Today, clear and open communication is the cornerstone for every successful company. It has an impact on your employee’s commitment, client satisfaction, and general company reputation. If a company isn’t able to take stock of its own internal engagement, and doesn’t see what challenges it has in terms of internal communications, rising problems will form icebergs that threaten to rock the whole company’s boat.
Effective organizational communication is one of the biggest challenges. Though modern channels and methods are emerging thanks to technological development, the challenges remain — be they the neverending chaos of email threads, a lack of feedback, or effective connection with teammates working in the far corners of the world.
We collected the 10 most common communication challenges in this post, and show you how a customized internal communications app can help.
#1 A lack of feedback
We may remember from memories of language arts classes, that communication is defined as a mutual, two-way conversation (with 1-2 notable exceptions). But just as elementary school learnings remain foggy at best, we’re just as likely to have forgotten this specific lesson. Unfortunately, when the mutual exchange becomes one directional, the quality of the conversation is significantly decreased.
Feedback within a company has a special role, because it’s especially this kind of situation that needs to be an exchange. Feedback sessions aren’t just an opportunity for managers to remark on employee achievements, but also a chance for employees to talk about how they feel, how they think shared work is realized in the company, and more. If teammates don’t get or give feedback, their motivation can decrease, their approach to work is completely changed, and their commitment is affected.
Employees that benefit from regular check-ins and have the opportunity to provide feedback are much more likely to stick with a company than those teammates who are neglected. We’re not just talking about positive feedback, but also negative — the point is that there should be an opportunity for exchange.
And it should be provided in the easiest way possible.
Just think about how easy it is to respond to something on Facebook. You can like a post, leave a comment, or share content that we like in seconds. It makes sense for a company’s communication platform to work the same way. If you introduce an internal communications app, where it’s just as easy to provide feedback as it is in every day social media interactions, using it will become second nature to your employees.
#2 Email overload
In addition to phone calls, text messages, chat messages, social media notifications and personal meetings, an average person will receive up to 120 emails per day. It’s no wonder that important information can easily get lost in an ocean of emails. In addition to this, overloaded email inboxes can have a frustrating effect on teammates.Browsing emails on Monday shouldn’t resemble an exhausting expedition up Mount Everest.
Browsing emails on monday shouldn’t resembe an exhausting expedition up Mount Everest.
If you exchange a number of emails with simple messages in an internal communications app like Blue Colibri, you’ll never get lost in the jungle of your inbox again and you’ll save yourself from a growing collection of irrelevant “cc”-ed emails. The messages you send can be simple and short, shared only with those who are truly affected by the given topic.
#3 Communication mistakes
The leading cause of employee frustration in a workplace is a general lack of information. Usually management are the scapegoats here. Managers who withhold certain details and only drip out the bare minimum about important changes.
This makes employees feel out of the loop and left out of the company’s bigger picture.
Creating a company culture that supports downstream, upstream, and general communication can’t be emphasized enough.
Informing employees and making them feel heard increases their commitment.
Employees can submit ideas in an “idea box” on the Blue Colibri App, and submit opinions by engaging with questions through quizzes and surveys. Using this tool, you can engage employees in organizational development, and even design future developments collaboratively.
#4 The right tool is missing
We don’t generally like to use new communication tools that we aren’t familiar with or that have overly complex features. Today, smartphones are the most widespread devices. What’s more, in just a few years, by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made up of the YZ generation, and
98% of them will have a smartphone tucked into their pocket, even at work.
75% of blue-collar employees find communication on a customized app much more comfortable and effective than other “obsolete” solutions like intranet, email, or printed materials. If you engage your workforce on devices that they already use, there’s a much greater chance that they’ll also begin to use it for communications, because there’s a lower barrier to entry.
#5 Welcoming new users
Strong pre-boarding and onboarding processes are exceptionally important for retaining new hires. It’s a waste of resources to spend on recruitment, communications, and employer branding, if we stop investing in a teammate when they join. According to the data,
a new hire should be handheld for the first 3-6 months, with differing levels of attention.
In the beginning, they should receive increased attention, later you can ease up, but continuous and consequential follow up, engagement and feedback is a must in the first half year, or else the newly hired teammate could quickly move on.
Internal communications apps like Blue Colibri simplify the process, because you can introduce your new teammate to the team in one place, familiarize them with the company’s cultural pillars, send them guidelines, and even use gamification to engage them through challenges (i.e. find the coffee machine on the ground floor), as well as ask for feedback via questionnaires, encouraging them to share their opinion on processes and where they might need additional support.
#6 Language barriers
In companies where people work in international environments, language diversity can create a Babel’s tower-like situation. It’s impossible to imagine what effective work looks like if we don’t speak the same language. Multilingual environments make work slow and less effective in teams and across different locations. That’s why it’s worthwhile to announce company news in every language, provide easily accessible translations, and invest in cross-cultural training.
Beyond communication, speaking different languages also affects our thought processes. There’s a known hypothesis in the field of psycholinguistics, the science of language and psychology, that states that our native language isn’t just our main tool for expressing our thoughts, but that it also has an impact on our thought processes.
People who speak different languages view the world in different ways.
This makes shared work fundamentally more difficult, in a multilingual environment with differing cultural traditions even more so.
As an example, imagine that the managers of an American branch sit down with the Indian branch. For Americans, punctuality is a sign of politeness, while time is a much more flexibly held concept for Indian colleagues, with room for 15-30 minute delays. Did you know that in China, it’s the custom to refuse a gift at least three times before accepting? Or that the Dutch congratulate every family member for someone’s birthday? On the other hand, Finns wouldn’t find it strange to hold a business meeting in an overheated, steamy winter sauna.
#7 Communicating internal and external news
In order for your employees to feel like
more than just a cog in the machine,
and to identify with company values and engage, it’s indispensable for them to understand where the organization is headed, what changes they can expect, and what their role is in the big picture. There’s nothing more embarrassing than when employees find out about (real or imagined) market changes that affect the company from external media…
In many companies, newsletters are the main method of keeping employees up to date about internal and external developments. But these newsletters are often unorganized and missing a lot of important information. Internal communications supporting apps like Blue Colibri make the whole process much simpler. In one click, we can send concise, comprehensive informational news to employee smartphones, with a higher chance of reaching their destination than
if you had sent it to an overloaded email inbox.
#8 Tons of unimportant information
To communicate or not to communicate, that is the question. Before you share anything, it’s always important to consider whether the information is newsworthy or not. If it is, the next step is to think about what groups it’s important to share it with and when. It’s useful to create different user groups (new hires, sales teams, etc.), with whom we can share more focused content. You can create different groups on Blue Colibri, segmenting recipients according to location, project, or team, to target content accordingly.
#9 A lack of respect
Different teams have teammates with varying professional backgrounds and levels of experience. If the employees don’t respect each other due to this difference, this can often lead to misunderstandings, even when they could actually benefit from it.
“Sharing is caring,”
the well-known social media slogan, holds its own in the business world as well. If employees are encouraged to share their experiences with each other (most easily on a platform designed for that exact reason) then communication and collaboration becomes much smoother and decidedly better.
#10 A tight budget
Tons of HR departments think that they don’t have enough resources to create their own internal communications systems, or think that the results won’t provide ample return on investment. But the continuous development of technology, and services like Blue Colibri, create affordable solutions for companies that don’t even have to worry about introducing a new system — as a professional helps the process along the whole way.
If you identified with any of the problems in the post, and you’re looking for a solution that improves internal communications customized to your needs, get in touch!