February 27, 2019  |  by Lisa Koetz

Bill Gates once said, “Like a human being, a company has to have an internal communication mechanism, a ‘nervous system’, to coordinate its actions.” But what exactly is internal communications and why does it matter?

Internal communications is the lifeline of an organization. It can be defined as the sharing of information internally within an organization, usually for business purposes, and is key to helping improve employee engagement. And, the channels in which information is dispersed can vary depending on what type of information is being shared, its level of importance, and the specific audience within the organization the message needs to reach. Whether it’s via email, an intranet page, in-person, social media, video conference, etc. they all play a key role in communicating and sharing information within an organization.

Why does it matter?

The majority of organizations spend a lot of time (and budget) thinking about and executing public relations plans, content marketing strategies, etc. to reach an external target audience and help improve the bottom line. While it’s important to communicate with an external audience, it’s equally (if not more) important to communicate with those inside your organization and to have an internal communications strategy in place as your employees should be considered your most important audience. And that communication is critical to helping employees understand and stay aligned to the company’s mission and values, which helps ensure everyone is working toward a common goal.

Furthermore, when employees are kept informed on a frequent and consistent basis and can easily communicate with their team members as well as upper management, they feel better connected — to each other and with managers and leadership — and that, in turn, helps build a mutual trust and can positively impact the company’s culture. It can also lead to higher employee engagement, increased productivity, and increased job satisfaction — which, together, can lead to lower turnover and help the organization drive positive business results. In fact, a 2012 study by McKinsey & Company concluded that good internal communications  drives 25% higher employee productivity, unlocking trillions in value.

Without an internal communications strategy in place, employees feel unvalued, disconnected, and unheard — leading to a decline in morale and performance for both employees and the company itself. If your organization doesn’t have an internal “nervous system” in place, it’s never too late to think about incorporating one. Employees, after all, are the heart and soul of an organization. With a solid internal communications strategy in place, employees will keep the organization running and create positive results.