The Return on Investment (ROI) on internal communication should be judged by corporates through reduced attrition and absenteeism rate, and increased level of engagement by employees in the short-run. Whereas its effects on productivity and profitability of the business shouldn’t be the immediate priorities as visible changes in these two areas require significant time; that cannot be measured accurately in the one or the two-quarters of a financial year. But, it doesn’t mean that organizations should stop leveraging a culture of participative communication among all the individuals, groups, teams and departments. Because, an organization’s efficiency of developing a sound internal communication system can be easily judged through its external communications. Internal communication decides the level of intergroup collaboration and finally the performance of an organization. Be it the employer-employee relationship or peer-peer relationship; internal communications help bring people closer and chasing a unified vision.
Does the technology need to be avoided in internal communications?
Although, the fast pace of technology is a challenge for organizations to keep them updated about communications technology that has been evolving rather speedily after the arrival of social media, smartphones and gaming technology. The revolution in multimedia communication created an enormous impact on the way companies communicate with employees, and they share information in a group or circle. But, there are instances that the excess of technology is eroding the emotional relations among the employees. Because, the bonding that used to be seen in conference halls, meeting rooms, office canteens, office libraries, and playgrounds is losing its strength in a typically digital environment. People spend most of the time before IoT devices and what’s going off-screen is not the concern for many. Now, the question arises, does the technology need to be avoided in internal communications? The answer is a BIG NO.
It is the Human Factor that Provides a Soul to Internal Communication
Businesses cannot afford to avoid changes that are imminent and omnipresent. Technology is the gift of the time, but it should be governed wisely. Rather than changing their culture as per the needs of technology, businesses should try to mold the technology as per their own needs and demands for the greater good. The ‘Human Factor’ shouldn’t be left in communications that occur between Human to Human using Device to Device frameworks. So, infusing humanity and emotions in internal communications is as important as adding values and substance in the organizational culture. There should be a collaborative effort from both sides – suggestions, feedback, ideas should be tracked and encouraged. The best way to introduce a technology for the communication sake is listening to the opinion of people who are supposed to get benefits from it. Don’t perceive it as an approval or consent; treat it as a favor to win their confidence. Familiarity with the upcoming change makes people ready to adopt them wishfully and easily. So, don’t ever bring a change instantly, cut it into the phases and let people befriend with them.
Strategic uses of communication channels bring people closer, and nonstrategic use increases the differences
In modern organizations, whether it is top-down or diagonal or lateral, communication is not a two-way process, it is multi-nodal and whosoever involves in it should be very much “engaged” and “participative.” But, in a world of 7billion people, all of them are not tech-savvy many feels alienated about technology, and even many are xenophobic to it. Successful organizations work like families, where the majority cannot neglect the problems and concerns of the minority people. Now, it is the responsibility of the HR department to dispel their fear about technology, educate them about it, because the lack of familiarity is making them estranged to technology. Training and counseling are the best way to educate them about the benefits of technology, how it can simplify their work as well as life. And for every progress, motivate them with words of appreciation and some suitable gifts. Motivation increases one’s performance mileage and kills monotony to continue the race. So, always keep them motivated for positive attitude and outcome.
Businesses that don’t meet employees’ expectations eventually fail to meet customers’ expectations, too
Besides educating the employees in their domain areas and making them aware of the fruits of technology, businesses should promote technology as a tool of ‘Employee Empowerment’ rather than treating it as mere performance improvement initiative. The feeling of empowerment strengthens the employer-employee relationship, makes them more loyal towards the organization, enhances their confidence and improves their efficiency to accept new challenges. Because when technology becomes a friend to humans, it helps them to explore opportunities and growth points. Secondly, man is a social animal who can’t live in isolation. So, if a technology increases the distance between man-to-man, the social loss should be compensated by healthy and enjoyable group activities such as tours, group dining, sports activities, and other fun-loving corporate events. Hence, technology shouldn’t affect social bonding, and if it happens, then social activities must also be incorporated into the organization’s culture to create a balance.
Without Leaders’ Involvement Effective Internal Communication is Impossible
A leader is one who takes initiatives and influences the team to repeat or emulate his/her steps. Like other business functions, in internal communication too, a leader should act like a leader: initiator, involved, engaged, and confident to influence the team for active participation. A recent study by Harvard Business Review reveals that lack of engagement or drab participation from the leaders can negatively affect the communication culture inside an organization. In the era of Facebook, Twitter and social live streaming when communication is on its culmination point, even if, a leader shows reluctance to interact with its employee, then he/she should be ready to bear the brunt.
The landscape of internal communication is getting greater and richer every new day; IoT, smartphones and artificial intelligence have changed it completely in the last ten years. But, instead of jumping on the bandwagon, organizations that are adopting the technology without tearing the SOUL of internal communication, i.e., Emotional Human Engagement are the real champions of today, they are Google, Facebook, Virgin, and LinkedIn. And, leaders of the companies better understand that engaged workforce creates a sense of belonging and pride in the organization. Professional development should be encouraged, but not at the social cost.