Many experts refer to the “Four E´s” of communication (effectiveness, engagement, empowerment, and empathy) when discussing the biggest internal communication headaches for business. We analyze a fifth “E” – expense – and provide a solution to all five headaches.
The desire to communicate with employees in a way that is effective, engaging, empowering, and understands their feelings is a noble one. But is it possible?
Maybe in a smaller business, in which an employer has the time (and the inclination) to talk face-to-face to his or her employees, it could be possible. But in a business with hundreds or thousands of employees, face-to-face communication with every employee is impractical.
One of the most popular solutions is to implement “digital enterprise media channels” with analytical tools so employers can set key performance indicators, evaluate content, and assess the internal communication performance.
This solution may resolve the headaches created by the “Four E´s”, but it will likely create a migraine of expense once the cost of implementing such the solution – and the time taken to manage it – is accounted for. There has to be a better solution.
The Objectives of Internal Communication
In order to resolve all 5 biggest internal communication headaches for businesses, it is necessary to take a step back and look at the objectives of internal communication. Regardless of what studies you read, they tend to be financially motivated. For example:
- Employee engagement results in enhanced performance and productivity.
- Empowered employees are easier to retain, reducing recruitment costs.
- Employees with shared values collaborate better towards a shared goal.
- Involvement in the decision-making process will lead to greater enthusiasm.
To achieve the objectives, businesses must develop an internal communication strategy. This strategy should take into account how, when, and to whom messages are communicated. This strategy should also include communication protocol for messages of varying importance.
It is crucial to distinguish the four roles of internal communication (to tell, to sell, to consult and to involve) and to assign methods for their delivery. For example, in a recent workplace safety survey, employees preferred to receive emergency alerts via mass text message while working off-site.
It is also important to have a message tracking system in place to ensure the right messages are read by the right people at the right time. To ensure engagement, whatever solution is implemented should also support two-way communication.
The Multi-Channel Solution to Internal Communication Headaches
Developing a strategy from scratch that encompasses employees of different generations, different technical abilities, and different motives can be difficult. However, a multi-channel solution that gives employees a level of discretion over how they receive internal communications is one potential solution.
This involves implementing a platform through which communications can be sent by SMS, email, IM, social media, etc. and gives employees a choice of how they receive non-emergency messages. This can be achieved via a web-based portal that employees log into and select their preferences.
In this way, you can choose to send emergency notifications to employees through a multi-channel broadcast or target specific groups of employees with single-channel communication.
The platform should also provide the opportunity for an employee database to be divided into different groups according to an employee’s location or role, and allows employees to opt-in to different groups according to their interests or involvement in a project.
With message tracking mechanisms available, senior management, HR, and marketing can monitor the receipt of communications and employee responses with the click of a mouse – without having to implement additional analytical tools and key performance indicators.
The Benefits of a Multi-Channel Solution with a Grouping Option
The key to resolving the 5 biggest internal communication headaches for business is the option to divide an employee database into groups and give employees the opportunity to opt-into (and out of) groups that encourage their interest and involvement. The benefits of this feature include:
- Businesses can send emergency alerts to just employees affected by an emergency incident, thus minimizing disruption.
- Senior managers can limit the distribution of business-critical messages to employees for whom they are relevant.
- HR departments can send notifications about insurance enrollment deadlines and mandatory training.
- Marketing departments can send details of department-specific social events to qualifying employees.
- Employees can opt into special interest groups. These do not have to be work-related and can be created to form social bonds.
The opt-in and opt-out process can either be operated via the web-based portal or an SMS opt-in process. The system can also be integrated with workplace directories, so new employees are automatically added to the database, and employees are removed when they leave.
While it’s important to consider solutions that address the four E’s of internal communication, it’s crucial for the fifth “E” – expense – to guide you through the communication solution selection process. To find out how this type of internal communications system could benefit your business, speak with our team of technical experts.