Building a connected communication strategy

Hot desk to boardroom

Bill Gates is quoted as having once said “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other.”

From a human resource point of view, Gates’ words hold real significance when thinking about ways to improve (and continuously re-evaluate) a business communication strategy so that it remains purposeful and gives a clear picture about where the company is headed in the short and long term. Ongoing research by Grammarly demonstrates that poor communication costs companies $16,455 annually, per employee. While communication is on the rise the effectiveness has declined highlighting that if companies want to unlock the full potential of their workforce they need to prioritise a connected communication strategy to support and achieve sustainable growth. 

We often speak to clients who are struggling to balance traditional communication methods with more modern approaches. They are juggling an array of communication styles in a hybrid work environment. It’s clear their process and protocol for “internal” communication requires a constant review of the approach to adapt across new workplaces, spaces and generations who are shaping the future of business, but often they’re not sure where to start.

Get the message right

Understanding your audience and ensuring you have a clear and concise message will go a long way in ensuring the communication lands. If you don’t communicate well people will fill any information gaps they perceive. And this could be different depending on the demographics and generational preferences within your unique organisation. In addition, an employee will have exposure to multiple internal channels of information that they need to make sense of.

The trick is to humanise your message as much as possible and in the context of the organisational goals and deliverables, especially where you are communicating or interpreting a high level of data or information.

Take the time to prepare and plan your message in advance. How clearly could you paint an exciting and compelling picture of your company right now to a group of newbies? Would your existing team say they clearly understand where the business is headed in the short and long term? Is there a well-defined plan that old and new employees are following every day to set themselves and the company up for future success? There is no right or wrong here but invest adequate time to get your message right.

Educate and give context

As a leader, your primary job while building a connected communication strategy that will resonate is facilitating critical thinking, educating and encouraging teams to find the right ideas and solutions for business problems.

Be willing to start quality conversations with all your employees, especially the more junior staff, on a regular and consistent basis to help foster an environment of collaboration. And it starts at the top. Successful CEOs know that their soft-skills and communication set the tone for the leadership team and the entire organisation and inspires others to follow suite.

Even though you are the leader, thanks to the social media and ‘sharing-economy’ age we now work in, multiple generations are comfortable with the idea of having casual and open conversations with their leaders and managers about how they are doing personally at work, problems they are experiencing or sharing ideas about changes they’d like to see happen in the company.

If there is merit in an idea or insight they’ve shared, then let them know and help them understand the best business case for making it happen. You may need to help them understand the timeframe, goals, tracking measures and the resources required to be put in place first.

Make communication everyone’s business

If you do commit to providing opportunities for idea sharing or holding regular meetings to set and review targets or mentoring younger staff, it is really, really important that you commit to this on a regular basis.

Practically speaking, connecting your teams through an enhanced, open communication strategy doesn’t always need to be done in person, one-on-one. Use technology to your advantage and embrace the tools you have at your disposal or that could enhance knowledge sharing and virtual connectivity. This can assist in bridging geographical distances and enable seamless communication, further strengthening the bonds of connected leadership.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to communicate and connect.

Talk to our Executive Search team to find the right type of leadership for your organisation.