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Clear communication

PROBLEM ...

The Facts: Difficulties in internal communication lead to negative results. Without clear guidelines and acknowledgment, the employees perform poorer. Moreover, the vast majority of innovation and change processes fail due to poor communication. When exchange and information are missing, the working atmosphere and employee satisfaction decline. A bad atmosphere directly impacts sick days and the motivation of the employees. If there is no open way to work with mistakes – or if the company only searches for who to blame, instead of focusing on fixing the problem – they will be covered up and concealed for as long as possible. In the end, this will cost lots of money – sometimes it can cost even milliards, which is proven by examples from the automotive industry. If there are no clear statements about behavior and business conduct and if compliance guidelines are not followed up it will get just as expensive. Court costs and fines for fraud and corruption have led even the giants into struggles.

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Those who use Leadership as a form of command will only receive service by the book. Clever minds with ideas for innovation will leave the company. Those who will stay will be employees who always nod in agreement, even if it leads to the company making mistakes. You shouldn´t count on a freshness coming from new employees either, as information about a damaged business culture goes around among applicants and young professionals. Negative opinions on job portals are not only influencing potential employees – but also business partners and clients can see them. Cause who wants to do business with dictators or slave drivers? Especially when performance pressure has a negative impact on customer relationship and service quality. Contact People, who start off by complaining about all their Problems, are the smallest evil. The worst are those, who are not capable to meet the customer´s needs due to their frustration and fear.

Many arguments speak for clear, honest and open internal communication. And apparently, many companies see it the same way and make a great effort: culture processes are initiated, managers are trained, team building is promoted, and investments are made in soft factors like childcare, rest areas, and incentives. More often than not it is impossible to measure the real effects of those investments. The reason: they are only understood and used as instruments. At the same time internal communication and the corresponding company culture are not a question of channels and formats. It is much more about the belief, the right attitude, and management that exemplifies and maintains an open dialogue. Because only those who move forward can lead and convince. Internal communication is a fundamental management task – and a value driver.

An open, honest and clear dialogue with employees heightens motivation, strengthens the individual responsibility and identification. As a result, companies can reach their goals better and avoid costly mistakes. What do you have to do for it?

 

SOLUTION ...

Internal communication is an executive matter!

Give the communication with the employees the importance they deserve. As a value driver, it contributes significantly to the success of the company. Give your management goals and values. Provide those who are responsible with the necessary resources and authority. Allow yourself to be consulted and advised and follow up on strategic decisions.

 

Communicate actively

Inform your employees about the decisions and development of the company. Provide background information and explain the steps. Do not accept speechlessness and support the discussion with fitting messages. Answer the questions of your employees and listen to them. In the end, an active dialogue consists largely of listening.

 

Speak openly and honestly

Make your statements clear and use a language that is understandable for everybody. Give all the needed information. At the same time make it clear why sensitive information is not communicated. Give the status of processes and explain why nothing can yet be said about some developments.

 

Perform consistently

Ensure a close exchange within the decision-making circle and coordinate with those who work internally as speakers. Say goodbye to common language regulations and messages. Align internal and external statements. Resolve inconsistencies between the perception in the company and the appearance on the market through open communication.

Follow a script

As an active communicator, you are the one to decide on the agenda. You determine the place and time for information. Ensure coordinated communication measures. Inform the defined employee groups in the same depth and at the same time. Make sure that employees know about decisions and developments before they are out in the open.

 

Talk together

Communication isn´t a one-way street. Talk with your employees. Pass on information, ask for assessments and insights from employees and listen. Create a suitable framework for this. Take the input from your employees and show them how you can use it.

 

Prepare the information accordingly

Sort the findings and backgrounds according to the relevance of each internal target group. Give your employees exactly the information they need. Be comprehensible to the people you are talking to. Don´t hide facts and explanations behind complicated formulations. Make clear what you do and want.

 

Communicate effectively

Use the right channels and forms. Develop a communication mix, that makes information available for all target groups. Check which employees you should reach through which measures. Create instruments for quick messages and for in-depth explanations. Develop forms for a personal dialogue as well as one for groups and one for the whole organization.

 

Convey values and recognition

Create a balance between actual information and the communication of appreciation and success. Praise your employees and highlight the company´s achievements. Talk about the upcoming tasks and the current status. Highlight the performance of your employees. Develop appropriate tools and incentives for recognition. Encourage additional commitment, for example through special tributes and small extras. In short, live what you expect from your employees.