At a time when employees are increasingly disengaged due to concerns regarding unstable business, salary cuts and job losses, an effective internal communication between employees and top management has become the need of the hour. We take a look at what organisations are doing to bridge the communication gap. World over, Human Resource professionals and experts in organisational behaviour believe that an effective internal communication is a key determinant in driving efficiency levels within an organisation.
This is especially true in today’s high-stress, high performance organisational set up where employees are often required to ‘stretch’ beyond the call of duty to help meet larger organisational goals. A culture of healthy, transparent and ongoing dialogue – where employees at all levels feel free to openly share ideas, opinions and suggestions – is essential to build greater empowerment levels and trust within the organisation. On a day to day level, it also allows employees to take more informed decisions that are consistent with the organisation’s strategic goals and objectives.
“Having a sound internal communication system is imperative for an organisation’s growth. Such communication programs not only affect organisational and operational success, but have a considerable impact on external functioning and image of the organisation. While every organisation aims to acquire the top position in its audience’s mind, an organisation with a strong internal communication base gets an edge,” notes Preeta Pradhan, AVP – operations and Compliance, AuthBridge.
Internal communication is more about strengthening employee bonding than simply tracking the route for information flow. And in times of rising job insecurity, an effective internal communication can help boost employee morale and confidence. Having said that, organisations are leaving no stone unturned to bridge this communication gap.
Regular interaction of senior management with staff to ease fears of job & salary cuts, get-togethers, employee appreciation programs, CEO meets, featuring success stories in internal newsletter to motivate staff are some of the most common practices in organisations today. YOU Telecom releases a monthly newsletter called Xpressions, a medium through which the exchange of communication takes place amongst members of the organisation. Says E.V.S. Chakravarthy, CEO, YOU Telecom, “We have also initiated a program called Rubaru, a regular one-on-one between the location/ function in charge and his team.
This interaction is to ensure the individual that his/her leader is more a friend than a boss.” Internal communications is a key function at Barclays. “A very interesting initiative that we have recently started is Barclays ‘Straight Talk’ – a monthly interactive session between the middle management and members of the Country Management Committee.
These sessions are constructive ‘bare-all’ sessions that seek to address employee concerns head-on and provide them with insights into the views of the organisation. These sessions yield a series of action points that have to be seen through to their logical conclusion by the respective management committee member. We also use employee feedback as a touchstone to what we need to respond to and provide more information on,” confirms Archana Shiroor, head – human resources-India, Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Bank.
Emails have become the norm for internal communications across organisations. While, these emails are often task-based and are good for one-to-one communication, Lintas Media Group’s internal website Central.com is used as a communication channel between senior management and junior executives for formal and non-formal topics across the company.
“It is the era of User Generated Content and Central.com enables people at all levels to contribute to forming opinions of the agency. It is a democratic system and what drives the discussions on Central.com is not who has initiated the discussion but the vitality of the topic,” says Premjeet Sodhi, Cheif Planning Officer, Lintas Media Group. Adding further to this he says, “‘CEO’s thought of the Week’ and ‘Top-Talk’ are formal avenues for the senior management to seed their thoughts and ideas amongst the teams across offices and across levels.
These programs generate ideas from the teams leading to a fruitful discussion which is witnessed by all.” At Hughes Systique Corporation, communication has always been a key driver for employee engagement. “We ensure that the top management is approachable and visible – this conveys credibility and conviction and instills confidence among employees,” expresses Rohit Kumar Sahu, head – human resources, Hughes Systique Corporation.
An effective internal communication in an organisation has a positive effect on the morale of employees and it increases employee engagement resulting in higher levels of job satisfaction, decreased absenteeism and lower rates of attrition. Such improvements are linked to better productivity and overall profitability. As Chakravarthy puts it, “An organisation without an effective internal communication is like a body without soul.”
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