Just like in any relationship, a lack of communication can cause an organization to slowly deteriorate.
It can be hard to recognize signs of poor communication in a relationship before the damage is done. Tasks start falling through the cracks. Blame gets passed around. Without strong internal communication strategies in place, goals can come and go without being achieved.
The bottom line is: good communication is key to the health and well being of your company.
Keep reading if you want to learn:
- How to recognize when your internal communication is failing
- How to fix communication issues in the workplace
By the end of this post, you’ll know how to recognize and avoid the ten most common pitfalls big corporations make in their communication strategy.
1. Lack of Transparent Internal Communication
Today’s “always-on” economy requires staff to be proactive communicators.
When management makes significant, non-confidential decisions, they should relay those decisions to employees as soon as possible. Issues within an organization tend to come up when there is a lack of internal communication or when management withholds information about important decisions.
That’s why internal communications tools that promote transparency are so important. Teams can find out right away about changes within the company such as deciding to use a new vendor, or a new employee joining the team.
2. Vague Requests from Management
Let’s say a manager asks their employees: “Should we change our protocol when it comes to contacting customers?”
What happens? Likely, nothing. Sure, that manager can have the best of intentions. But questions like this might be too vague to really be actionable.
Sometimes it’s not a lack of internal communication that’s the problem. Sometimes it’s the way that communication is delivered.
By making requests more actionable, managers can start a more productive dialogue with frontline employees.
So instead of asking “Should we change our protocol?”, they can ask: “What are three ways we could change our protocol today?”
3. Employees Are Afraid To Ask Questions
Managers that don’t have the time or patience for their team’s questions will not be able to properly mentor and train their teams
When employees are afraid to ask for feedback, two things can happen:
- They can make incorrect assumptions or hide mistakes
- Those mistakes cost the company both time and money
Asking for help or admitting you don’t know something is hard for everybody. That’s why employees should always feel comfortable asking for help.
There’s another way you can encourage honest feedback. Employee communication software like Beekeeper lets employees submit their feedback online. When they can instantly submit feedback through an app, employees are far more likely to reach out when something’s wrong.
4. Too Many Customer Complaints
This post may be about how to fix communication issues in the workplace. But customer complaints could be another sign there’s a lack of internal communication within a company.
Happy employees make for happy customers. Glassdoor found that a 1-point increase in a company rating was associated with a 1.3 increase in customer satisfaction.
But how do you know employees are happy?
Ask for feedback continuously. This is hard unless you have a tool like Beekeeper, which can measure employee satisfaction with digital polls and surveys.
If you’re getting a lot of negative feedback from customers, the problem might not be with your product or service. It might be with the way you’re communicating with your employees.
5. Misaligned Employee and Company Goals
If you were to ask your employees what their goal was for the next month, could they tell you?
What about your company’s goal for the year?
If they can’t answer, you haven’t conveyed those goals clearly enough.
Communicate your mission early and often. This can be done on a consistent, company-wide basis with internal communications tools like Beekeeper.
Don’t worry that repeating company and employee goals will lead to being tuned out. If anything, over-communicating will create greater awareness. Sometimes, we’re all so caught up in our day-to-day tasks that it’s nice to be reminded of why we’re doing them in the first place.
6. Neglecting the Needs of Your Remote Employees
Given that we’re all living in a post-COVID world, remote work has become the reality for a lot of us. An estimated 16 million knowledge workers in the U.S. started working remotely due to COVID-19 in March.
Managing remote employees with the same principles as their in-office counterparts just doesn’t work. There’s a bigger communications gap that needs to be addressed with remote employees.
Without face-to-face interaction, it’s easy to slip into a lack of internal communication. All of the verbal and behavioral cues you can pick up on in-person aren’t there when you’re working remotely. You can leave some things unsaid in an office, but on a remote team, those gaps are damaging.
Lack of internal communication can cause remote employees to feel isolated, out-of-the-loop, undervalued, and even lonely.
Remote employees rely primarily on written communication, not in-person discussion. Just relying on email might not be enough. Tools like Beekeeper are key if you want to know how to fix communication issues in the workplace.
7. Lack of Consistent Messaging
Communication within big companies can operate like a game of telephone. Management makes a decision, but by the time it trickles down to the employees, that messaging has changed.
No wonder 62% of employers view their relationship with employees as “committed partnership” while only 33% of workers under 35 report being in “a committed partnership” with their employer.
Managers may be committed to the company’s future but clearly fail to convey that commitment company-wide.
Consistent messaging starts with communications tools that stop the game of telephone. You want to make sure your communications tools:
- Let you monitor engagement in real-time
- Allow for immediate follow up
- Are mobile-friendly
8. No Active Buy-in and Participation from Leadership
Healthy internal communication involves all levels of an organization.
When leadership isn’t actively engaged in the strategies and tools a company is using for internal communication, it can lead to a fundamental disconnect.
If leadership doesn’t care about active internal communication, why should employees?
To make sure leadership is on board:
- Clarify the objectives of your communication strategy in different categories (employee satisfaction, customers, finances, etc.)
- Tie healthy internal communications with ROI
- Convey engagement metrics for any content written by leadership and distributed among employees
9. Not Measuring the Results of Your Internal Communication Efforts
Just communicating with employees isn’t enough. If you can’t measure how well you’re doing, how do you know your efforts are effective or not?
Let’s say you’re trying to reduce safety incidents by improving documentation available on employees’ mobile devices. You’ve digitized safety forms, created mobile checklists, and removed reporting roadblocks.
When a crisis hits, you know when you’ve reached your whole team. You can measure how many team members you reached and how quickly you reached them.
You can also measure how many safety incidents you reduced as a result of your new strategy.
Those numbers are critical for:
- Convincing stakeholders that the tools you used to make this happen were worth it
- Improving communications strategy even further
10. Overwhelming Onboarding Experiences
On average it takes around three months to onboard an employee.
Those three months could be filled with employees digging through paperwork, trying to understand company policy, training procedures, and benefits.
But what if that process could be faster?
What if employees could experience onboarding on their phone in a clear, easy-to-understand layout?
With a tool like Beekepeer, which is not only for internal communication but onboarding as well, employees will:
- Get access to the necessary resources, training, and automated workflows
- Get in touch with their team members, even if they’re distributed across the globe
- Have more time to adjust to company culture and get to know their colleagues
To a large extent, onboarding establishes how an employee will view their job. Organizations that had a strong onboarding process improved hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
Next time you onboard new employees, ask them about their experience. If they’re overwhelmed and under-informed, you might need to start improving your communication strategy.