Internal communications is an important but frequently overlooked form of management. By Mark Jacobs
It’s a way of taking the beliefs that are most important to the business and ensuring they are followed by all members of staff.
Sadly, most business leaders ignore it, leaving their managers and teams to find their own way of working. In a large business this can lead to a wildly inconsistent experience for customers.
The performance and work attitude of different teams will be driven by the personality of the managers involved. As a consequence, the business leader may be frustrated at the inability of the different parts of their business to consistently work together to achieve their ‘dream’ – the culture that they want in their company.
Any business can perform faster and more effectively if it implements a long-term internal communications campaign. The aim is to show all staff what is most important to the business, why it is important, and exactly how to achieve it. For an industry that relies heavily on people working closely with each other, this can make a significant difference to overall business performance.
Each member of every team must develop a keen understanding of exactly what they are there to do and how they have to do it.
This is a way of summing it up:
- Direction: What we are trying to achieve?
- Accountability: What we have to do to achieve this?
- Measurement: How do we measure how things are going?
- Authority: What is our power to make decisions?
- Communication: How do we communicate with our colleagues?
- Attitude: What attributes do we have?
When each person fully understands and believes this, it makes the job of the department manager easy. Rather than run around all the time fixing problems, they just have to ensure that the “rules” of the business are being followed correctly by their team.
People who fully understand what they are doing and why – the key elements of internal communications – will successfully deal with the majority of problems arising in the working day – and deal with them in the way the company prefers.
This takes the pressure off managers to make all the difficult decisions. It means they can spend their time managing and developing their people, rather than fixing problems.
And the business leader gets a business with the kind of culture they have always wanted.
The key is to focus on good training, especially on the reasons for changing the way they think and work. People need to make their own mind up that this is a better and smarter way to work. Effective internal communications is not about telling people, it’s about involving them.
Mark Jacobs is marketing director of sales and management training firm Mdina Partnership. www.mdina.co.uk
Construction News is running the Built Environment Marketing Awards which includes an award for internal communications. For more detail see www.cnplus.co.uk/bema The closing date for entries is 24 July.