By Ciaran Holland.
Today, we’re taking a look at 23 proven ways to improve internal communications within your organization.
But before we jump into that, let’s talk about why internal communication is so important in the first place.
In the workplace, the quality of communication generally reflects the health of the organization.
Despite this data, it seems like companies still view internal communications as an expense rather than a potential revenue driver. This approach will ultimately lead to employee-related problems such as low engagement and retention and more challenging employee acquisition.
Fortunately, there are many approaches to improving internal communication.
Resources to create the culture you’ve always dreamed of
Start with You
Everyone wants to have open and communicative colleagues, but how would you rate your own communication skills? Many people realize that they can improve the way they share ideas and information with others, and that’s why examining the way you communicate is a great place to start.
Your role as a leader is to establish a culture of open internal communication and set a standard for the way people communicate within your company. You should always remember that great communication starts with you, so evaluating your communication skills will make your colleagues follow your lead.
Check-In with Your Employees
Getting in touch with your employees on a regular basis is essential to improve internal communications. A great way to start is by planning in-person or online meetings every few weeks to discuss projects, personal issues, or the organization as a whole.
Encourage your employees to share their thoughts and opinions. Do they have some recommendations or complaints? What do they think about the company and the work given to them?
If you respect and value your staff’s opinion, you’ll see massive improvements in your company culture and communication.
Learn More About Your Employees
No two people are alike, and everyone prefers to send and receive information differently. How do your staff like to communicate? Do they prefer to chat on their smartphones or via surveys and newsletters? What about face-to-face communication?
Knowing all the nuances of the way your team communicates will help you greatly. You’ll be able to create a more effective plan for consistent workplace communication that will keep employees engaged and informed.
You may also ask your colleagues for their opinion on how both you and your organization could improve communications. Collecting this sort of information doesn’t necessarily require a formal survey. However, it would be best to just start asking around.
Nothing will make your team feel more valued and appreciated than you reaching out in person to find out what their needs are. It also shows that you’re willing to act on it, which is always a plus for employee morale.
After you know which channels your employees prefer, you’ll be able to find the ones that best fit your message. You should use your creativity to come up with unusual ways to spread information. For instance, giving executives and experts a chance to share their unique points of view. It will encourage your people to have some fun while spreading their ideas.
Take a Look at Your Current Internal Communications Plan
Improving your internal communications is impossible if you don’t know the root cause of your problems. As a start, you should ask yourself how many channels your organization uses. Methods like email, team chats, video conferencing platforms, and even the telephone all have their particular pros and cons.
However, some are likely to be more efficient than others. For instance, email is not the best way to have a conversation with someone, and that’s why some companies favor social intranets and collaboration tools.
Create a list of your current internal communication tools and make an honest evaluation of the ones you think are working and the ones that need to be updated or remove.
When you start making changes, look for tools that allow you to be diverse in your communication methods and make it easy to experiment with different formats. There are several ways you can choose – interviews, reports, debates, videos, comics, commentary, podcasts, infographics, webinars.
Let your digital communications landscape become your competitive advantage. Download our latest book ““The Digital Communications Landscape: Getting it Right” here.
Create an “Open Door” Policy
Scheduling a time to talk with your employees encourages them to feel comfortable bringing issues to your attention whenever necessary. It’s a great way to improve internal communications and will motivate your employees while making you more approachable.
However, don’t be shy about inviting people to come in. Your door could be wide open and still have no one coming through it. It would be best to lead by example by getting up from your desk and making your own rounds.
Another way to do this is to implement scheduled communication that empowers your employees, build bonds of trust, and creates a culture of free and open communication in your organization. Take time to meet with your staff as often as you feel it’s necessary. Also, invite them to group discussions about projects, tasks, and the situation in your company as a whole.
Another great option that serves a practical purpose is daily standup meetings. The more you remind your team about the current status of their tasks, the better. They can be held either in person or via video conferencing, and they don’t have to last longer than ten minutes.
If you have the privilege to have your entire team located in a one-time zone, try scheduling your meetings at the same time every day, ideally at the beginning or the end of working hours. But if your staff is all over the world, try to find a time that works for everyone.
Encourage More Regular Conversations
Some managers and CEOs think engaging in regular conversations with their employees is slacking. However, as a communicator, you already know how important it is to build productive bonds. But guess what – that’s impossible if all you ever talk about is work.
A vital aspect of every relationship is engaging in normal conversation. If your employees want to have casual discussions or debates during the workday, you should allow them to do so, all within reason. The biggest reason to have informal communication is that often, your most lively content can come from it. All great ideas come from the heart and soul of the organization – its employees.
Are there any issues in society or business that everyone is talking about? With a little research, you can easily relate such matters to your audience.
Make Internal Knowledge Easily Available
Not all communication is person-to-person or individual-to-people. There is also information. No matter what industry you’re in, document management and knowledge sharing are essential daily tasks. That’s why you need your employees to be able to find files, photos, and answers easily.
The company’s social intranet will centralize all this information and put it at the fingertips for your entire organization. If you want to improve internal communications, start with how your staff finds relevant information.
Use Social Media
In recent years, more and more businesses started realizing how powerful social media is. Especially for engaging with customers. However, only a few of them understand that they can harvest the power of social media to improve internal communications.
Encourage your employees to like, comment, and share interesting posts that relate to your organization. In addition, you can use social tools within your intranet to reap the benefits of social media in the daily activity of your business.
Allow your employees to share their thoughts and interests to create meaningful, work-related conversations. It’s a great way to match up relationship-building to your business objectives.
Reorganize Your Departments
If finding information in your departments is hard and messy, you can’t expect to have effective internal communication.
Use your intranet to organize your teams and the people and information within those teams. You can turn it into the go-to place for finding and accessing data.
Heads of departments can also instantly communicate with members by sharing documents and sending updates through an internal notification system.
As a result, management can easily contact members, and members can access documents and information on-demand.
However, all of this starts with analyzing your teams, the people in them, and the way these people communicate within and across groups.
Create Internal Language Within Your Company
In some cases, the best way to improve internal communications and employee engagement is to create an internal language. It can include acronyms used every day to describe aspects of business, or made-up words inspired by your company’s inside jokes.
It’s a fun exercise that will keep things interesting throughout the week. There is no doubt that it will improve internal communications and make them more fun and free-flowing.
List A Common Goal
Every organization has a common goal that drives it. You’ll strengthen your staff’s productivity and eliminate confusion by identifying, clarifying, and reinforcing this objective.
Remember, there is nothing more important to a team than everyone being on the same page.
Openly Reward Your Employees
When expectations are set, people deliver. You should recognize your employees’ efforts when they go above and beyond on a task and ensure that recognition is made public.
There are two reasons to do that.
Firstly, it acknowledges and rewards good behavior. We, as humans, like to receive recognition, especially when working toward an overarching goal. Receiving a one-to-one recognition by your manager is nice, receiving that in front of your colleagues, even your entire company, is even better!
Secondly, it sets an example for your entire organization.
There are a number of ways you can reward your staff. If your internal communication platform includes aspects of gamification, you can use that to publicly reward employees when they complete tasks.
Another way is to have a good old-fashioned in-person chat.
Rewarding your employees publicly will improve their morale. As a result, internal communications will significantly improve, because your employees will be more willing to share news with you, good or bad.
Use the Outdoors
Spending hours in the same office can have negative effects on everyone, especially during the summer.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little change.
Implementing regular outdoor activities within your internal communications plan goes a long way to improving employee engagement.
Don’t forget – going outside the office doesn’t mean wasting work time. It can be a fun way to interact with your team. You can choose a vibrant coffee shop for your team to work at or create periodic work-from-home days.
Allow Your Employees to Recharge
Working long hours is exhausting, both physically and mentally.
Everyone has experienced burnout at some point, and that makes it difficult to communicate with others efficiently.
Allow your employees to take their much-needed breaks.
Whether this means longer lunches or the occasional day off, it will pay off in the end.
Improve Manager-Employee Relationships
In high-performing organizations, managers and employees work closely with each other.
However, this is not the case for every business. It’s not uncommon for employees to have quick interactions with their managers and never get to know them on a personal level.
If you encourage better collaboration between employees and managers, you allow people to be more open and communicate freely. The team at Gmelius (a leading email collaboration tool) put together a great guide on ways to improve team collaboration, you can check it out here
Stay Away from Top-down Communication
Many businesses use a top-down approach to communication. It’s been a classic method for decades. This type of communication gives you more control over your message, but won’t serve your employees in the long-term.
Instead, you should establish an open line of communication for employees, and you’ll see how your internal communication improves instantly.
After all, communication should always be a two-way street.
Encourage Content Creation
Empowering your employees with Intranet tools will allow them to create and share content within your organization. This will help them develop a voice in the company and it will skyrocket their engagement.
Content creation, by itself, will massively improve internal communications.
Plus, employees can interact with their colleagues’ posts, which is another effective tool for creating productive discussions.
Not to mention, creating blogs will strengthen knowledge sharing for each group in your organization.
Start Conducting Stay Interviews
A stay interview is a one-on-one meeting where managers (or other leaders) chat with their employees to figure out what’s working and what’s not working in their jobs and the company as a whole.
The goal is to improve internal communications and discover what problems need fixing.
Believe it or not, a stay interview could be the solution to all the problems your organization is facing. The best ideas are often inside the minds of your employees.
Make an Effort with Shy Employees
Some people are shy, but they are just as valuable as their more outspoken colleagues. You should identify and reach out to quieter members and encourage them to share their ideas.
As a part of your internal communications plan, every employee should go through an on-boarding process in which they get acquainted with all members of the team. This will help them break the ice with everyone and feel more comfortable at that workplace.
You can’t improve internal communications if you’re missing a group of employees. Within your organization, everyone should know everyone. This is what communication is all about.
Schedule Video Conferences For Remote Employees
Managing remote employees is hard, especially when it comes to building relationships with them.
One solution to this problem is video conferencing. It’s the best way to get in-person with someone who is in a different location.
Schedule weekly video meetings to discuss ideas and topics or create other team-building activities. That is a great way to get to know the people you work with and keep up to date with what they’re working on.
Plus, it sets the right tone for your internal communications – everyone should have a voice – and a face!
Celebrate Personal Occasions
We talked about how a comfortable environment improves internal communications.
The key is to treat your employees as real people.
Announcing birthdays or work anniversaries are small and easy-to-do gestures that build a people-oriented community.
It makes everyone feel valued and appreciated.
As part of your internal communications plan, make an effort to schedule work anniversaries and employee birthdays beforehand.
Every employee is different, regardless of the type of organization you run.
Perhaps the best way to improve internal communications within your company is to run a survey and *ask* people how they want to communicate.
This is super easy because it’s a way to ask direct questions and get all the information you need.
Also, your team will feel more valued and appreciated, therefore boosting employee morale.
(However, some employees may find surveys boring. That’s why Workvivo gives you the opportunity to create short and fun polls that get people engaged and *don’t* feel like a drag.)
Ask Welcome Questions
Questions are one of the most vital components of effective communication in the workplace.
Just as you can ask questions, your employees should do the same.
Instill that mindset in your company.
Make sure your employees are comfortable when asking questions, regardless of who they’re aimed at – managers, execs, even stakeholders.