An inconsistency in your message destroys trust

Establishing a culture of trust and loyalty within an organisation is hugely important. With an empowering and unifying atmosphere inside an organisation companies have a better chance of weathering today’s storms, achieving their ambitions and keeping their greatest asset – their people. To establish and sustain such a culture an organisation needs to be effective with their internal communications. Internal communication is the life blood of any organisation.

 
Over the years I’ve run many employee focus groups and interviews for clients to discover what attributes of their internal communication initiatives have and haven’t worked for them.

One issue raised repeatedly is the importance of consistency. 

A sure-fire way to kill an initiative you want to roll out across your organisation is to create inconsistency in what you communicate, release some messages that conflict with others or allow your central message to be changed by each local bias as it moves from team to team. Any new initiative or change programme is likely to cause an increase in employee anxiety, stress and disturb their sense of loyalty; and to that mixture some inconsistency or conflict in the communication and you will just make things more unstable – the opposite of what you want to achieve.

Any inconsistency in your message destroys the trust and loyalty across your team.

It is a major challenge to secure that the transfer of the central message right throughout an organisation. The message that starts at the top of a company needs to be the same when it reaches the bottom. Any important new message will start with vitality and energy as well as having a significant purpose. Ensuring that key message is spread across an organisation without distortion and any loss of the vitality and energy key to the success of the initiative.

What can help create conformity?

  1. There needs to be a central communication team or office ideally with communication professionals involved. Without a dedicated, effective internal communications team, an organisation allows un-appointed individuals to determine what information (or disinformation) is communicated to the population at large. Remember –  if you don’t provide the right information to your people they will make their own up and it is unlikely to be in alignment with yours.
     
  2. Map the official and unofficial communication channels across the organisation and capture the current traffic. Monitoring what is already in circulation ensures you know what is being said. Both the content and the volume of traffic can be sources of competition and conflict with your new message.
     
  3. Map all other initiatives going on across the organisation through discussions with senior stakeholders and the heads of all departments. While this may seem obvious, too often, communications with conflicting messages come from different departments unconnected with your project; the result is confused and resistant employees.
     
  4. With the above three elements in place you have the opportunity to build your new message within the reality of your world. Make sure messages are clear, consistent and credible. Ideally ensure the message uses the words and phrases of your key audience rather than those that created the initial ideas. 
     
  5. Ensure that all information is accessible, accurate and accountable. In this always on wifi world many of us have become accustomed selected our own source of information, whether it is online, email, town hall gatherings or face-to-face, accessibility is often the key. Give people as much choice and control over the access to the information that you can. It should go without saying that all internal information must be accurate and one way of making that more apparent is to ensure it is made clear that the information is coming for a credible and accountable source within the company. When people know who owns the message and how to reach out to them the dynamics change. 

If you’d like more information on how to create consistency and conformity with your internal communication – just contact us here

 
 
 
 

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