Poor internal communication can be detrimental to all companies and businesses regardless of their size. Employees need to be able to communicate easily with their colleagues and their management because if they can’t then this reduces efficiency and productivity which can lead to a loss in profits overall.
Too often people are not being told valuable information or receiving confusing contradictory messages are coming from areas. To help your company continue to grow and succeed you need to take a look at how well your internal communications system is working. Here are 13 of the top ways to improve internal communication in your company.
- Use Task Management Software
Using task management software is a great way for everyone to be aware of what tasks everyone else is doing and when they are expected to be done. The professionals behind https://www.indigoworkplace.com/solutions/digital-signage say that it’s important to find means that will allow you to schedule content, share documents, send out alerts, and access to communication templates. Part of the problem for internal communication is that processes become over-complicated and it becomes harder to keep track of who is doing what and when. So remove that unnecessary complication by using task management software. Aside from being a simpler system, it also boosts productivity and efficiency. This is because employees are able to access everything they need in one place. It reduces the time wasted when people are searching through endless documents in the wrong places.
- Use Slack
One of the biggest obstacles to good internal communication is unnecessary emails. Nobody enjoys checking their email and generally when people are busy at work the last thing they want to do is go and see what that latest email was to add on top of their already piled-up workload. So when people don’t check their emails, or others are sending emails that require urgent responses then everything gets slowed down when it doesn’t have to be like that. Instead, opt to use instant messaging services which are designed to be used in the workplace. If someone has an urgent inquiry it is easier to send a quick message on slack as opposed to waiting for someone to go through their emails before getting to yours.
Another benefit to slack is that you can have multiple channels, and so each department can have a channel to communicate on as well as company-wide channels for bigger announcements that everyone needs to see. It also offers the option for one-to-one messaging which is far more efficient than email.
- Create Open Dialogue
Another way to improve internal communication is to create an open dialogue. Be transparent with your company and keep employees up-to-date on company goals, plans, and any changes. This keeps employees in the loop and this will encourage them to communicate better as they have a better understanding of where the company is heading and what it is trying to achieve. How you facilitate this dialogue is up to you but it could be done via a monthly newsletter or bi-weekly at company-wide meetings. Remember, the key here really is to be transparent because employees will need to know both the good and the bad things that are happening in the company they work at.
- Provide Regular Training
It is important to remember that not everybody is going to be a technology guru and often poor communication can come down to not being equipped with the necessary skills. Training can be facilitated by an in-house employee who knows the system well. For example, if you are conducting a training session on how to use Slack and Trello you do not need to get a professional trainer to do this. Regular training allows people to refresh their skills and stay on top of the game. There will be some training that you need to hire an external trainer for but consider it an investment when this training can help improve the productivity of your team. Simple sessions on how to communicate with one another both online and offline can make a big difference.
- Plan External Events
Another way to improve internal communication is to try and foster relationships within the company, and what better way to help people get to know each other than with a fun, not a corporate-based event. These events can be big or small, but typically companies chose to host a holiday party, go to the pub or host a happy hour after work. This helps employees bond with one another and some may even form genuine friendships. The stronger the connections are the better because this will lead to increased engagement and stronger communication. So remember to plan team bonding days and events whereby your employees can blow off a little steam and get to know each other outside of the office.
- Encourage Face-To-Face Conversations
While the pandemic has certainly complicated this, face-to-face conversations are a much better way to communicate than relying on the back and forth communication via email. One day when we are all allowed back in the office again, it is important to encourage your employees to engage with each other in person. Messages can be easily misconstrued and forgotten about, whereas a conversation in person is far more effective as it is more memorable and leaves less room for mistakes. It also speeds things up, and time is not wasted as people wait around for replies. A conversation is instant and allows employees to be getting on with matters.
Aside from it benefitting productivity, it also creates a more open environment where people are not just hunched over at their desks all day ignoring one another. It is important to get up, move around and interact with others for both your physical and mental well-being.
- Host Daily Stand-Up Meetings
Hosting daily stand-up meetings is a great way to get everyone together for no longer than 15 minutes in the morning for a speedy briefing. This time is allotted for news updates, notices of any changes, and for celebrating key milestones. Every department has a chosen speaker who will give a very quick update on where their team is at and what they are working towards and what they have achieved. This keeps everyone in the loop and improves cross-departmental communication. However, these meetings must be kept to a minimum because nobody wants to be starting their day annoyed because the stand-up went on forever unnecessarily. The idea is that it is short and sweet, so that way everyone gets the information they need to get on with their day.
- Lead By Example
If you want employees to practice the rules you are trying to enforce on them, then you need to practice what you preach. If you want people to improve their best practices for internal communication then be the example that they learn from. Management has to be seen doing what they are asking for, otherwise, people will not take it seriously. How senior management leads is important because they can set the tone, so if management is showing their company in a positive light that values their employees then this will encourage staff to rise to the job that is being asked of them.
Communication can only work effectively if both parties are engaged, so whatever the circumstance, whether it be cross-departmental or between teams and individuals the management in those areas needs to be setting the perfect example and helping to encourage those conversations.
- Engage Not Announce
A sure-fire way to lose a person’s interest is to talk at them relentlessly as opposed to talking with them. While internal communications are going to be a lot of one-sided news being filtered through the company, invite your employees to have a chance to respond to the news. Whether that is replying via email, commenting on a blog or having an in-person conversation. You do not want your internal communication system to be one-way traffic, otherwise, your employees will begin to feel as though their voice does not matter. There are small ways to help engage staff, for example, if it is a company-wide meeting then ensure that you allow enough time in the end for questions. Do not rush through these as it is important to show that you are listening and actively engaging with them. It is a small gesture but it will go a long way.
- Be Consistent
Your internal communications system must work systematically and consistently. If you keep changing methods and tactics people will end up confused and frustrated, but more importantly, the system will collapse because everyone will be following different rules. It is okay to trial and test methods until you have the right one, but make sure that staff is clued up on what is happening and offer them training to keep them up to date.
- Recognize And Reward
Recognizing the efforts and successes of your employees is vital for several reasons. Firstly, it shows them that they are appreciated and it will make them feel good about themselves and the job that they are doing. Having happy employees will create a healthy, happy working environment which is crucial for the success of any business. So, if you see an employee continuously showing best practices for internal communication, then praise and recognize this person. Ideally, you want to be generous with this and make the praise and reward very public. This way your other employees will see that their hard work will not go unnoticed. You might find that a generous reward will also incentivize others to put in the hard work too. This tactic is a real win-win for all those involved as it increases the use of best practices, boosts productivity, increases morale, and makes the company look good too.
- Listen To Your Employees
At the end of the day, your company would be nothing without its employees, so make sure that their opinions and voices are being heard. If they are telling you that something is not working then listen to them and ask them how they would fix it. By acting upon employee requests it shows that you care and make them feel valued by the company. Obviously, everything has to be within reason, but if they said that Slack was not effective for them as a team for example, then ask them what they think would be more effective instead. Gallup conducted research that found only 30% of employees feel like their voice is listened to. If you show your team that you are willing to listen and work together then this sets the tone for a healthy, communicative conversation.
- Stick To A Schedule
This point might appear relatively trivial at first glance, however, having a consistent schedule in place gets employees working in a routine. You want your company to run like a well-oiled machine and one way to do this is by implementing a regular routine for all employees to follow. This way they know when to expect communication-related meetings, news updates, emails, blogs, and newsletters. If these things happen on an ad-hoc and erratic basis you will find that engagement with these channels will deplete. This is more important than ever with the arrival of Covid-19 as many of us are working remotely, which means it can be easy to forget about meetings and feel disconnected from work. A strong, consistent schedule will help employees remain engaged with their company and their job. This is important in a time like this because when everything else is so uncertain and unpredictable, at least their job will be a source of reliability and consistency.
Improving the way that your company communicates internally is no small feat. Often bad habits will have been in place for years and so it can take some time to undo bad practices. However, it is so important that you and your company invest the time to improve your internal communication as this will make your company more productive, more efficient, and increase profit intake.