Six Steps to Better Internal Communications
We’ll explore the six simple steps that can help transform your internal communications and lead to a much happier workforce, better productivity and improved retention.
1. Keep communication lines open
It’s important to ensure that all employees feel comfortable communicating with managers and each other. To do this, one-way communication channels won’t cut it. If you’re a CEO sending weekly updates via email, it’s likely your team won’t feel able to reach out to you with questions or feedback. Video updates are brilliant if they offer a way to comment and give feedback on that video. Naturally, as a business leader, you won’t have time to check in with every one of your employees regularly, so ensure that everyone in the organisation understands you’re available if needed. This should be true for your entire leadership team throughout the business. We’ll explore how to do this in the next steps.
2. Encourage two-way communication
Now that it’s clear to all employees how to contact you and their colleagues, encourage conversations. This might be with regular team huddles through video conferencing or comments, reactions and shout-outs on your employee engagement software. Allowing employees to give feedback and offer their insights on projects will have an impact on your business in several ways:
- It will make your team feel valued and understood, inspiring enthusiasm for their work.
- It can lead to some great collaboration and new ideas to grow the business or save money or time for the business.
- It can help productivity, with tasks able to move from one team to another freely rather than being siloed to an individual.
- It will lead to a happier work environment for your team, who, through two-way communication, will feel more connected to their colleagues.
As the head of a business, it’s important to ensure all team members understand how they can get in touch with any leadership team member, and you should make it clear that their contact is welcomed.
3. Use multiple channels of communication
Not everyone learns the same way, so it stands to reason that not everyone prefers to communicate in the same way. Likewise, different kinds of information will benefit from different communication channels. Email is a great way to relate large amounts of information, but it doesn’t inspire a discussion. It’s great for including multiple people in communication that requires a paper trail. For answers to complex questions, nothing is as effective as a conversation, whether in person or using video conferencing software like Zoom. Instant messaging is perfect when colleagues need a quick answer to something simple. Most instant messaging platforms allow group chats, which are great ways to have an informational conversation about something going on with a project that can be quickly and easily resolved. This could be to work out a suitable meeting time, for example. An employee engagement platform like Workvivo is a helpful tool for combining multiple communication channels within one app. It means your team doesn’t need to search for the information across several different platforms, and it encourages two-way communication with comments, reactions and shout-outs.
4. Be timely with your communications
As a business leader, you should set the standard for response times. If employees see you’re too busy or inaccessible, they will assume that it’s also fine for them not to respond to colleagues if they are having a hectic day. The amount of time your business loses to employees giving delayed responses to one another could make a huge difference to the productivity and, therefore, the success of your business. Having multiple platforms, as outlined above, will allow employees numerous ways to communicate and should cut down on time waiting for emails that don’t get answered. Tools like an instant messenger ensure that people are more accountable and build a better rapport with their colleagues through regular communication.
5. Make sure communications are clear and concise
A good business leader will allow their team to communicate in the way that works best for them. However, it can sometimes help to give some guidance to those who would like it. A few simple tips could be:
- Avoid jargon where possible. If there are technical people in your team, they may need to break their message down further so everyone can understand.
- Feel free to use bullet points to convey lots of information.
- Include a clear action for the team members at the end of the message. For example, “Can Fiona please send the client data to Sam by EOD tomorrow.”
- Ask politely for a response from those who need further clarification on your message.
6. Celebrate successes together
A great way for the team to feel more connected is to share news of victories and accomplishments within the company to build team morale. This can be related to the workplace like a team win, a new employee or a promotion. It might be more personal and, with the employee’s permission, celebrate a personal victory like a marathon or a life event like a new home or a wedding. Using the right platform can encourage more interactions from across the team as a response to these successes. It can be something as simple as a like or comment, but it will make the employee in question feel valued and supported. The best platforms mimic the interface of a social media platform to keep employees engaged and make your internal communications feel organic.
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