Business may seem to be running smoothly, but what if improving a single internal function could cause business to run even better? In a lecture given at Pepperdine University, Senior Communications and Public Relations Consultant, Ron Kirkpatrick, explained how internal communication can significantly impact return on investment.
A study done by Watson Wyatt Worldwide in 2007 showed that workers at firms with effective communication were four times more likely to report high levels of engagement, compared to workers at firms with less effective communication. The same study also found that the companies that implemented the most effective communication programs saw a 91% total return to shareholders, against the 62% that firms saw without any such program. 1
It’s not news that Internal Communication is the core of any successful company. It unites employees, keeps them informed, and creates incentive. However, maintaining a relevant flow of communication can be hard to execute.
Here are some of Kirkpatrick’s top recommendations to keep top-of-mind:
1) Make Employees Your Friend
Talking at your employees won’t do much if you haven’t talked with them first. In order to deliver messages that will resonate with your workforce, you need to know who they are, what they are interested in, and what they need. Showcase their stories, speak to their interests, and defend them when the time comes. This may mean sending certain emails only to select departments, or establishing a system that clarifies an email priority order.
2) Use the “Backyard BBQ” Test
This is a simple test to determine if your employees know the business as well as they should. As ambassadors of the company, they should have enough knowledge at any given time to have an informative response to a question about matters of the company. The test says that if they couldn’t give a good response to their neighbor at a BBQ, they need to be better kept in the loop. Ask yourself if your own employees would be able to adequately answer on behalf of the corporation.
3) Practice What You Preach
A company’s actions should directly correlate with their public goals. Employees are not motivated by salary alone, but more so by the value they can give to their workplace and the greater community. So congratulate them on a job well-done, give them opportunities to present particularly challenging case studies, coordinate regular staff meetings, and affirm your employees that their work has a further purpose.
Internal Communication is what assures employees that they are working in the right place. Flow of information should be informative, appropriate in timing, and relevant to those reading it. Having effective communication circulating through a company will build employees up, tie them to a greater purpose, and result in greater ROI. To do so, know the people you are speaking to, make them experts on the company, and show them how they contribute to company achievements.
Authored by: Jenna Lea Aguilera, Public Relations Associate
1 Kirkpatrick, R. (2017, September 25). Internal Communications & Speech Writing. Lecture presented at Public Relations Management Lecture in Center for Communication and Business 205, Malibu, CA.