Everyone knows how important internal communications is, right? Well, Maybe not. As a matter of fact, many organizations greatly undervalue its importance, placing it low on the priority list in favor of other activities like the one we talk about in this column: marketing. As a result, many take a “make it up as you go,” non-strategic approach to communicating initiatives their employees. Yet experts agree that internal company communications, when done effectively and strategically, not only increases loyalty and employee morale, but is also an integral component to driving business performance.
Yes, performance. Communicating regularly to your employees equips them with strategic, critical information that can help them make decisions faster, more accurately and in line with your business goals.
A poorly executed communications strategy, or lack of one altogether, has ramifications. According to a 2003 Towers Perrin study based on input from 1,000 working Americans, less than half of the employees surveyed believe their company communications are credible, and a quarter of them view these communications as downright dishonest.
So the question becomes: how can an organization take their internal communications to the next level to develop trust and build social capital among its employees?
Enter: the Town Hall meeting. A Town Hall meeting is a highly effective, one-to-many method of communicating, whereby senior executives and managers can build and connect with their employees to foster a rich community culture. Typically done on a quarterly basis, Town Hall meetings are generally used to discuss important matters related to the business—from strategic objectives to company-wide initiatives to quarterly earnings. By bringing employees together on a regular basis to align on key issues, the business can avoid silo thinking and create more corporate-level synergies.
What makes a Town Hall format effective is that it allows the often-hard-to-reach senior leaders of an organization to be seen and heard by all. And research shows that face-to-face communications like this can hold the attention of an audience better than other forms of communication. Plus, it builds trust and credibility.
That’s good news; by simply capitalizing on what’s proven to be a highly effective communication method, organizations, and even departments within, can build a stronger, more closely knit internal community. Want even better news? Today’s advancements in technology make the process easier to execute, extremely cost-effective and allow for a wide audience reach. Plus, employees can remain in their offices with minimal disruption to their work schedule.
Take Cisco’s WebEx, for example. This web-based collaboration and video conferencing tool enables live streaming of meetings such as Town Halls to global audiences. This tool can accomplish almost anything a face-to-face session can achieve, including interactive Q&A sessions among remote employees in a larger, general discussion. And there are others like, UberConference,or N.J. 's Vidyo, for example, that fit your needs no matter what the size of your group. Check out this Top Ten Reviews site for some great web conferencing tips (scroll down) and the latest web conferencing software reviews.
Building social capital within your company is critical to its success—and effective internal communications is a key piece of the puzzle. Why not try one? It can mean the difference between a disjointed, fragmented organization and a cohesive, synergistic community.