All organizations need good internal communication to work effectively, and productivity increases when employees can easily talk to team members and upper management. According to WillisTowersWatson, companies with good communication practices offer their shareholders 47 percent higher total returns than shareholders at other companies. On the other hand, creating a committed, skilled workforce is difficult when employees don’t communicate effectively. Better internal communications also increases employee engagement, builds stronger teams, enhances company competitiveness, and reduces daily conflicts between coworkers. Here are some easy ways to improve internal communication and develop your company’s communication strategy.
Make internal knowledge and documents easily accessible
It can be difficult for new employees to learn how your organization works and how to do their jobs well without training. Even experienced workers occasionally need to double-check company policies and procedures. Most companies have a training or mentorship program for people in new positions.
You should also make internal knowledge easily available via a company wiki. Wikis are excellent internal communication tools for documenting personal information, and for managing knowledge, and details about projects, tasks, and teams. They can also help companies respond to questions and feedback from employees, and they’re especially good for businesses and departments that thrive on creativity. A wiki can make sharing valuable insights with fellow employees easy. Encourage employees to create content for wikis and blogs to communicate with coworkers and current and potential clients.
Launch an internal social network
Social intranet software can improve daily business processes, allow easy retrieval of old conversations, and encourage discussions between employees on everything from the latest project to the best jokes in your industry. It also lets any employee send a message to the CEO or another top executive, as well as easily network with coworkers. People can be more productive when they stay on the company intranet instead of getting distracted by Facebook or Twitter, and many companies are replacing mailing lists with more interesting, interactive social networks.
Create an internal language
You can save time and increase employee engagement by creating an internal language for your company. This could range from a set of acronyms to a vocabulary of made-up slang words based on inside jokes or company principles. An internal language is a fun way to keep things interesting and improve the flow of communication.
Run regular surveys
Use your company’s internal social network and other tools to run regular employee surveys. This way, you can get answers to the most pressing questions in your industry while being aware of what your team feels and thinks. Employees can tell you about problems anonymously, and you can fix any issues before they cause employee or customer dissatisfaction. If a worker needs some new ideas, he or she can even ask the rest of the company.
Companies can use videos to share information in a more entertaining, personal way than by using emails or wikis. Videos are also convenient for people who want to catch up on some work while finding out about the latest company and industry news. According to a 2011 study, 93 percent of internal communications professionals believe that videos have become vital for today’s businesses. Also, Google Industry Trends says that people in the 18-34 age group watch almost 50 percent more online videos than TV.
Entertaining videos can hold people’s attention and help them retain information better than long, dry emails. They can help with training employees and offering them important updates, with showing discussions between top executives and speeches from your CEO, and broadcasting awards and achievements to help increase morale. They can also showcase your company’s benefits and culture in order to attract new employees. The right video can help your company get rid of a surplus of emails, meetings, and documents.
Videos are almost always still available to re-watch in the future, while emails are usually deleted. They’re accessible from desktops, smartphones, tablets, and a variety of other devices. People can use their phones to get various types of information both during their spare time and on the go.
Rearrange your office
Many offices use cubicles and partitions that can isolate employees and make communicating with coworkers more difficult. Rearranging your office and choosing a more open design will help make your company become more productive. It will also make your office a more pleasant place for working and encourage conversations. Some managers and CEOs believe that chatting among employees is a waste of time, but people do need to talk about topics outside work occasionally. That way, people can get to know each other and build trust. You can also get people to socialize more with an employee lounge area, free snacks, and other perks.
Make goals public and lead by example
Make all of your company, departmental, and team goals public, including smaller objectives like increasing recycling. That way, every employee can do all they can to help your business to succeed. You should also create lists of ways employees can help. For example, you can increase recycling by telling employees about local recycling centers and by making sure that recycling bins are available.
Don’t ask employees to complete a task if managers aren’t willing to help. Managers should lead by example. Make sure they do extra things like stay late and simple tasks like emptying the office trash—especially if they ask employees to do these types of chores regularly. A good manager acts like part of the team and receives regular feedback from employees.
Get everyone out of the office
Being stuck in the office for a long time reduces creativity, and it can contribute to allergies, colds, and flus. Getting outside and enjoying a sunny day is a great way to take a break and regain some energy. You don’t even need to stop working. You can temporarily move your team to a park or to a nice beach instead.
You can also have fun and bond with coworkers on a company retreat. Many of these trips are like vacations with fun activities such as skydiving and horseback riding. There often are coaches who lead team building exercises for employees. Attending industry conferences as a team is also a great way to open up communication with coworkers and peers in your field. People can communicate better when they’re not frustrated or fatigued.
Internal communication strategy
Your company’s communications approach
Your communications approach indicates a general strategy for a company and outlines internal communications goals, as well as the ways the achievement levels for those goals will be measured. For example, many businesses work on increasing employee engagement, publicizing company events, and using personalized communication methods.
Also, a communications approach often contains profiles of audience or customer groups. A communications expert or a team of people from different departments writes the communications approach for most companies. A combination of both types of experts can write it as well. It should include enough background information for it to make sense to lower ranked employees, but it should be short enough for people to read quickly.
Your company’s methodology is the same as the key communication principles, practices, and approaches. Not all companies include a methodology in their strategy, but it can help everyone understand important communication concepts. For example, a methodology can tell employees to use simplified, accessible correspondence. It could also tell workers to focus on particular communication channels, like intranet news, blogs, social media, TV, email, print, posters, notice boards, meetings, or office visits from executives.
Your company budget
Corporate communications managers need resources in order to be successful, so you should remember to set aside some money in your company’s budget for communications for this. Good internal communication saves many businesses more than they spend on such resources, and they make companies more attractive to potential employees. Before you decide how much your company should spend on communication, consider the benefits. Better communication can reduce employee turnover, increase your customer service team’s effectiveness, and boost morale. It also helps you avoid lost revenue from misunderstanding and miscommunication.
Effective company communication should be part of a regular daily or weekly routine, not an annual information blast or occasional email. People can easily keep track of company policies with short, regular updates. Communicating is also much less stressful when the process has well-defined rules. Fortunately, technology makes keeping in touch with coworkers and employees easier than ever.
Improving workplace communication is a time-consuming process, and you should use several of these tips at the same time for the best results. In a few months, you will likely see the benefits of such communication improvements.