Bridging the Internal Communication Gap in your Organization
‘35% of executives from companies with 20 to 49 employees said their employees were not aware of their firm’s overall objectives compared with just 9% of executives at organizations with more than 1000 workers’.
-Robert Half Management Resources
The above statistics are the result of a recent study and at first sight, they seem counter intuitive. I mean, isn't it easier to communicate the organization’s objectives to 20 people as compared to 1000 people? However, after some thought, I could see how it is possible.
I believe that the reason why employees in larger organizations are more aware of the objectives comes down to a two-fold aspect of communication:
1. How well the message is documented.
How frequently t
he message is distributed.
Let’s see how this concept works using an example.
Imagine an organization occupying a substantial office space. There are plaques with the mission and objectives displayed prominently on the walls. In this case, whenever employees walk by the plaques, they are reminded of the organization’s purpose and their contribution to this purpose. The plaque serves as an effective document while its placement on the walls serves as a good and frequent distributor of the message.
On the other hand, smaller organizations have limited resources and they strive to get as much work done as possible within their resource limits. Therefore, there is a chance that communication of goals and objectives takes a backseat. For one, the objectives might not be clearly documented and even if they are, they are not communicated as frequently as required.
However, here are a few steps that smaller organizations can take to increase the awareness of their objectives:
1. Document your objectives
This is pretty straightforward. It doesn't have to be something fancy like a plaque or a billboard but there should at least be something written that can be kept on record and distributed to the staff to serve as a guide as well as a reminder of why the organization exists. In addition, having a documented list of objectives also ensures consistency whenever you have new people joining your team. It brings everyone together and puts them on the same page.
2. Use technology for effective communication
In this internet age, there should be no room for such an illusion because there are so many tools for multiple-way communication and collaboration; and the best part is, some are free while others are quite affordable.
Take email for instance, it’s free.
Google Docs is a great collaboration tool that is free too; you just need to have an account with Google which is free to setup.
At WebServes, we use Google Docs extensively while working on projects and even use it for training. For instance, in the Marketing Team we have documents outlining how we should conduct our marketing activities. These documents serve as reference manuals for current marketers whenever we need to refresh our memory as well as training manuals for new marketers. The best part about these documents is how easy it is to update them. There is no need to send emails back and forth within the team any time a change is made to the document. The change is reflected in the document and anyone who has access to it can see it by signing in with their Google account.
Another tool we use at WebServes is Basecamp.
I was introduced to this Project Management software on my very first day at WebServes and immediately realized what a great tool it is.
The best and most important aspect of Basecamp is how easily we can communicate with our team. The interface integrates with our respective emails such that if a message is posted on a project’s board, all the people involved in the project will receive the message in their email inboxes and they can reply from their email without having to log into Basecamp. This makes sure that we are all kept in the loop about the projects we are working on. It serves as a great tracking tool and helps us to keep our efforts trained towards the successful completion of our projects. Though Basecamp isn’t free, it has a range of pricing options (starting at $20 per month) so that you can choose what works best for your organization.
3. Tell stories to engage and excite your staff
It is easier to remember stories as compared to single statements; which is why we still remember the stories we heard when we were younger. Storytelling can also be an effective way to communicate your objectives and values to your staff. This is especially easier for nonprofits since we have a cause that we work towards and there is no better story than how we worked towards a cause. Such stories will also help to motivate your staff to continue working hard and being passionate towards the cause.
How do you bridge the internal communication gap in your organization? Share your comments with us and let's expand the above list!