What is internal communication and why does it matter?
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What is internal communication and why does it matter?

You’ll have noticed that internal communication has gained a lot of attention during the Covid-19 pandemic. Especially with businesses needing to communicate with their employees as they work remotely.

I believe this pandemic finally woke many organisations up to the importance of strategic, structured communications in the workplace.

Internal communication is not just about newsletters or organising the Christmas party. There is a lot more to it than that.

But what do we really mean when we talk about internal communication?

Definition of internal communication

Rachel Miller from All Things IC has a great way of describing internal communication:

Internal communication = the overarching view of how a company communicates

My view of what internal communication is:

It’s facilitating the sharing of communication within a business. It’s aligning communications with the business strategic objectives, aligning employees with the business direction, its objectives, purpose, and values. It’s concerned with employees, enabling employee engagement, driving innovation and change.

What it is and what it isn’t

Internal communication isn’t about telling people what they should think, say, or do.

Rather it is about helping employees and leaders communicate for themselves, between themselves. It’s about coaching employees and leaders about the power communication can have and how to utilise it effectively.

Internal communication supports the facilitation of two-way dialogue, driving innovative thinking, creating a collaborative business culture.

Internal communication should not hold a monopoly on business communications, it should enable teams, departments, and employees to define their own messages within an agreed framework.

Employee communications should not be an adhoc activity. It requires planning and governance. This ensures a smooth running of a business, making sure key priorities are highlighted and not smothered by other daily activities.

It’s easy to publish something, post something, or distribute something. But what happens if you send it out at the wrong time, the wrong place, to the wrong people.

You need to be strategic with your internal communications. It must be performed in conjunction with other business activities, with other key stakeholders and sponsors, and to the right audience.

What internal communications can do for you

Effective internal communication has a vast range of benefits. Internal communication done right can

  • Push businesses to outperform their competition
  • Enhance employee advocacy
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Improve brand reputation
  • Increase employee retention and attraction
  • Improve innovation and productivity

Also, strong effective communications help businesses:

  • Solve problems
  • Stronger decision making
  • Higher productivity
  • Establishing consistency in workflow
  • More robust business relationships
  • Greater stakeholder relationships
  • Improved brand image

As you can gather, internal communication is more than just facilitating communication between people. It’s the mortar between the bricks, it’s the glue between the pages, it’s what keeps businesses together, moving forward as one to higher growth, better sales, more engaged people and improved employee and brand advocacy.

It’s impact

I don’t know how businesses can develop without good internal communication.

If you don’t have the communication fundamentals and foundations in place, you don’t allow your people to follow a clear journey with you. You can’t help your people move together, unified by common purpose, messages, or goals.

Without this in place, you will end up dragging your business forward without your people understanding your aim, your direction, where you want to go and why.

So, invest in your internal communication. It’s important. It’s more than a newsletter. It’s about the productivity, growth and development of your business and your employees.

Help your business. Help your people. Make sure you’re unified by a clarity of purpose.

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