Good communication is vital for people to be able to work well together and for a business to succeed. Whilst most people will know the importance of good communication, life can sometimes throw a few curveballs, making it harder to achieve and maintain.
2020 has shown just how true this can be, with the coronavirus pandemic applying immense pressure on crucial communications.
Earlier in the crisis, important updates were coming thick and fast from the government, with advice subject to change within hours. Politicians themselves were not immune to missing an update and could sometimes be caught off guard during daily press briefings.
Speed of response is critical, but so is a clear and consistent message in order to achieve the desired results. Otherwise, inconsistency can lead to mixed messages, which become diluted the more they are passed on.
Consistency in communication is a crucial requirement for any leadership team needing to bring people together to reach a common goal.
It’s also a process that should be regularly reviewed, to ensure your comms remain as effective as they can be.
Improve internal communications in your business with these three top tips
1. Keep a single source of truth
If your team has been dispersed or working to a different schedule lately, we would advise a review of your internal communications to make sure important updates are not missed.
A lack of face-to-face meetings can create barriers for communication and people management.
To overcome this, you may want to consider using an online hub to store useful resources and address common FAQs for your team. For example, The HR Dept Toolkit features a handy message board and document library which can facilitate important internal updates and record keeping.
Keeping accurate and accessible records like this is one way to ensure everyone is getting up-to-date information. It also helps if you ever need to refer back to resolve a dispute.
2. Set the right example
Equally as important is demonstrating your expectations by setting the right example for staff. The same should apply to your leadership team to avoid a “do as I say not as I do” situation.
Inconsistent actions from management can cause mixed messages and look like favouritism, which in turn can create an unfair working environment.
Favouritism in the workplace, whether intentional or not, can cause resentment amongst other employees. Along with affecting productivity and potentially damaging company culture, favouritism carries a risk of discrimination.
Get everyone on the same side by showing them how it’s done. You’re likely to see better results if you do.
3. Be well prepared for questions
When you have important updates to share with employees, it’s possible that questions will arise.
An employee checking their understanding is a good sign, as it shows they are paying attention. It also provides you with an opportunity to clarify any misinterpretations early on.
We are living in uncertain times and you may not have all the answers right away. However, acknowledging questions as to be confirmed is perhaps better than no answer at all.
What you don’t want is for employees to fill in the gaps themselves and start making assumptions, as this can lead to hearsay and take much longer to rectify.
To avoid this, make sure reporting lines are clear and that line managers, who are effectively your spokespeople, are consistent in their communications and well prepared for questions.
Go further with an HR review
Are you still using temporary solutions that were set up early on in the pandemic? It could be time for a review. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss internal comms and HR processes for your business.