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The importance of internal communication for SMEs

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Last editedMay 20222 min read

Today’s SMEs spend a lot of time considering their communications. However, much of what occupies their attention is outward-facing communications — ensuring that communications with customers are on-brand. While this is commendable, external communications are just one side of a very important coin.

Communication is key to success in business. That includes internal communications within your business. As more and more businesses gravitate towards remote and hybrid operational models, this has spotlighted the importance of internal communications.

Internal communication: why does it matter so much?

Improving your internal communications can have far-reaching effects on virtually every facet of your business operations. It can aid employee cohesion, helping teams feel motivated and united as they work together to achieve operational goals. It can even help to improve cash flow, reducing the time spent with various departments chasing late payments. GoCardless can help maximise these savings by facilitating fast and secure bank-to-bank payments. 

A survey by Towers Watson showed that businesses with effective internal communications enjoy 47% higher shareholder returns than equivalents with poor internal communications. 

Simply put, better internal communications can make your company more effective, more agile, and more cost-efficient. Here we’ll look at some tips to help you improve internal communications without a disruptive and expensive overhaul of your infrastructure. 

Tips to improve internal communication

The first step towards improving communication within a business is to carry out an audit of the company’s current plans. Which tools do you use for internal communications? How often are communications between departments scheduled? Do you have a formalised system for sharing team or employee achievements? How is best practice disseminated?

If you’re shrugging or shaking your head at any of these questions, these should certainly be high priorities. Don’t forget to ask your team how they prefer to communicate. Most will prefer to be spoken with rather than to.

Here are some tips to help you improve internal communications with that in mind. 

  1. Rethink your channels

  2. Are you announcing or engaging?

  3. Establish a schedule

  4. Rethink your office layout

  5. Invest in employee recognition

Let's dive a little deeper into how to improve communications within your business.

Rethink your channels

Today’s workplace is more of a concept than a location, with many employees working remotely on a part-time or full-time basis. As such, conventional communication channels may no longer be fit for purpose. Newer messaging platforms like Slack may be preferable to email to reach employees whether they’re at their desks or not. You can find a roundup of communication tools for remote teams here.

Are you announcing or engaging?

Communication is a two-way street. Whatever communications channel you use, it’s all too easy to use it as a vehicle for your message to the team. However, this can rob the team of their voices. Think about soliciting a response rather than sending a message – engaging, rather than announcing.

Establish a schedule

Your internal communications schedule should go beyond team meetings. It should include daily updates that share your operational goals and let teams know how their work helps your organisation achieve them. It should give them a platform to provide feedback via polls and surveys. It should remind them that you’re never more than a few keystrokes away if they need to talk.

Rethink your office layout

Don’t neglect face-to-face interactions when giving your internal communications an overhaul. Open-plan spaces can be more conducive to collaboration and team building than cubicles. Just make sure that employees have a quiet, solitary space available when they need one. 

Invest in employee recognition

More than 65% of employees don’t feel like their efforts are recognised at work. Even if you have a rewards or bonus scheme, this isn’t necessarily a substitute for employee recognition. Investing in a dedicated employee recognition platform can help you celebrate employee achievements while also sharing best practices.

We can help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

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