Faulty internal communication has a major effect on any business. Yours included. It is very important that you conduct an audit to identify the ins and outs of the office negativity. Here are some useful pointers in approaching your internal communications audit.
Here are some key considerations before beginning your audit: flailing morale, fear of job security, bad image from client due to rapid loss of personnel, employees’ perception of the management and opportunity cost because re-training.
- Study how the traffic flows. Pinpoint vital communication channels inside the office. Remember the boss to employee route is not the only route. The employee to employee gossiping is also strong when there is an air of uncertainty. Observe closely all communications. You must learn how to classify them. With enough information you will be able to map out all types of talks that take place.
- Stop, look and listen. After studying the flow of information and communication, you must now spot where the communication goes wrong. This is where the actual message is either twisted or changed. These changes are either done by accident or maliciously. Be careful in identifying this. Be objective and conduct thorough research. Bigger companies are more prone to this kind of information distortion. Identifying the problematic areas of the communication flow is half of your auditing task.
- Talk the talk. With the air of doubt looming you must be able to talk to both employees and management in the proper and conducive manner. The key here is to make the communication channels employee and management friendly. It must be an open forum where attacks will not take place. Achieving this will also earn your trust and both praise from both parties. But more importantly it will ease the tension when both sides can freely discuss their concerns.
- Word from the grapevine. It has been a long debate whether this type of in-house office communication is useful. There are two ways to look at it. The first is in the positive light. Inter department sharing of information and ideas can help foster a stronger office bond. It also makes brainstorming and working together more conducive. The other perspective is the abusive form. Instead of sharing useful data, employees engage in malicious gossiping. This should be stop as soon as possible. Rumors and gossip has a nasty habit of breaking down communication lines. The grape vine can be a really good friend or your worst enemy. So be careful and very thorough when dealing with it.
- Heal the wounds. Coming up with recommendations is also part of the audit. And more often than not, the result is to heal the broken communication line between management and the employees. Here are some ideas that will help you do so. Set up social interaction clubs, conferences, seminars, suggestion boxes, open forums, get-togethers like company picnics, freedom boards and newsletter. When the employees realize that they have a voice and that they can be heard a large chunk of the problem has already been solved.
Company problems no matter how big or small, simple or complex will always be answered by a simple solution, talking. Always make sure that the line of communication is open and free for all to use.