Businesses these days are very good at communicating with their customers or prospective customers, particularly with the use of social media.
However, how effective are you at communicating with your staff? Communication (or lack of) is still one of the main areas of concern we hear from employees. Are you doing enough to communicate internally?
Here are some ideas you could consider:
These days, it’s almost expected that companies will deliver information through video and this is becoming more common with marketing – the use of YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media channels.
However, many organisations still rely on lengthy emails when communicating with internal departments or to get a message out to the whole business. Video can be a very powerful tool, and you could keep your teams updated on new developments and changes within your company. By using video, this is very engaging, perhaps more entertaining, and is better than reading a long-winded email.
Here are some examples as to how you could use video as part of your internal communication:
- Online training and how-to videos
- Weekly or monthly company newsletters
- A presentation from a Director
- Company-wide meetings where you have more than one site
- Important updates to company procedures
- Interview your employees about a business challenge/suggestion
Keep videos short and punchy, make them conversational, record interviews, and use animations. If you have a marketing department, they could perhaps helpd with the technical side, or Shannon in our team might be able to help if you wanted to explore this further.
Launch an Internal Social Network
Adding internal social networking to your internal communication strategy will encourage people to connect with each other.
Deploying an internal social network is one way to introduce social media into an organisation. Social networking software can be a great information resource for an organization because employees use and contribute to it. Users can also decide on the type of content and the people they want to interact with, similar to what is commonly found on public social sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Regular feedback sessions
Hold regular meetings with your teams and 1-1 and be consistent. If these are daily huddles, hold them daily. If it’s a weekly session or monthly update, hold them when they’re planned. If you get into the rhythm of doing these consistently, and manage the time of the sessions, sharing key information and setting priorities, you and your team will get a lot from it.
Remember, for discussions on performance, you should be creating a culture of observational feedback and giving feedback as and when things happen – don’t wait until a set time of the month to do this, if you see something good give praise and feedback, if something needs to change let them know this too.
Open Door Policy
Empowering your employees to have and share their opinions is one of the most effective ways to improve communication in the workplace. It is also a great way to motivate employees in your business. Rather than settle for what the management team says, encourage two-way feedback and emphasise that their opinions will not affect their standing in the organisation.
Having an open door policy reduces office politics and helps employees realize that their opinions and thoughts matter ... as well as having an impact in the organisation.
Share your Purpose and Core Values
I’ve been reading a few books recently and a common them is around the company values and purpose (or mission/vision). Sharing these with your teams, along with business objectives, drives performance because it creates both a sense of urgency and commitment. By sharing these within the organisation, you are also helping them commit to pursuing those goals in their own way.
Goals and objectives that are publicly available to your employees also help put meaning into metrics. Updating employees on your progress of achieving goals and objectives, with metrics, gives it a whole new meaning ... helping everybody see how their efforts are contributing to the goals. This is a powerful means of improving internal communications to help meet expectations.
Publish a Monthly Company Newsletter
I’m a bit of a traditionalist and I think there’s still a place for an internal newsletter. This can be printed off (not all colleagues are on email or work at a desk) and can be shared in staff areas, notice boards, posted out or emailed. It’s important to remember to include employees who are not in the business, for instance colleagues on maternity leave or off long-term sick. Keep then included in your internal communications, regardless of the forum you use.
Publishing a monthly newsletter gives you an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of your company, its products, and its services. This is especially important for new employees who may need to get acquainted with company processes and procedures. A newsletter can also be an effective tool for updating employees on recent developments and metrics.
You can also include some fun staff – get your teams to help with the content. The use of photos is always positive.
Use Mobile Tools
Today, mobile devices are changing the face of communication for all businesses. The use of smartphones and tablets for work-related sharing has enabled companies to operate across a number of geographic locations and time zones effectively.
Using smartphones and tablets can also greatly improve your internal communications strategy. There are many apps available, like a mobile intranet, that enable companies to push notifications and allow employees to respond right from their own device. This is not only convenient for them, but also ensures communication channels are open at all times for both the management and employees.
The people working for you are what makes your business possible. If communication isn’t working, this will hinder your success, and as you add more people, this becomes more complex. Get internal communication right, and it will really help drive engagement, productivity and help drive your business forward.