Use Internal Communications to Shape Company Culture
Company culture is more than a topic that comes up during all-hand meetings and interviews. It’s your company’s identity, voice, and main differentiator from competitors. Overall, workplace culture is in a state of flux right now. The inclusive and flexible cultures companies built during the pandemic are being slowly scaled back or taken away altogether.
Reading about this boomerang effect can make it seem like we’ve collectively taken one small step forward and two huge leaps backward on the work culture front. The headlines may paint a bleak picture, but we firmly believe that it’s possible for nearly anyone to build a stellar company culture.
Plenty of research, planning, and effort goes into creating a solid company culture. However, there is one factor that many people overlook, and it could have the most positive impact on your business.
The internal communications difference
Internal communications is the practice of keeping employees connected, informed, and engaged by creating a shared understanding of company goals, values, and ongoing projects. That makes it the ideal area to focus on for changing company culture. It influences everything at work, so it’s the perfect avenue for instituting cultural change.
Internal communications play an essential role in Guru’s knowledge-driven culture. Believe it or not, the right internal communications strategy can do more than set rules around the right Slack channels to use. If you want to build an engaging and appealing company culture through your internal comms strategy, consider keeping these things in mind.
When some people hear the phrase “workplace transparency,” there’s an immediate negative reaction. And honestly, we get it. When workplace transparency isn’t practiced the right way, it can really fall flat.
Some organizations think transparency means giving people insight into everything that happens at work, regardless of how relevant or important it is to employees. This can lead to employees getting soaked with a fire hose of information that leaves them checked out and overloaded.
At its core, a transparent workplace is one that is set up for open and honest communication between employees and management about performance, goals, and objectives. When you focus on openly sharing the most important and relevant information with employees, you’re one step close to creating a solid company culture.
Knowledge hoarding hurts everyone at work. Encourage everyone, from individual contributors to managers, to share more of what they know. And make it easy for them by using top-of-the-line knowledge management software.
It’s important to note that transparency isn’t just for the good times. Being honest about projects that didn’t quite go right or big swings that lead to misses helps everyone learn and improve for next time.
Understand your audience
If your engineering team spends most of their time talking and communicating asynchronously in Slack, e-mail may not be the best way to get a quick answer. Your busy accounting team is happy that marketing had its best quarter ever. They’re just not exactly sure why they had to attend an hour-long “all-hands” announcement about it in the middle of tax season.
Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to internal communications seems like the only way to go if you’re concerned about consistency and creating repeatable processes. Although it’s important to have standards and practices in place, understand that a good internal comms plan changes for the people using it.
Timing, content, and communication methods all matter in internal comms. Talk to individuals and teams about their working schedule and when they’d like to receive updates. Ask them if they find that the communications you’re sending out are helpful or if they could contain (or drop) something that would make things easier for them to digest.
A solid internal communications strategy needs plenty of rules, tech tools, and practices to make it work. That may be why some people get nervous about making changes.
Don’t think of internal communications as a one-and-done kind of thing. The best kind of internal communications strategy is the kind that can grow and change along with the company. Help it evolve by getting employee feedback on what you’re doing.
Send surveys to see how employees respond to internal comms messaging and protocol. Feel free to gather some off-the-cuff qualitative feedback and ask people what they think. You never know what you’ll learn over coffee or a quick 15-minute Zoom chat.
Remember, even the most comprehensive and ambitious approach to internal communications needs employees to engage with it. Check in with people periodically to make sure you’re not missing the mark.
Internal communications and company culture: together at last
A lot of things come together to create company culture. Your mission, vision, and values all factor in, but so will the ways you choose to communicate with one another at work. Taking a closer look at your internal communications strategy can be what you need to create a culture employees, partners, and customers want to keep engaging with.