Communication — it’s a beautiful thing. When it’s done well.
When multiple departments and individuals coordinate their efforts, they operate more efficiently, save unnecessary effort, and maximize profits.
Unfortunately, too many companies remain stuck in a communication rut…and it costs them. A Gallup report found that 74% of employees feel disconnected and that they’re missing out on company information and news.
Though there are plenty of formal studies around this, you don’t need a formal study to know that disconnected employees are disengaged employees — and disengaged employees cost companies in recruitment and hiring expenses, lost productivity, and lowered team morale. Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity alone, in fact, according to recent estimates.
So what’s a smart, employee focused, forward-thinking company to do?
In my experience working with companies ranging in size from small agencies to large enterprises, and working with industries that have low turnover and high turnover, I’ve found that there are two areas of communication that can make all the difference: staff training and internal communications.
Improve these two areas of communication, and your company will reap the benefits from top to bottom.
Staff Training Is Critical — but It Doesn’t Have to Be Costly
For industries with high turnover, like the energy industry, staff training is a routine budget item. New hires need to absorb a lot of information, and an effective company makes sure they do.
For many companies, though, staff training is an expensive process — and the price is only going up. The 2018 State of the Industry report from ATD states that direct learning expenditures have risen six years in a row, in fact. Organizations spent an average of $1,296 per employee on learning in 2017.
Industry makes a difference in the numbers, of course. That same report found that management consulting firms spent an average of $2,136 per employee, with an average of 38.9 learning hours used; while the direct learning expenditure average for manufacturers was $614, with an average of 30.2 learning hours used.
But the cost of staff training goes beyond the cost of formalized training programs. It takes time for employees to learn the ropes. Until new hires are comfortable working independently, they need supervision, and this divides the attention of those who are training them. With staff dispersed across a region, the challenges are even more complex and the costs even higher.
You can’t shy away from that cost. Training is a necessity. The good news is that you can minimize it.
How to keep training costs low — no matter the size of your organization
First, centralize your training documentation. When you have documentation scattered around an intranet, a shared drive, and three different learning management systems, you’ve got a recipe for wasted time and unnecessary (and potentially problematic) duplication. Put everything in one place.
Second, make sure all of your training documentation is in a format that can be read on any device. Your employees might be using training materials at their desks more often than not — but they might also need to access it from a train on their way to work in the morning (preparing for a sales conversation, perhaps), or from a tablet in a customer’s conference room (looking up the answer to a customer’s question). Make your learning content accessible and device-agnostic.
And third, use a system that allows for version control and single-source updates. Your training materials should be updated every time there’s a change — and if there are multiple versions floating around, this becomes a real problem. Choose a system that enables you to make the change in one place and automatically push it out to users.
With relevant info readily accessible, your new hires can function independently much sooner — upping their productivity, building confidence and taking less time from other staff members. But the benefits don’t end with new hires. Every employee at your company will benefit from better access to quality training material.
Internal Communication Is the Lifeblood of Your Organization — but It May Be a Challenge for Your Employees
Your organization’s internal communications do a lot of heavy lifting. From corporate announcements to supporting initiatives to making leadership visible and accessible, internal communication is how everyone knows what’s going on in the company.
And if your internal comms aren’t humming along like clockwork, it can cause miscommunication, disengagement, and frustration for your employees.
Sadly 51% of organizations say they have no long-term strategy for their internal communications — and that gap is having a direct impact on employees.
- A new study from Ragan found that 56% of respondents are overloaded by email.
- TINYpulse found that only 42% of employees know their employer’s vision, mission and values.
- Gallup reports that only 41% of employees feel that they know what their company stands for and how it’s different from its competitors.
Effective internal communication is a perennial struggle for many companies. Is your team reading your emails? Are they logging into the intranet every day? Are they using up-to-date information? Effective internal communication is vital to keep everyone informed and involved.
But if you’re not using an internal communications process that’s both relevant and reliable, there is no chance your employees are going to stay in the loop.
How to make internal communications relevant and reliable
Relevant communications meet employees where they are. Relevant communications provide information that employees need, in a format that works with their existing workflow, and at the time employees need it.
Reliable communications are easily found and completely trustworthy. Employees don’t have to comb through a million archived messages in multiple channels to find reliable communications, nor do they have to spend time and cognitive energy analyzing a lengthy email forwarded to the whole team from an executive they’ve never met.
To make internal communications relevant and reliable, first you need to organize it in a location that can remain clean, current, and accessible any time, anywhere, from any device.
Email is not the answer.
The average open rate of all internal communications emails sent (including newsletters, bulletins, and events) is 48% — and the average click-through rate of those emails is only 23%. In fact, a McKinsey study discovered that you can free between 7-8% of your employees’ time for more productive tasks if you removed email from their work environment!
Reuters agrees, the channel matters:
“Technology advances have had a profound effect on how organizations communicate internally. Faced with a constantly evolving communication environment, companies need to continuously adjust their strategies and tactics for communicating with internal executives.”
And like with staff training materials, internal communications also need to be centralized in a system that enables employees to find the information they need quickly and easily. This system must also offer single-source updates and automatic delivery.
Turn Your Communication into A Well-Oiled Machine
While some companies are turning to an intranet solution to solve staff training and internal communications challenges, this isn’t an ideal option for everyone. In fact, intranet software can quickly turn into a big, messy file-share where information gets jumbled and buried over time.
Showcase Workshop is a great alternative to an intranet in this case. Though you might know Showcase as a sales and marketing content management tool, for many of our clients it works well for staff training and internal communications as well.
With Showcase, your employees’ tablets become their go-to for announcements and resources. Your team doesn’t need to go out of their way to get updates. Changes are immediately pushed out, comprehensively. No more multiple drafts floating around multiple inboxes, labeled with “final,” “new final,” or “revised updated.” Just revise the source doc directly, and it’s in your employees’ hands.
Want to see how this works in real life? Schedule a demo and we’ll walk you through.