It will increase morale and encourage positivity among the team.

5. Measure
Put in place tools to measure the effectiveness of your internal communications strategy on an ongoing basis. Why? Because if you don’t, you won’t know if it’s working. Survey staff, review targets, revise any initiatives that aren’t quite working. By doing this you’ll maintain effective internal communications and continue to foster a happier, more productive workforce.

Clear, consistent and cohesive two-way communication that is simple, actionable, meaningful and measurable is key to success. By implementing these actions, the results, including improved worker performance, engagement and retention, will speak for themselves.

Ailish Smith is an account director at PSG Plus, the corporate communications and reputation management agency of PSG Communications, Ireland’s leading communications group. PSG Plus also provides a specialist internal communications service, called Inside, which supports clients with strategy, content and implementation for strategic change programmes as well as day-to-day internal communications. Ailish can be contacted at ailish.smith@psgplus.ie