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Nov 23, 2021

Battling with your internal communications? You might have a bigger problem on your hands

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One of the most common complaints you’ll hear in an organisation is that it has a communication problem. All too often, however, these complaints mask much bigger, unresolved issues. For example, lack of employee understanding, which can often be solved when the right information is provided. In this article, we explore this notion in more detail so you can easily identify the internal communications challenges within your own business. Discover our expert offerings in these areas.

Lack of information or poor internal communication? 

When people take aim at the communication in an organisation, it’s usually as a result of one of two scenarios. In the first scenario, something has gone badly wrong and communication is blamed, in a “the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing” sense. The other time communication comes up as a major organisational issue is during a company-wide survey. As Art Markman points out in an HBR article, both scenarios come down to the way people’s brains work. 

Information and communication problems can be hard to identify as the employee. Most of us know whether we work for an organisation that makes us feel good or bad. When we’re asked more specific questions around what’s good or bad about the organisation, we find it difficult to come up with an answer. Reaching for something, we frequently turn to internal communications, when it might be a lack of information causing our distress.

Information and communication issues in context 

When managers are told that their organisation has communication problems, the default reaction is often to try and put new communication methods in place. If the problem lies elsewhere, this can be a massive waste of everyone’s time and energy. Instead of trying to address a perceived communication problem, you should therefore try to get more information from your staff around what specific issues they have with communication in the organisation. 

You might, for instance, find that people are unclear about their roles and responsibilities within the organisation, especially if they are newcomers. This is a common problem for organisations undergoing periods of high growth. In the early stages of the company’s life, everyone would’ve grown into roles as the company evolved. As the company grows, that becomes more difficult. Consequently, newcomers may feel unsure of what it is they’re actually supposed to be doing. With this information, you can work on your onboarding processes, rather than implementing a completely new internal communications system.

Symptom vs cause 

Let’s say your organisation had the kind of issues we highlighted above. If you’d treated the symptom of ‘poor communication’, you probably would’ve spent valuable time and resources implementing a new communication system. Imagine the frustration then if you circled back a few months later only to find that you still had a communication problem. 

In order to find the real cause behind the symptom, you would need to dig a little deeper to find out what was really concerning the employees. In other words, put time and effort into properly understanding your employees’ concerns. A company-wide survey therefore shouldn’t be the basis for a shift in strategy of any kind. Instead, it should be a jumping-off point that allows you to further explore the points raised by your employees. 

We help solve your internal communication challenges

Remember that getting the answers you need won’t always be easy. People may battle to articulate themselves. With this in mind, it can sometimes be useful to bring in outside experts, such as Engage Me, who know what questions to ask. Get in touch with Engage Me today.

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