woman holds head while working on computer

It’s the communication age: we are constantly in touch with each other via social media, texting, video and photo sharing. Ironically, during a time so full of communication methods, businesses are having a difficult time leveraging them to improve internal communications.

Did you know that 70% of US employees say they’re unengaged at work? (see more surprising internal communications statistics). This lack of engagement not only affects the work environment, it affects company prosperity. The same way that companies invest in customer loyalty and retention, they should be investing in employee engagement and loyalty.

Internal communication is a major factor in employee satisfaction. Here are some of the biggest communication mistakes and how to address them:

1. Not using effective communication tools

Email and voicemail are the old communication standbys and they can both be effective forms of communication in the right situation. However, they’re not always ideal for every scenario. Emails are good when you need to:

  • Send a long message with detailed instructions and information.
  • Use a cost effective method in order to reach multiple recipients and whole departments.
  • Avoid active discussions. If your message can trigger a complex dialogue, keep in mind that email isn’t the best option in this case. If you want to discuss something, you can hold a face-to-face meeting where questions, feedback and suggestions flow naturally and can be managed fast.

Text messaging isn’t yet commonly used in an office setting, but can offer a lot of benefits:

  • Urgency. The average response rate to an email is 90 minutes whereas the average response rate to a text is 90 seconds – perfect for getting an urgent message out there.
  • Texting is a popular form of business communication – 70% of employees think their company should use texting as a form of internal communication.
  • Ideal for remote workers or field staff. Keep in touch with field staff and reduce errors due to miscommunication.

2. Boring your staff with uninspiring meetings

Staff meetings have gotten a bad rap. It’s common for meetings to run over, for the agenda to get lost in petty details and for precious little to be accomplished during them. Try incorporating unorthodox methods in your staff meetings. Communications pros swear by it with 93% of them affirming that creativity is important in internal communication.

Here are some examples of non-traditional meetings to get people out of staff meeting zombie mode:

  • Have your staff lead the meetings. Rotate among your staff so that each member of the team leads a meeting. This inspires leadership skills, enhances innovation and employee buy-in.
  • Have the meetings someplace other than a conference room. Go to the building’s café for the meeting, sit outside under a tree, have the meeting on the roof. Change location to change perspective.
  • Use multimedia such as a video, photo essay or other creative to represent the theme of the meeting. Show it to staff beforehand and ask their responses to it at the beginning of the meeting.

3. Unclear communication

You can use the right tools and send the message to the right people, but if your message isn’t clear, then it won’t matter. Clear communication means that employees understand both the content and the goal of a message. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t make the language too jargon-y or complex. Make the message simple and clear.
  • Don’t make the message too long. Be respectful of the other work your employees have waiting for them and send them a bite-sized message rather than a 7 course meal.
  • Make the takeaway clear by repetition or using bold typeface.
  • Make sure they understand why you’re sending them this message and what you want them to do with the information in it. For example, it’s not enough to inform your team that you’ll be switching insurance companies and expect them to take it from there. Send a link to the form. Give them a due date for when it has to be filled out and sent to HR.

4. Not analyzing your results

Making improvements to your communications strategies is only part of the process. You have to measure your results too; otherwise, you don’t really know if you’re improving or not. If you haven’t done this before, you’re not alone: 60% of companies don’t measure their internal communication results. But tracking results is a crucial part of the process.

After making adjustments to internal communications methods you should:

  • Conduct a survey on employee job satisfaction.
  • Analyze staff turnover rates.
  • Review employee productivity and sales statistics.

If your new strategy is working, you should see improvements in these areas. If you do see improvements, great! But don’t stop there. Keep on tweaking and adjusting to continuously improve your internal communications outcome.

Fix these four communication issues in your company to engage employees and enhance productivity. Improve your internal interactions by using suitable communication platforms, getting creative with your staff meetings, providing clear communication and measuring your results.