How Businesses Large And Small Benefit From Internal Communications
As a business manager or owner, how often do you speak to your staff? It can often feel like there is a huge divide between management and the front line workers in a firm. This can sometimes lead to resentment, misunderstanding, and a lack of productivity from everyone. Maintaining good working relationships rely on good internal communications. Unfortunately, working life makes it hard to open the channels of two-way communication.
Companies rely on every member of staff to deliver results. Do your employees truly understand what it is you want them to achieve and why? And does your team feel that their results matter to the company stakeholders? If you’re not sure of the answers, there is a chance your internal communications could be to blame. Opening up a dialogue isn’t easy, though. It takes planning, careful execution, and regular maintenance. This is needed to ensure communication between all your employees is effective.
Tell people what other employees have achieved. You can do this through the company newsletter. Add a photo of you presenting them with a certificate. Even if you’re not great at taking photos you can use software packages like Photoshop to give them a professional polish. You can then use a Photoshop file format guide to using the same photo across different media.
Post memos and leaflets for activities in staff rooms and on notice boards. Sometimes printed messages can be more impactful and more noticeable than something in your email inbox. Use colorful fonts and images to make the message stand out. Always add contact details so people can get hold of you to find out more.
If you’re looking to drive sales and push profits up, you may be wondering how to stimulate productivity from your workforce. Productivity can increase and decrease in line with the level of job satisfaction and motivation an employee has. Lots of things can affect motivation. But you can personally take responsibility for their job satisfaction. Staff needs to feel connected to their job. This could be achieved through workplace relationships or a sense of feeling needed and valuable. How can you nurture the team dynamic, or make an individual feel integral?
Why not publish a short profile of the employee or the team on the company intranet? The more people inside the company hear of others’ successes, the more they will strive to achieve it too. Rewards systems work better when they are shared and applicable to everybody. Such publications can be used as part of their self-assessment evidence portfolio too.
Nurturing team building can be achieved by providing forums and activities for the group. Internal communications can be used to promote outside interests as well as company activities. Use short videos to drive healthy eating initiatives, or to demonstrate new product developments. Be sure to encourage your staff to participate in videos and articles that will be seen by the rest of the company. A message from one employee to the next can be a powerful communication.
There are plenty of easy-to-use video editors. You can even use your tablet or smartphone to film them. Always try to script your videos. This will help you stay focused on the message you’re trying to convey.
PR & HR
Internal communications are also an important part of your company’s PR campaign. Positive employees will speak positively about your business. This will encourage more people to apply for jobs with you, giving you a better resource pool for talent. If employees are disgruntled, the damage from their complaints on social media can be very hard to overcome. It can lead to more internal problems from the workforce too.
You can encourage positive feedback from employees with satisfaction surveys. Even if employees aren’t entirely happy, a forum to discuss problems will lift their responses. Give them an outlet for this, and provide opportunities for them to regularly reach out to management. This might be through a survey, or you may use video conferencing to enable everyone to meet.
Background and Knowledge
While your orientation and basic training schemes may be top notch, new employees need time to get to know your business and its products. Internal communications can be used to keep all staff apprised of product developments. Inform them of staff changes and company results too. Few employees will read a trade magazine cover to cover. If you can summarize a few key marketplace or industry news articles, it means everyone can stay up to date.
Knowledge is power in business. Give your employees all the information you can. You never know where the next big idea will come from, after all. Internal communication opens up the opportunity for everyone to speak freely to everyone else. It gives managers the chance to help their teams be more creative and develop new ideas to support the business growth.
Many large firms can afford to hire an Internal Communications Manager. But even the smallest of companies can work to ensure that the entire team has a chance to contribute. Two-way communication can be tricky to set up when everyone has their own job. Some managers may be afraid to let their subordinates have access to key data or to submit new ideas above their head.
To ensure it works well, provide the forum. Develop a company intranet that staff can have access to. This is one of the best places to post messages and important information. Like any website, you can update it and use the front page to highlight the latest news. Email messages can be just as effective, but it can be tricky to keep contact details up to date without regular data cleansing. Inviting everyone to post anything they like can result in many trivial messages. These could bury what you may consider being essential information. Appoint someone to monitor the communications. They can then be appropriately filed and displayed as required.
Some of the best ideas come from collaboration. An effective internal communications plan allows every member of staff to contribute. It also recognizes and rewards those that work hard to develop the business. Most importantly it breaks down the invisible wall that can divide management from their employees. Use internal communications to ensure everyone is working together.