8 Internal Communication Challenges and Solutions For Your Business

Josh Spilker
October 12, 2023

Constantly answering repetitive questions in the workplace?

Are your employees within and across departments out of sync in regards to the latest and greatest info? And then missing deadlines due to misunderstandings?

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but your workplace probably suffers from ineffective internal communication (IC).

You’re not alone. According to Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s research, 60% of companies have no long-term IC strategy or vision.

However, you don’t want to be part of that percentage. Discover the challenges hindering your growth and solutions for supercharging your internal comms to let your teams and business shine.

What Is Internal Communication?

Internal communication is an information flow across departments to inform, engage, motivate, and align teams with company goals, policies, and culture. It involves two-way channels for daily interactions, feedback, timely updates, ongoing meetings, and knowledge sharing.

Even the best leaders aren’t immune to internal communication challenges. Geolocation, language barriers, misinterpretation, budget constraints, and lack of interdepartmental communication can prevent them from getting the message across.

There’s also a notorious lack of engagement and an inadequate internal communication software choice.

However, you can overcome these obstacles and turn your company into a lean, mean, collaborative machine.

Types of Internal Communication Challenges

Knowing about internal communication challenges will provide the groundwork for you to tackle each head on. Let’s take a look.

1. Poor Interdepartmental Communication

Poor interdepartmental communication primarily affects big corporations. Employees often focus on the projects and tasks within their respective departments without considering other teams. That information silo often causes conflicts between departments and an overall communication breakdown.

After all, interrupted information flow causes employees to lose touch with the ultimate business goals.

  • A synchronized channel for company-wide news is also crucial, whether it’s Slack, Microsoft Teams, email, or anything else.
  • An internal communication software tool such as a knowledge base will create a single source of truth, helping your teams find the answers they need when they need it.

2. Lack of Understanding of Company Policies & Culture

A lack of understanding of company policies and culture can hinder internal communication.

What processes should employees follow in various scenarios? What values shaping your company culture should they embrace? What’s the code of conduct? What about equality, workplace health and safety, technology, remote work, data protection, payment, holidays, vacation, and absence?

Knowing and understanding company policies and culture ensures effective communication.

Otherwise, challenges like a lack of accountability, limited collaboration, privacy breaches, and outdated practices could arise.

The best solution to these challenges is a centralized, well-organized wiki with up-to-date internal documentation. This knowledge-sharing platform can help you tame document chaos, keep everyone in the loop, and scale your business. No one will waste time tracking policy updates to ensure they have the latest version.

However, set up version control to manage document lifecycle and share updates via a company newsletter so everyone knows about the latest changes.

3. Ineffective Communication Methods & Channels

Ineffective communication methods and channels are the bane of many employees’ existence.

According to ZoomInfo research, businesses have an average of 75 tools in their tech stack, which soars to 200 for larger organizations. To say that using all those solutions is overwhelming would be an understatement of the century.

To make matters worse, many organizations rely on outdated technology or tools with limited design functionality. Don’t get us started on their lack of optimization for all devices.

Besides posing security risks, these challenges cause compliance issues, adoption resistance, productivity drops, software crashes, costly delays, and higher IT expenses. Choosing effective internal communication solutions is the key to addressing them.

The same goes for using ineffective communication channels. For instance, using social media apps for business purposes isn’t the best practice security-wise. It can also disrupt your employees’ work-life balance.

Understand which channels work best for in-house and remote teams and get their buy-in before implementation to avoid resistance to change.

4. Miscommunication Between Managers & Employees

Miscommunication between managers and employees can be detrimental to an organization. It brings mistakes, missed deadlines, frustration, decreased productivity, low morale and job satisfaction, and reduced employee engagement.

Whether leaders establish unclear expectations and goals or don’t share them via synchronized channels, they create internal communication roadblocks.

Guess what? Few employees will care about overcoming them if you don’t have an open-door policy. Many might consider jumping ship for a better career opportunity.

Internal communication tools and regular feedback sessions are the best solutions for improving communication between managers and employees.

Foster a culture of transparency, encourage honest feedback, and have productive stand-up meetings. Most importantly, avoid ambiguity and jargon, primarily when there’s a language barrier.

5. Low Employee Engagement & Satisfaction Rates

Gallup’s 2023 State of the Global Workplace report revealed that only 23% of employees are engaged. It’s a record-high percentage.

Other findings are even more eye-opening:

  • 44% of employees experience stress;
  • Engagement has 3.8 times as much impact on employee stress as work location;
  • 51% of workers actively or passively search for new jobs;
  • 85% of quiet quitters would change engagement or culture (41%), pay and benefits (28%), or well-being (16%) in their workplace.

The lack of communication and understanding of company culture and values is the primary culprit for low employee engagement and satisfaction rates. Poor internal comms disengage employees and cause confusion, stress, and frustration. That negatively affects morale, productivity, and turnover. It’s a domino effect.

Did you know that disengagement and low satisfaction rates lead to 18–43% higher turnover rates? On the other hand, businesses with engaged teams enjoy 18% higher productivity, 23% higher profitability, and 81% lower absenteeism.

How can you improve employee engagement and be in that top quartile? The answer lies in data.

Are you feeling shivers down your spine already? You don’t need more spreadsheets on an already busy schedule, do you?

However, you want to measure these numbers. There’s no room for guessing games with employee engagement. You don’t want them to plan an exit route.

An internal communications audit can help you uncover information gaps and ineffective channels and understand engagement across teams and locations. Use analytics tools to track and analyze engagement levels so you can implement targeted internal communications strategies that make your teammates want to stay.

7. Absence of Team Meetings & Company News Updates

All those team meetings that could have been emails. We’ve all been there. Hour-long status updates that don’t require action and leaders sharing information without clear goals, expectations, and outcomes. Who has time for that?

However, the absence of team meetings disconnects managers and employees.

The same goes for the absence of company news updates. If you don’t care about informing employees and promoting communication, why should they care about performance?

Besides a sense of disconnection within the organization, this lack of communication can lead to reduced employee engagement and decreased productivity.

Address this issue by implementing regular, constructive team meetings, using shared communication tools for company updates, and fostering a culture of open and transparent communication.

However, avoid information overload to prevent confusion and disengagement. Did you know that 20.1% of employees receive 40+ daily emails requiring immediate attention? How many of those are genuinely high-priority? So much wasted time.

People-centric internal communication can reduce that noise and help build a transparent culture where every voice is heard.

8. Unclear Expectations & Goals Established by Leaders

Leaders establishing unclear expectations and goals can’t expect employees to meet them. How could they if they don’t understand the outcome? For instance, you might have shared specific efficiency metrics but did nothing to tie them to the company’s mission.

The key to addressing the challenge of unclear goals and expectations is to communicate them consistently and coherently via a shared communication platform.

Here are some internal communication strategies to use:

  • Be specific when conveying goals, expectations, and project deliverables.
  • Use storytelling and examples to help employees visualize data.
  • Explain the benefits of completing specific projects and tasks so employees can understand how their work contributes to achieving the goals.
  • Involve teammates in decision-making.
  • Encourage feedback, be open to ideas, and provide guidance and resources.

These practices will ensure effective communication and align employees with your goals.

Insufficient Resources for Effective Internal Communication Strategies

Many companies’ biggest IC challenge is insufficient resources for effective internal communications strategies. Limited budgets often put internal comms in the backseat because their external counterparts seem more vital.

The truth? Internal comms directly impact external communication results. How? Goal alignment and higher engagement and productivity improve customer service, satisfaction, and loyalty, ultimately increasing sales and ROI.

You can address this challenge by demonstrating the ROI through in-depth analytics. Data gathering and campaign comparison can help you gain insights for eliminating budget constraints.

Let’s not forget about language barriers. Globalized teams often face multilingual communication challenges when leaders don’t have resources for translating messages, instructions, policies, training materials, and other content.

Digital communication presents opportunities for overcoming those roadblocks. Many affordable tools let you create multilingual emails and localize other content for internal comms.

Solutions to Improve Internal Communication Challenges

You’ve already seen some tried-and-tested solutions above, but you must have a strategy. It’s a roadmap to better internal comms and long-term growth.

Develop an Effective Internal Communications Strategy

Here are the necessary steps to develop an effective internal communication strategy:

  1. Audit your existing internal comms plan, including the channels and software.
  2. Define and segment your audience to tailor content according to positions, locations, and expertise.
  3. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals.
  4. Assign IC roles to multiple stakeholders.
  5. Choose adequate software and channels for internal comms.
  6. Define the content types you’ll share to improve communication and drive engagement.
  7. Optimize content distribution to ensure messages get through while avoiding information overload.
  8. Promote the strategy through top management and influential employees across teams.
  9. Track and analyze the progress (e.g., engagement, productivity, profitability, turnover, and customer metrics) to identify areas for improvement.
  10. Gather regular employee feedback to see how your efforts pan out.

How can a well-thought-out internal communications strategy benefit your organization?

A clear plan doesn’t only help you tackle communication challenges. It creates better leaders and makes employees feel valued, inspiring them to stay with the company and contribute more to achieving goals. It also shortens response time in emergencies, preventing issues from escalating.

How Tettra Can Help with Internal Communication

Tettra can be your best ally in overcoming internal communication challenges. It’s an AI-powered knowledge management system for centralizing internal documentation and answering repetitive questions.

It lets you create a knowledge base, organize it with automation and version control, and save time onboarding teammates. Its AI assistant captures questions through a Q&A workflow and provides instant answers using your company docs and stored interactions.

The best part? You can integrate it with Slack or Microsoft Teams so your teammates can get the necessary knowledge without leaving their favorite apps.

Schedule a demo to see it in action and discover how it can supercharge your internal comms, productivity, and engagement.