Don't see the value strategic internal communication brings to your company? Use these tips to sabotage communication at work.
Let’s face it. Workplace communication is tough, and it takes ongoing effort, strategy, and consistency to make it better. I’m sure there are times when it seems like the effort may not be worth the results.
We are already spending most of our effort getting other things done every day—projects, reports, spreadsheets, presentations—do we really need to spend time working on internal communication, too?
The answer is yes. And no. If you want to improve internal communication in your office because you believe in the financial value it brings to your bottom line, then you need to work on it.
But, if you’re just too overwhelmed to add internal communication to your list of things to fix and improve, or if you really don’t see the value and would just like it to go away, here are five sure-fire ways to sabotage internal communication immediately.
#1 - Make sure it takes a really long time for employees to receive important information about big company changes.
By using the traditional “trickle down” model of office communication, which allows top leaders to pass on information however, whenever, and to whomever they choose, your employees are sure to be uninformed in no time.
Of course, even though this method hinders productivity and ultimately reduces profits, it takes much less effort than cutting-short the distribution of news through middle-management and making it immediately available to your front-line employees.
As an added bonus, employees will become disgruntled that it takes so long for information to reach them and will experience negative feelings towards their supervisors and the job itself.
#2 - Do not involve employees early in the change process, consult them, or help them own the new ideas for themselves.
Be as secretive and unapproachable as possible regarding new policies and upcoming changes. Employee buy-in is overrated, right?
The less clear managers are about how the changes will directly affect employees, the more employees will fear, resent, and resist anything new being implemented by the company. Rumors will probably spread about what’s really going on behind-the-scenes with the leadership team, but nobody listens to office gossip, right?
#3 - When you do communicate with your staff, be inconsistent.
The less consistent you are, the less employee participation, interest, and empowerment you’ll have to deal with.
Instead of establishing a regular pattern of communication employees can learn to count on, just communicate whenever you feel like it, which won’t be all that often because what are the actual benefits of having everyone from top leadership to frontline workers on the same page all the time anyway? It’s probably better to keep everyone guessing and not give away power.
#4 - Help new hires as little as possible.
Some companies have super-efficient, thorough onboarding programs for new hires that increase excitement, productivity, and company loyalty. But don’t fall into this trap. Being bogged down with tons of paper-based forms to fill out on the first day, getting lost in the building, and learning the ropes without any training are all just par for the course, right?
Unless you’re concerned about high turnover rates or really low employee productivity, don’t streamline or revamp your onboarding process, especially not with technology.
#5 - Refrain from encouraging your employees or recognizing their efforts.
Even though reports say that 69% of employees would work harder if they were better recognized for their performance and achievements, don’t believe it. Discouraged, disengaged employees still show up at work, don’t they? They’re still getting work done…probably.
And budgets are tight. The costs of actually improving employee engagement with programs and rewards versus fewer profits, less productivity, and increased staff turnover all evens out in the end, right?
Although this is by no means a complete list of all the many ways you can sabotage internal communication at work, these five tips should get you off to a good start.
If, however, you feel like you’d rather not make internal communication more difficult than it already is and you would like ways to improve it, check out some of my other blog posts or download a free checklist with helpful internal communication tips.