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5 Reasons you should improve your Business Communications

Posted May 20th, 2014 in Business Management, Internal Communications, Strategic Communications

Business CommunicationsImprove the communications at your place of business, and you will improve: relationships with key stakeholders,  employee satisfaction, productivity, and increase your competitive advantage.


Employee satisfaction

Your employees want to do a good job, or at least they started out that way. When someone comes to work for you, you both agreed to enter into a mutually beneficial relationship.  You read their resume, they chose to send it to you.  You offered them a position, they agreed to it.  So how come employees become disgruntled? 

Quite often employees become upset due to poor communication.   If an employee doesn’t know what is expected of them, they will seldom rise to their potential. [1] Management needs to listen, give employees information (and tools) they need to get their job done, help them understand your expectations of them (be realistic), give honest performance reviews (regularly), and build in a reward system to help motivate healthy goal setting. 

Be consistent and honest to build credibility as a team leader. Companies say their employees are one of their biggest assets, but because the return on investing in the people resources are not always clear cut, companies often do not contribute as much to their employees’ well-being as much as they should.  This trend is changing.  

There are forward thinking organizations that include communication strategies to help understand their employee’s needs.  They help them understand the context of their jobs within the organization, by providing them with the necessary information.  They provide opportunities for employees to share their ideas with superiors and collaborate with their peers.  

Watch the OPEN OFFICE on DOC ZONE at CBC.  There is a CEO of a very large company that insists that he doesn’t have an office because he would rather sit in the main open office area to his employees (all of them), just so he can hear their ideas. Walls are coming down, communication is going up. This is a long term investment with some of the greatest benefits to a company. If a communication plan is tailored to the needs of the employees, it will help to support improved employee satisfaction.

Good reputation

Society must believe an organization is authentic, caring, transparent, and credible.  To achieve this all their communication must be consistent with their brand message – through words and actions.  Not only is this important at the c-suite and management level, but all employees are acting ambassadors for the company.  Communications plays an even more important role in this digital age, where messages reach a large audience quickly, and the conversations created at the spur of the moment.  If processes, policies and opportunities to learn how to manage these conversations responsibly is not put in place, a reputation crisis is just a keystroke away. Managed well, communications can help minimize negative consequences to the brand, reputation and financial strength of the company. For this reason, most companies have developed proactive strategies for making public statements or dealing with informal communications with employees, claimants and other key stakeholders. [2]

Productivity

Get the right message, to the right people, at the right time.  Technology offers improved communication channels to better
  • Listen & Respond – supporting marketing research, customer service
  • Send messages - advertising to a large audience online, company vision & plan to employees
  • Employees can work wherever they are - internet, mobile networks, software solutions
  • Improve customer experience - contact customer service through various methods, order online, history tracking

But technology is only a channel.  You need to have the processes and training in place to use these channels well.  The content must be developed for the right audience; it needs to be relevant, timely, and concise. 

Communication audits should be done regularly and any necessary changes to the methods and materials improved upon as needed. Improve  communications and you will support a more productive employee environment. Improved communications will also help market your product and services more effectively, and most likely reduce the cost of doing business at the same time.

Competitive advantage

To stay competitive in today’s consistently changing market, all organizations need to have a clear vision of who they are, and what they want to achieve.  Then they need a communication plan. They need to understand who their audience is, how they prefer to communicate and know what opportunities (and tools) are available to get their best return on investment. Budgets are tight, technology is changing daily, and there is a limited amount of market share. Businesses can’t afford to not to be on top of their communication game, and they need to respond quickly to changes when needed. Many organizations have struggled with integrating this new technology into their everyday practices.  They don’t understand social media, so they choose to ignore it.  They don’t want to have to implement policies, training, and procedures to safeguard their reputation of employees being online, so they just keep doing business as usual.  By ignoring opportunities to change and improve, they lose the opportunity to get direct feedback from their customers, engage their employees, and create conversations with prospective clients that could lead to sales.

Stakeholder Relationships

Improve your communications and you will improve your relationships with key stakeholders. 

Traditional advertising is expensive and has a limited shelf-life, but it does have value. One thing you can do to integrate the two, is to provide your website address, and social media profiles on your print advertising.  It will direct your audience to your online profiles, giving them the opportunity to share their experiences with their friends and connections. Yes, you take the risk of a bad review, but consider this a bonus!  You just received direct feedback that you can pass on to your production team or CEO.  Now they can make the changes needed.  Now doesn’t that sound like a competitive advantage? 

Your audience is online whether you are or not, talking about your product.  Listen, respond, improve and grow.  This gives you a competitive advantage, improves your reputation, offers employee satisfaction (by helping out their customers) and improves productivity.  But, yes, there are still some organizations that believe “it worked for us in the past, so we should keep doing it now” .  Where do you think they will be in 20 years? If you don’t have an integrated communication plan tailored for your organizational needs, with the resources in place to keep it updated (inside staff member and/or a consultant), you are at a serious disadvantage.


Start now!

Do a communication assessment (gap analysis).  Then discuss with a professional communication consultant to develop a strategy that works for your organization. They will know what the most important tactic is to start with, and then how to develop that plan; recommending a strategy to meet your needs and resources. Then get the employees involved!  Create policies and procedures to help them understand your expectations, and build into your schedule training time so everyone stays current with technology, trends, and best practice changes.

Related articles & references

DOWNLOAD & PRINT ARTICLE .pdf>>  5 Reasons you should improve your Business Communications- L Dunkley

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