See if your company is making any of these mistakes and learn how to improve internal communication.
Before we begin this text, let’s propose a little reflection. Does your company recognize the value of internal communication? Does it have a structured plan? Does it have a team dedicated to this work? What about measuring results, is it done?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it is a sign that your company is making at least one mistake that can compromise the internal communication strategy. Even though the importance of this area is increasingly recognized, there is still much to be improved by organizations.
Below are the main mistakes to be avoided so that you can ensure a good flow in your company’s internal communication processes.
1. Lack of appreciation for internal communication
This is one of the mistakes that has the most consequences. If the company does not value this area, it will not invest in resources and staff to make it work. Much less will it worry about the engagement of employees in relation to this work.
The most likely scenario is that an employee will be in charge of performing the actions – in addition to his/her official function in the company -, will be overloaded with tasks and will end up leaving them aside or doing them sporadically.
First of all, the role of internal communication must be clear in the company. The leaders need to be aware that this area not only serves to inform, but also to engage and integrate employees, align institutional messages, promote the organizational culture, among other benefits.
In turn, employees also need to feel motivated to participate, either by consuming or proposing new content. In the end, they are the target audience of the actions. If the strategy is not interesting for them, it is a sign that it is not working and needs to be modified. This leads us to the next topic.
2. Not taking into account the profile of the internal public and the company
The target audience is an essential component in the planning of any communication strategy. Internal communication is no different.
Before starting any production, do some research to get to know the profile of the internal public. What are their preferred means and formats for being informed? What are the best times to access the company’s communications? What is the average age bracket, their main interests and needs?
Internal communication must be tailored to the employees, so that it can generate interest, connection, and engagement. Make sure that the language and content are accessible to everyone and that the content is relevant to the employees and the company.
By the way, the organization’s profile should also be taken into account when planning the actions. The initiatives must be aligned with the company’s goals and culture. It is also interesting to have a harmony between internal and external communication, both in terms of speech and visual identity.
3. Not making an internal communication plan
You know when you need to send out a newsletter, but it takes longer to find last minute topics than to produce it? Or when you have so many urgent things to spread that it seems like you are always putting out fires? Anyone who has ever worked with internal communication must have experienced one of these situations.
This can all be avoided with good planning. From the moment that there are clear definitions about the target audience, the objectives and the contents that will be worked on, it is easier to organize the production of each material and to know where to fit the urgent communications, in a way that does not disturb the rest of the planning.
In addition to the items mentioned above, the planning needs to include a context and the current situation of internal communication in the company, the actions that will be carried out throughout the year, a schedule of content and KPIs for measuring results.
You cannot forget to update and improve the plan whenever necessary. And the most important thing: to schedule yourself to, in fact, follow it. It does no good to make a professional plan and then leave it for dead.
4. Select who is free to carry out the actions
Many companies have the bad habit of delegating some tasks to whoever is free at the moment. Internal communication is an area that demands a lot of time and effort for planning and production. That is, having a team dedicated to this work is essential.
In small companies, usually one person is responsible for the actions. In large companies, there are entire teams focused on this. Human Resources, Marketing, and Communication professionals are the most commonly involved in this area.
If you do not have a team responsible for the strategy, you will not have aligned and consistent actions. And the chance of the area being abandoned is great.
5. Lack of team involvement
In the previous topic we talked about the importance of having a team dedicated to the area. But we are referring to the planning, coordination and execution of actions. In fact, internal communication becomes truly effective when it has the participation of everyone in the company. That’s right, everyone is a communicating agent within an organization.
Therefore, it is very important to involve the teams, keep an open channel for employees to suggest content, give a voice to those who have something relevant to share with colleagues. This also helps to achieve good levels of engagement with the content, since employees begin to feel more valued and an integral part of the process.
When we say “everyone”, we are including the leaders. It is common to see situations in which the leaders themselves do not value the internal communication actions. Their involvement is fundamental both to participate in the communication process and to stimulate the engagement of the teams.
6. Communicate one way, act another way
Transparency is fundamental in all aspects, especially in internal communication. More than anyone else, employees will know if something that is being communicated corresponds to reality.
So make sure that the messages are in tune with what really happens in the company. If your organization has a more serious and rigid environment, don’t try to make it sound detached. Or don’t say that the teams are diverse if, in fact, they are mostly made up of the same profile of people.
If you want to convey a specific image of the organization, first make it happen in practice. Otherwise, the message communicated may have a negative and demotivating effect on employees.
7. Choosing only one channel or all of them at once
There are several options for internal communication channels: email, intranet, corporate social network, leadership and employees’ speeches, corporate TV, bulletin boards, printed bulletins, WhatsApp… What about the formats? Text, video, images or podcasts. What to choose? Do I have to choose everything or only one sure way?
There is no right answer. Remember when we talked about the need to take into account the profile of the target audience when planning? The choice of channels also goes through this. Do some research to find out which channels are most used by employees, which are their preferred formats, and of course, what can be implemented in your company.
But remember: the more channels you choose, the more work there will be to feed them periodically. If there is not enough staff to produce a large amount of content, start little by little. As the results appear, you will have more arguments for the company to invest in expanding the internal communication team.
8. Centralizing activities excessively
Some internal communication actions require a greater focus from the team at the time they are being carried out. For example, a Word of the President event, the live broadcasting of a lecture, the internal disclosure of a product launch, the inauguration of a new unit.
As a result, the activities planned in the schedule end up being left aside. In these moments, it is worth thinking about decentralizing the activities. It is possible to count on communication agencies and external companies that can help with demands such as organizing events, conducting professional lives, developing specific campaigns, creating graphic and online materials, and much more.
According to the research Internal Communication Trends 2019, made by SocialBase and Ação Integrada, 55% of respondents fail to prioritize the actions planned in the internal communication planning. And you, will you want to be part of this number?
9. Not measuring the results of internal communication
Every strategy that we develop needs to have a step to measure results. Otherwise, how will we know that it is working?
The same happens with internal communication. There are several ways to do this measurement. Everything will depend on your company’s objectives in this area. From these it is possible to outline the KPIs that will be evaluated. That is, the key indicators to measure the success of the actions.
When the actions are online, there are several tools that help to collect important data. It can be the number of email openings, the amount of time a video is viewed, the engagement rate on corporate social network posts, among others.
In the case of offline actions, such as printed materials, corporate TV, and the speech of the leaders and employees, a good alternative is to periodically survey the employees to find out their opinion about the internal communication initiatives.
And remember: it is not enough just to collect the data, you must use it to your advantage. Evaluate what is giving good results and what can be improved so that your strategy is increasingly successful and has a positive impact on the organization.