Properly developing and scaling an organization requires constant (and real-time) attention to both external and internal stakeholders. Employees form the majority of internal stakeholders and are a vital part of the development and progress of any company.
Employers benefit from the development of their employees, which is why good internal communication is crucial for the successful operation of any business. Each side relies on the other one, and together they help with the growth and progress of your organization. At VP Legacies, we’re dedicated to helping you streamline internal communication. Here are the top 12 challenges of which you should be aware.
Why Does Internal Communication Matter?
While we lack the skill to read each other’s minds, there’s a lot we can find out just by paying a little bit more attention. Communication isn’t just important in family relationships, romantic relationships, and friendships, but it is applicable for corporations as well. Without communication, a workplace is not a connective environment for employees.
Each and every company, regardless of how big or small it is, relies on communication for a smooth organizational flow. This helps eliminate countless challenges that an organization has to face when it comes to their internal communication strategy and planning. Just like humans, communication is a multi-dimensional concept that needs to be approached with nuance.
Understanding the challenges helps one gain an understanding of how to identify and overcome them in their own organization.
12 Corporate Communication Challenges
Here are twelve common corporate communication challenges that employers and employees face. Understanding them is the first step to building a solid corporate communication foundation to solidify strong personal connections throughout the workplace.
1. Lack Of Feedback
For an employee, it’s always a big cause of concern if they are kept in the dark about their own growth in the company. An employee spends upwards of 8 hours every day in any given organization, and they want to know they have opportunities for growth and professional development.
Growth, without any feedback, is impossible to achieve. Providing timely feedback, whether negative or positive, is a must for effective internal communication. It’s important to connect with employees on a one-on-one basis so they know you care about their growth and they can further hone in their valuable skills.
Lack of growth is one of the major reasons for employee turnover, putting a major dent in talent retention costs and affects the morale of the entire organization. With proper feedback, an employee feels valued and believes that their company is providing them with room for ample growth.
2. Absence Of Strategy
As important as corporate communication is, it often takes a backseat. Many organizations tend to neglect the importance of having a strong internal communication strategy as they feel like it lacks any tangible benefits.
So, they often just go with the flow and cross the metaphorical communication bridge after there’s a gap. This lack of strategy makes Personal Connection® difficult, since employees won’t know how to communicate information.
With a solid strategy in place, companies are ready for any situation, foreseen or unforeseen. Developing a strategy is not an easy task. Quite the contrary, it requires a thorough understanding of communication gaps, employee needs, and the effect of existing strategies.
With the help of a proper strategy, one can realize common pitfalls, the urgency of implementation, degree of intervention and more important factors that determine the plan of action for the particular organization.
3. Constant Communication Overload
One might think the best way to improve communication inside an organization is to bombard employees with loads of emails and messages. Who has ever benefited from a seemingly never ending chain of emails?
Employees often feel overwhelmed with constant back and forth, replying, or reading messages that they have nothing to do with. This wastes a lot of time and energy, not to forget reduces overall productivity. Many organizations fail to notice or address information overload. Frequent but inefficient internal communication can often feel impersonal, creating a disconnect within your organization.
Not every piece of information is relevant to all employees and even if it is, it is often not conveyed to them in the right manner or it is often presented without ample information.
4. Communication Without Context
Alongside information overload, a lack of informational context can also negatively impact internal communication. Many managers or even teammates pass along information assuming that the other person is well aware of the context of the conversation. This puts the receiver at a disadvantage. Many people don’t take the initiative to inquire about the context to avoid seeming ignorant or not knowledgeable.
They handle the task at hand without thinking about the history of communication, in turn leading to serious missteps. Hence, all communication should have concise, but relevant information attached. Alternatively, employees should be given a small brief to counter the contextual hurdle.
5. Internal Transparency
The employer-employee relationship is based on trust. For an employee, the company that they’re working in is often their only source of income. Here, any decision made by the company has a huge effect on the employees.
The challenge that many organizations face is to inform their employees about any events that have taken place or are about to be put into action. It is always better than an employee finds out about company news from internal communication rather than external sources, such as the press or social media.
Big news like layoffs, bankruptcy or even small updates are necessary to provide through expedient internal communication methods.
6. Using The Right Tools
Any communication strategy is incomplete without the right tools. There are many applications and software that help with executing communication strategies, including VP Legacies eLearning courses.
These online tools have the right bandwidth to help small to large companies and are often more efficient than regular tools and applications. Having the right tools at one’s disposal makes the difference of day and night in terms of implementation any internal communication strategy.
Even if the strategy has some shortcomings, the right tools can overcome them while also making way for the development of real Personal Connection®.
7. Lack Of Balance
Just like every other aspect of one’s life, communication requires a balanced approach. This, however, is more often than not how it works. In most organizations, the common challenge everyone faces is either there is too much or too little internal communication happening.
Corporations can’t seem to find the point where the scales balance themselves. Not everything needs to be shared with teams in an organization and similarly, they shouldn’t be left out of important announcements.
To strike the right balance, a combination of the right timing, medium and message have to be crafted. Use appropriate channels for relevant announcements at the right time and there will be a balanced internal communication plan.
With this combination, not only will there be clarity in the message but the resources will be used in an optimum manner. Your employees will get all the information they need without anything that’s irrelevant, helping them feel more connected to your company’s goals.
8. Budget Restrictions
Just like any other strategy, an internal communication strategy requires dedicated resource allocation, which many companies or HR departments don’t have the liberty to do.
In such scenarios, it becomes difficult to have a strong corporate communication strategy. Money is always a point of contention in an organization, regardless of its size.
In such cases, communication tends to take a backseat. To counter this, one need not look too far. There are many options to outsource communication strategy implementation with the help of third-party providers and software.
Not only does this take the burden off of the internal departments but it also ends up being cheaper and easier to execute.
9. Onboarding New Employees
When a company onboards a new employee, they aren’t just adding an additional person. They’re bringing in a whole new perception, ideology, communication medium, and personality into the fold.
Companies are constantly hiring, and this means having to familiarize new employees with the company culture time and again. This also means that the new employees have to understand and learn the communication strategy of their new company, which is often different from their old company’s strategy.
This challenge can only be solved by having a clear set of guidelines and manuals in place that can help new hires navigate the do’s and don’ts’ of an organization. Great training programs like microlearning can be helpful. This will help streamline the process and make it easier for all the parties involved in the process. It’s also important to make new employees feel welcome to increase the likelihood of employee retention. When you make it known that new hires are valuable assets to your team, you save resources and create a positive workplace culture.
10. Use Of Jargon
In a professional environment, there are plenty of opportunities for a person to sound smart in the disguise of being professional. The use of jargon is a common pain-point in many organizations.
Whether it’s emails, manuals, presentations or any other form of communication, it is relatively easy for jargon to slip into sentences. Jargon has no real use in today’s corporate scenario – not only is it highly inefficient, but it can detract meaning from content.
If the reader spends half of their time trying to figure out what certain words mean instead of understanding the core meaning of the entire text, then that piece has not served its intended purpose.
To avoid this, an organization must keep things simple. The key here is to actively avoid and discourage jargon throughout the organization. A little bit can be useful as shorthand, but too much can come off as pretentious. By setting this culture, there is an open and collaborative path that leads to efficient communication.
11. The Device Dilemma
Gone are the days when work was limited to the office desktop. Technology is evolving by the minute and access to information is getting handy. From desktops, laptops, tablets, mobiles and even smartwatches, there is simply too much to keep up with from a communication standpoint.
Most companies have developed their communication strategy keeping just the workplace in mind. This limits the outreach of the message and also fails to tap into the potential that is mobility.
On average, people have around five email addresses and two to three devices. This says a lot about how people are consuming information on a daily basis. Optimizing one’s communication strategy to include the preferred devices, aka mobile phones and tablets will have a huge impact on the increased efficiency of the communication strategy.
This also helps develop a stronger Personal Connection® with the employees as it gives them the freedom to access information as and when they please and even while on the move.
12. Cross-Department Communication
An organization is made of several small departments that co-exist and function together to uplift the company as a whole. While many departments don’t overlap, there are instances wherein they might need to work together or communicate with each other.
This tends to be a pitfall for many organizations. In providing a distinction between departments, they often fail to establish a connection that is needed for seamless communication.
This gives way to misunderstandings, lack of clarity, finger-pointing, etc. All these hinder productivity and company morale.
By establishing clear communication guidelines and by introducing different teams to each other and inculcating a sense of togetherness, there is a reduced change of any misstep.
Successful implementation of an internal communication strategy depends on the strength of the connection that gets formed between the employees. With this, there is peaceful co-existence and a collaborative environment within the organization
Communication with Real Connections
Corporate communication is not the easiest of hurdles to overcome, which is precisely why there needs to be institutional proactiveness in doing so. Organizations need to realize the importance of internal communication and the role that it plays in the success of the company and its bottom line growth.
Whether it is developing a strong Personal Connection® or tweaking the existing communication strategy, no step is too small. Corporate communication is an ongoing affair, and one that needs constant monitoring and upgrades.
Times change, people evolve and an organization’s approach to ensuring proper communication within their ranks too has to evolve overtime.