Ask any IC professional and they'll tell you. Selling the value of internal communications to senior management is difficult.
Maybe it's easy to understand why. They're big-picture thinkers, future-focused, bewitched by the bottom line. So when you're outlining a new internal communication initiative, they're ready and willing to challenge it.
To counter this, IC professionals need to be equally ready. So, here are the top five reasons management may say you don't need good internal communications – and why each is nonsense.
1. We don't need internal communications
Most organizations would agree that their staff are their greatest asset. An improvement in employee engagement drives an improvement in performance – which is what employers want.
But management like numbers, right? How about a 20-25% increase in productivity, or an additional US $2400 profit per employee each year, or a 10% increase in staff retention? That's what organizations with engaged employees enjoy.
The surest route to employee engagement success is internal communications. No other business discipline keeps staff informed of what they need to know and inspired to perform at their best. How else will employers ensure everyone is working towards a common goal?
It's also the cure when your workplace morale is sickly. It diagnoses the issues, supports the treatment plan and gets your workplace well again.
2. We're happy with what we have
Really? If what you have are just emails, you're wasting a lot of effort and opportunity.
Emails have their place, but when around two-thirds of staff aren't reading them, you know they aren't absorbing or interacting with what you're saying. Do you really want to leave that to chance?
Using yesterday's technology isn't a recipe for success in today's workplaces.
Cross-team projects benefit from the use of collaboration tools which help staff work together more effectively. Everyone has a voice, participation is encouraged and silos are broken down.
In times of crisis, emergency comms need to reach everyone, wherever they are and whatever device they're using. Lives could depend on it. High-impact alerts which get instant attention are essential.
In situations like these, your old comms tools are holding you back.
3. It's not a priority for us
So you have a lot of other projects underway? Awesome – better internal communication will raise awareness, generate interest and promote the launch of your other initiatives so that management get best bang for employee buck!
If internal communications aren't part of the plan, you're selling these great new initiatives short.
Putting off internal comms also means the organization loses the efficiency gains, productivity gains and cost savings it would otherwise enjoy. Improvements take longer to achieve, momentum is lost, inefficiencies fester and morale declines in the meantime.
Better internal communication doesn't have to be your biggest priority, but it will support and drive the success of your key projects.
4. There's no way to judge the value of it
Ah, that old chestnut. This is very likely the number one internal communications myth. But the Loch Ness Monster probably has more basis in reality.
Every good internal communication tool will have full tracking and reporting capabilities. You'll know exactly how each performs for readership and engagement. It's worth collating your internal email performance rates as a benchmark to compare against.
But what about culture or behavior change, management ask? Easy. Online staff surveys capture the mood of the workplace and identify issues before they become problems. Staff quizzes test the effectiveness of training sessions. Self-assessment tools track employee behavior.
Undertake any of these regularly to understand how the organization is trending – and where internal communications can overcome any blips.
There are a wealth of good resources online for internal communications measurement – more than enough to satisfy any data-hungry managers.
5. We're currently going through a period of change
All the more reason to keep staff properly updated. Without good internal communications, managers will struggle to reduce uncertainty and maintain productivity during these turbulent times.
In fact, change communications is one area where internal comms truly shines. It's all too common for rumors to spread and staff turnover to increase. Employers need to fill this space with messages which inform and reassure – cold corporate emails won't cut the mustard!
In times of change, the focus for everyone is the post-change brave new world – especially for management. Internal communications supports the journey in actually getting there. It's the maps, compass and navigation aids that steer the ship through uncharted waters.
Need more convincing? Tactics and tools for change communications are readily available to support internal comms teams.
In organizations today, being without internal communications is like having a car with square wheels – it'll move forward, but not very effectively. Convince management to add internal comms into your organization and watch the car grow wings to fly down the track.