Why you need to align internal communications with business goals

Odds are, your company started out with a mission in mind. This is the reason you set out. It defines what makes you unique, what separates you from the competition and it gives you a purpose for your work. Your business as a whole needs an end goal in order to be successful. It’s crucial for you and your employees to be on the same path with their eyes on the same prize. Internal communications is what helps this initiative come together.

Your mission is your destination, but it’s also your foundation. A business goal is not something that one day you’ll achieve and your quest will be over. A business goal is the way that you’ve chosen to define your journey. It’s also the basis on which you should communicate with your team. How and when you reach out to your team should reflect the goals you’re trying to achieve.

Here are three benefits to starting with the end in mind:

1) You need a road map to know where you’re going. The strategic communications plan helps to keep everyone moving in the same direction. It’s what provides the structure on which you can build employee engagement in reaching those business objectives. As an example, let’s say one of your company’s business objectives is to increase innovation through collaboration. When you know that’s a focus, you can choose channels that support that goal, like an idea-vetting site or collaborative features on your intranet. Even before you start developing your messaging, you’ve begun to pave the way for changing employee behavior.

2) It allows you to be more proactive. There will always be late breaking news or changes that require turning on a dime, but with a plan in place, you’ll minimize your need to be reactive or tactical. A clear plan provides you with the luxury of being proactive. For instance, perhaps somewhere in the company’s future, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll be bought by another company. Well before you reach that juncture, you can lay the groundwork for smoother change by building employee trust in management. You might decide to add a weekly CEO blog to your mix, to provide two-way communication channels or even to find opportunities for leadership to share some bad news as well as the good, to assure employees that management communicates honestly and transparently.

3) It helps you create synergy. A well-developed plan helps your communications become larger than the sum of their parts. You can use some channels to build traffic to other channels, or look for places you can weave in underlying messages. Perhaps you’ll realize your recognition communications are a good place to include messaging on the company vision and values. There are any number of ways your communications can support or build on each other.

 

TRIBE TRIVIA: Offline Workers and the Company Vision

Q: True or False: Non-desk employees, such as those on the manufacturing line or in the retail stores, see a direct link between their work and the success of the company vision.

A: False, for 78 percent of them, according to Tribe’s national research with non-desk employees. Only 22 percent of respondents said they feel their job is important to the company vision. Only 10% feel strongly connected to the company itself at all, with almost half, at 47 percent, saying they feel connected only to their immediate work group.

For more information about this study, see Tribe’s white papers and other resources on the expertise page of tribeinc.com, or contact Steve Baskin, President and Chief of Strategy at Tribe. 

Some non-desk employees come with PhDs

Non-desk employees are a hard-to-reach audience for internal communications, because they’re moving targets. Rather than sitting in front of computers all day, they’re generally up on their feet.

These non-desk employees are often frustrated by their lack of communication from corporate. In Tribe’s national research with non-desk employees, we’ve found that this is frequently interpreted as a lack of respect for their contributions to the success of the company.

The non-desk audience in most companies is predominantly made up of hourly workers. The employees out on the manufacturing line, in retail stores, behind fast food counters and out in delivery trucks sometimes feel corporate is out of touch with the realities of their work.

But the non-desk audience also includes people with advanced degrees pulling down major salaries. The nurses and physicians in hospital settings are generally interacting with patients more than they’re sitting behind desks. Engineers out on oil rigs or in heavy industrial settings fall into this group as well.

As with any non-desk audience, Tribe recommends looking for unique touchpoints. What are the physical realities of that particular non-desk employee’s day? Those working the ER will have a dramatically different physical environment than an engineer in a paper mill.

The point is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to non-desk communications. That’s why a period of discovery is so important a the beginning of strategic development.

We recommend approaching this with a sense of curiousity about how non-desk employees spend their days. Only when you understand what it’s like to walk a day in their shoes can you being to develop new solutions. Don’t let the hourly workers be right about corporate being out of touch with the realities of their work.

Interested in new touchpoints for reaching your non-desk employees? Tribe can help.