Recently I saw an article in a tabloid paper saying people spend 25 years of their life sleeping and 19 years at work. This means the second biggest identifiable span in our lives is spent either working, being at work or thinking about work. A daunting thought.
If work consumes so much of our lives, the question of how we connect with the organization we work for seems quite an important one. Are we satisfied or pleased enough with our work and our employer at the end of the day? Can we create opportunities for self-development or for learning something new? The answers to these questions reflect a lot on our relationship with the organization we work for.
Smart employers have realized that if they want to make this relationship stronger and make it one that offers sustainable benefits both for them and their employees, they have to invest in it and carry out well-planned and designed internal communication.
Does it matter what I do?
Such well-planned internal communication should reach all who come together under the same roof, providing guidance on internal values and on how to operate toward common goals.
At many companies, the internal communication department fosters relationships between employees, between employees and their managers and between managers themselves. Open and clear internal communication is one of the most important foundations of business success. If employees know what and how they add to the company’s success and can be proud knowing what their individual share is in the joint achievements, their performance is affected directly. And their performance affects the company’s overall success.
Knowing that feedback or suggestion you have offered is listened to and appreciated makes you feel valued. Successful completion of a project to which you have contributed intensively shows that your individual success and the company’s success go hand in hand. If employees feel like part of the team through their own contributions and achievements, their sense of belonging strengthens.
To make these causes and effects between individual contribution and joint achievements visible within the organization, internal communication is now an indispensable element to companies’ sustained success. Providing opportunities for employees’ personal development, as well as increasing their competences, move the organization ahead as a learning and developing organization.
Transparency is key
Accurate communication is possible primarily through transparency. An organization gains its employees’ trust only as long as it is transparent to them. Employees feel safe when they meet clear objectives and see that common values and principles are reflected in every job and every process. Transparent corporate culture can be built in many ways, from small celebrations on special occasions to an open exchange of ideas before making important decisions in the company’s life.
The two most important factors for success are sincere and continuous communication. If the flow of communication is frequently interrupted, it can create the notion that employees are not valued. Sincerity is essential because humans feel sincerity first before they start to believe.
Communication to create culture
Creating a distinct corporate culture and encouraging employees to adopt this culture are primary tasks for the internal communications team.
Culture has traditionally been communicated through channels such as meetings, the intranet, e-mails and internal signage. These methods are useful for some organizational messages but not for all. For example, a company with sustainability as a core part of its culture may do better reinforcing that message by providing employees the opportunity to plant a garden or volunteer with an environmental charity.
Creative, imaginative and motivating ideas may be the key to successful internal communications.