Everyone seems to be communicating about the lack of communication within the workplace without much success. It’s not surprising, internal communications may be one of the hardest things to learn and foster, especially in a business where you are dealing with hundreds of people who all have their own ideas and needs.
There always seems to be something going wrong internally that seems to be directly linked to a lack of communication: the sales team is on edge because the product team isn’t responding fast enough and the client is getting anxious, but the product team can’t work because the contractors haven’t been responding and no one really knows what’s supposed to be happening. It’s a mess, really.
But communication doesn’t have to be this daunting ordeal that continues to disrupt company harmony. Once you link communication to learning, and you have this foundation, then you build on it in order to help your company succeed. There are three learning techniques to help your entire team establish the foundation for better communication.
Creating Education Around Each Department’s Role and Contribution
The most common internal communications quarrels in businesses from small mom and pops, to the largest brands happen between departments. Everyone is so enthralled in their own position and the work they need to produce on a daily basis, and often lose sight of the importance of other roles, and especially how they affect their role and overall company vision. It becomes a “them versus us” mentality, which will almost always lead to a communication breakdown somewhere.
This can be avoided from the start by implementing education highlighting each department to allow each employee to not only understand their own role, but get a “day in the life” experience of other departments, and the work that goes into their days. This transparency around roles tied to the overall success of the business can help diffuse the lack of understanding from the beginning, and help spark more understanding and solidarity, rather than separateness.
Our team developed a solution for one of the largest beer brands in the U.S. who needed to find a way for their internal departments to better interact and understand each other’s business objectives.
Bringing The Human Back To The Conversation
We recently helped a large consulting firm with a very common, but serious communication problem amongst many large businesses: mistrust of leadership.
When leadership communicates core values that aren’t seen and experienced by employees, regardless of the reason, a mistrust begins. When this happens, the first thing you have to do as a leader is own up to your mistakes. We are all human, and mistakes happen. These can be forgiven but only if you admit to making them, and outline a clear path as to how you will amend them in the future.
We crafted a custom video communication for this client that did both. The result was profound as employees resonated with the authenticity and vulnerableness of the video, allowing for the beginning of trust to reopen and rebuild.
It’s OK to admit mistakes in the past, like a lack of communication or even failed projects that were the result of poor internal connection. Showing learners that your organization is made up of imperfect people who don’t always make the perfect corporate decision helps create the plot of an honest narrative that really connects with your learners.
Instantaneous Feedback Loops
Effective learning offers the learner clear, instant feedback as they discover and engage with content. Motivation rises when an instructor is interested in learner success and provides context and feedback for reflection.
Feedback is also important when it comes to internal communications, and it’s even more important that the feedback happens sooner rather than later. If something isn’t working, or a breakdown in communication is happening somewhere, as a leader you want to know and address this now, rather than weeks to months down the road.
Creating an easy to use feedback loop that all employee levels and departments have access to, and having a clear plan for giving feedback is important and critical to the success of your internal communications.