When your company operates on a large scale it can result in a disconnect between you and your personnel.
When we address internal communication we address operations within the walls of a company. Generally, lots of time and attention is directed at our broadcasts to the outside world, but much less time is spent ensuring healthy interaction inside the company.
What do shattered internal communications do to a company?
Enron is well known for being a role model of what not to do if you’re a company digging itself a hole financially. The company was logging the inflated forecasted earnings instead of their real income, any loss that occurred would be transferred to an off-the-books corporation and, to the shareholders, it appeared business was going great!
The more individuals involved in a cover-up, the sooner the veil slides off. For this reason, the executives at Enron kept their off-the-books activity and dishonest financial reports to themselves. Prioritising hitting short-term goals that came with more incentive.
Where the disconnect started
Poor internal communication and employees’ bad understanding of the company’s real financial jeopardy made it far easier for these executives to obfuscate shareholders and analysts in the short term.
Following CEO Kenneth Lay’s retirement, Jeffery Skilling took over and then resigned in 6 months due to “personal reasons”. You can imagine there were likely other messes that attributed to this decision, as the once titanic company didn’t see out the year.
What we (hopefully) learned about the importance of internal communication
Had communications between the finance department(s) and the rest of the company been more concise and clear for all to see, the felonies may not have talked their way past the first stop.
Another special mention goes to Paypal for internally threatening mass sackings to groups of employees based on a rumour that some weren’t using their app. Not only was the remark unsophisticated and heavy-handed, but it also wasn’t secure as it was leaked to the public.
General daily issues
At a fundamental level, your current tool for sending communications internally should facilitate the transfer of essential information. Let’s say your medium is email. Whether it’s an announcement for an event, a call to action to the entire workforce, or just a day-to-day workplace bulletin. It has always been consistent, simple, and versatile. However, the beauty of its premise has shown to be its downfall in practice.
Impact on employees?
Employee disengagement stems from poor communication. Enron has shown us that not fully updating your employees just leads to a later reckoning and an uncertain workplace in the meantime. If an employee feels stranded, especially so in times of remote work, they are led to believe their role isn’t of importance to the company. The same goes if their inbox is filled with background static and half-hearted moral messages from the top.
Increased employee engagement can and will result in an increase in productivity, 22% more in companies with high engagement, according to a report by Gallup. In contrast, low engagement, caused by lack of recognition or alignment with the company goals is a surefire way to lose talent and see less potential from capable employees.
H&H conducted research that, unsurprisingly, showed that there was a direct correlation between bad internal communication (from an employee perspective) and the likelihood of feeling a plethora of negative emotions in the workday, from frustration to even fear. The effects of not consistently updating your employees and keeping them well up-to-date is a serious catastrophic time bomb. Morale is everything.
The cracks appear…
We lean on the reliable vehicles that we use each day, the old bangers that have gotten us to where we are now. There’s a sense of familiarity to them, and it’s taken you to where you are today. Emails have been that vehicle for such a long time. Whatever new journey we embark on, we hope our trusty little car can get us there. Take us down the road once again. Alas, every vehicle needs servicing, and sometimes they need to be replaced entirely, with a newer, sleeker and better model.
Like your trusty car, email has covered all bases of communication. Whether it’s essential or casual, immediately requiring action or just passive advice, even whether it’s business or pleasure.
I think we both spotted the problem at the same time. If every single communication falls to one medium, how long is it until a workforce of thousands just switches off notifications at their peril? Now, there are obvious benefits to shutting off notifications. The average worker is wrenched out of concentration and chases the loud bleep every 8 minutes (every 5 minutes for Slack users).
A ceasefire for such a monotonous tone is a welcome one for productivity and, indeed, wellbeing. Among the weekly newsletters and miscellaneous notifications, buried deep within the rubble of spam and noise, is a desperate call to action that may never surface.
If only there existed a platform that could separate chatter from truly important information, then log it in one place for all to see and come back to. Hmmm.
All coming together now.
Keep the emails, and the mute option, but update your software for essential communications. Matters that require swift confirmation or response should exist separately and have their own channel. Our product, Purposeful messages, does the job of bypassing the noise and reaching the HQ of each individual’s attention.
This platform solves problems you hadn’t even thought of yet, like delivering the replies back to you in visual form. Ask a question a few minutes before your lunch break, and return to see responses on a dashboard that are interpretable and actionable instantly.
Keep the emails, but make space for a single, irrefutable source of truth that distinguishes discussion from decisions.
If you want to learn more about Purposeful, visit our homepage here!