Internal Communication

5 Most Common Internal Communication Problems and How to Resolve Them

Internal communication is an overarching term that includes and incorporates almost all business day-to-day activities. It helps businesses run smoothly and is often described as the core process of every organization.

Given the fact that the majority of internal problems are directly related to ineffective internal communications, we have discussed several ways on how you can detect and solve them.

1. Providing little to no context

Problems like these usually stem from the preconception that everyone reads on the same level. Because of this, the sender tends to provide little to no context before giving out instructions. As a result, the receiver underperforms and has a hard time following it.

In research conducted by Gartner, employees performed better when managers provide context. By simply providing some background information and details on the subject, your team can perform better at work.

To put this into context, let us look at the work setting in the writers’ room.

Context is very crucial whenever you want to assign someone to write something. You cannot simply ask a writer to write about a certain topic without giving them enough context. Apart from the topic itself, writers need to know who will be the readers, where will it be published, and so on.

Just by providing them more information on the topic, you would be able to save some time because the writer would be able to write well and you no longer have to ask for more revisions.

2. Inappropriate channel of communication

There are many channels of communication like Slack, Zoom, Gmail, Teams, Skype, LinkedIn, and even social media like Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp. Since more and more businesses are starting to move online, it is important to draw a line between these channels of communication.

Some employees prefer to be reached out only via more traditional "business" channels and not through social media apps like WhatsApp. Apart from that, there are certain tasks that should be sent through a specific channel of communication.

For instance, it is best to send out complicated tasks along with several files via email. Despite the fact that you can also send it through other channels of communication, sending it via email is sometimes the most convenient way for your team to view it and read it.

Alternatively, you can put all relevant information and publish it in a blog post on the internal company blog; this increases transparency and provides context for other team members, that are not directly included in the execution of the task.

By simply knowing which communication channel works better for your remote team, you would ultimately improve their response time and it would be much easier for you to communicate with them.

3. Failure to provide or receive feedback

One of the best ways to boost employee morale is to give and accept feedback. By doing so, you would be able to build a culture of trust and create a lively work environment. Your colleagues would be more comfortable to share their ideas with you, and they would be more inclined to consider your feedback.

In fact, studies show that employees are open to feedback because it would not only help them identify and correct their mistakes, it would also positively motivate them to do well at work.

It is important to note however that there is a fine line between feedback and criticism. According to Forbes, feedback builds up strengths by focusing on how the future can be better; while criticism delves on weaknesses and how the past could have been better. With that, you should always know where to draw the line.

Once again, the internal company blog is a great tool to give and receive feedback, and encourage transparent discussion around various topics inside an organization.

4. Vague and overly complicated instructions

Rather than sending clear and simple information, some often resort to vague and overly complicated messages. It is one of the most common problems in internal communication, especially among higher-ups and executives who give out instructions.

Some instructions are often confusing and overly complicated for others to understand. As a result, interpretation tends to vary as it passes down to others.

For instance, in event marketing, adjectives or slang are sometimes thrown out as instructions. Like when a client wants a conference to be “hip,” you cannot just say to your staff to create a “hip” set-up for the event. Depending on the age bracket of your staff, “hip” could mean anything.

Instead, you have to give them specific instructions like what supplies do they need to order, what should be the design of the collaterals, do they need to hire trade show models for the event, how many posters and standees are we looking at, and so on.

When giving out instructions, you cannot always expect your team to be on the same page as you. You need to provide them with a clear set of instructions in order to achieve your goals.

5. Lack of transparency

Effective internal communication is often built on transparency. It helps create a positive work culture and promotes better workplace engagement.

By being open and transparent, directives and information would be well-received by your team. In turn, they would gain confidence in your leadership and they would be more inclined to do well in work.

Since it is not easy to gain everyone’s trust, improving transparency within your organization is a great place to start. You can do this by letting your team in the loop and informing them of both the good and bad news. This way, you can open the floor for discussion and allow them to share their ideas.

Promoting transparency and employing an accountability system as part of your brand would also improve your business’ reputation. Since you would also be sharing your goals and progress with the public, consumers would surely take notice.

Apart from that, promoting brand transparency would also make the hiring process a lot easier. Job seekers would be more drawn to your company because of the internal culture that you have fostered.

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