What it Means
Organizational communication refers to the flow of information, ideas, and feedback within and across different levels and departments of a company. This could include everything from company-wide announcements, team meetings, and one-on-one discussions to emails, instant messages, and informal chats. Effective organizational communication involves creating clear, open, and effective channels for dialogue, ensuring messages are understood as intended, fostering a culture of feedback and openness, and using communication as a tool for building alignment and engagement.
"What do I know? Who needs to know it? Have I told them?"
Communications management refers to the systematic planning, implementing, monitoring, and revision of all the channels of communication within an organization, and between organizations. It includes aspects such as internal communications (among team members), external communications (with customers, partners, vendors), and crisis communications. Other key concepts related to communications management:
Communication Planning: Identifying who needs what information, when they will need it, and how it will be given to them.
Information Distribution: Making necessary information available to project stakeholders in a timely manner.
Performance Reporting: Collecting and distributing performance information, including status reports, progress measurements, and forecasts.
Managing Expectations: Communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs and address issues as they occur.
Why it Matters
Clarity and Understanding: Clear communication ensures everyone understands the company's vision, goals, and expectations, reducing confusion and errors.
Collaboration and Efficiency: Good communication fosters teamwork, coordination, and productivity.
Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Employees who feel informed and heard tend to be more satisfied and engaged, which can lead to better performance and lower turnover.
Innovation and Problem-solving: Open communication channels encourage the sharing of ideas and feedback, leading to innovation and quicker problem resolution.
Change Management: During periods of change, effective communication is vital to explain the reasons, address concerns, and guide employees through the process.
Let's consider a tech startup that's growing quickly. As they scale, they find that important information often gets lost, employees feel left out of the loop, and there's confusion about company decisions and direction.
To improve organizational communication, the leadership team adopts a multi-faceted approach. They introduce regular company-wide meetings where they share updates, celebrate successes, and discuss challenges. They also start a monthly newsletter to keep everyone informed about company news.
Leadership encourages managers to have regular one-on-one check-ins with their team members, fostering open dialogue about individual goals, performance, and concerns. They also introduce a company-wide instant messaging platform to facilitate collaboration and communication across different teams.
This multi-channel approach ensures information flows more freely and everyone feels more connected and aligned.
Stack it - Resources & Tools
Tools: Tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams facilitate instant messaging and collaboration, while email platforms like Outlook or Gmail are essential for formal communications. Video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Meet support remote communication.
Frameworks: The 'SCARF' model (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) can help understand how communication can impact employees' engagement and performance. The 'RACI' model (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) can clarify communication roles and responsibilities in project management.