By Gili Ben-Yosef, President, BYJ Consulting
Have you ever been around a child deep into their “why” phase?
“Finish your vegetables if you want dessert.” “Why?” “Because vegetables contain the vitamins you need to stay healthy.” “Why?” “Because…”
While the annoying questioning eventually comes to an end, even as adults we never lose that curiosity that helps us make sense of and connect with our surroundings. We innately ask ourselves “why” every day, as we navigate the world around us.
So it’s remarkable that at a time when there are so many opportunities for connection and communication, for sourcing and discovering answers, we often find ourselves lacking clarity, uninformed and disconnected at the place we spend so much of our time: work.
Because everyone, including our leaders and managers, are busy trying to reach financial goals, increase the bottom line, satisfy customers – you may think there’s just not enough time in the day to communicate.
This is a big miss where a mindset shift should be encouraged. Internal Communications – the process whereby employees at all levels of the organization share knowledge and are kept informed – is a key driver for employee commitment, engagement and satisfaction. As a result, internal communications is directly correlated with increased employee productivity, customer satisfaction, and financial return*. By investing in your people, you are investing in the company’s success.
Because when leaders leverage internal communications to empower themselves and their employees as valued participants on the company journey – sharing where they’ve been, where they’re headed and why – employees are naturally more connected, committed, and better understand how they fit in and impact the company’s success. When employees understand the company’s vision and goals and what’s happening on other teams, they can be more focused and productive as they work towards the common good.
More so, using internal communications effectively means encouraging productive dialogue in the organization (top-down, bottom-up and cross-departmental). Research has established that dialogue and collaboration are behind most successful technological innovations.
So, while it’s important for employees to hear from leaders, it’s equally important to give your teams a voice with which to offer constructive suggestions, point out potential hazards, and provide meaningful insights based on their experience. They can share what’s important to them, what they need to be successful on the job, and exchange ideas on how they can contribute to the company’s development. Your employees live the company every day and they have an excellent, insider perspective on the ingredients for the company’s success, often pointing things out that the leaders couldn’t see or know about. By communicating with employees, you indicate respect that becomes mutual.
So, if you find yourself asking “why” internal communications, remember that whatever stage or situation your company is in, internal communications is an effective and invaluable tool for bringing employees along as active participants and movers of your company journey.
* Towers Watson, Change Communications and ROI report 2013-2014.