Internal communications are an integral part of most modern businesses. In fact, how well a message is communicated as just as important as the message itself in some cases. Internal communications is a fine art, when delivered correctly messages can connect, engage, and motivate staff.
When internal communications are executed poorly, they can cause damage, disruption, and disaster. Therefore, we've collated a list of best practice rules to follow and adhere to when communicating with your staff, management, and stakeholders from an internal communications perspective.
By digesting and adhering to the following examples, you can rest assured that your internal messages are well written, delivered, and received.
1. Think, Strategize, and Plan
It's always a good idea to think ahead, especially when it comes to your internal communications strategy. A strategy will keep staff and stakeholders following a protocol that works for all when it comes to messaging internally. This streamlines communication whilst avoiding confusion amongst colleagues.
Ask yourself, what do you want internal communications to achieve for your team and company? How will you go about achieving this? What are your internal communications like right now? What can you do to improve this? Finally, how long do you think this will take?
2. Use the right tools for you and your team
There are hundreds of options available when it comes to tools for internal communications. Some companies use cloud technology such as Google Drive to share and edit presentations and word documents. These can be particularly useful when communicating with freelancers and location independent employees.
There are also various options for video conferencing software such as Skype, GoTo Meeting and Google Hangouts. Instead of using a range of different collaborative tools, choose the best once in terms of cost, performance, and ease of use and access for you and your employees.
Try not to over complicate things and listen to the feedback from your staff when choosing the right software or program to meet your internal communications needs.
3. Be Visual with your Communication
Studies show 65% of the population are visual learners, it's likely that this will include the majority of your staff and stakeholders. Try to express messages visually instead of bombarding staff with information in thick text message marking. In fact, many offices are now opting to have screens installed across their buildings in order to display information in an easy to digest manner. Some internal communication professionals suggest including social media streams relevant to your industry on these monitors.
You may also want to display goals, accomplishments and motivational quotes for all staff to see. This can enhance performance and also boost team morale in the workplace. Keeping team morale high can rapidly enhance performance and your employees general feeling of wellbeing in the workplace. Employees want to feel important and rewarded for their achievements, they work hard to help your business achieve its goals, so it's always good to remind them of their importance from time to time.
4. Provide Channels for Feedback and Ideas
Internal communications doesn't always mean giving out orders and reminders to staff. It's a two way conversation and it benefits employees to give them a platform to share their feedback and ideas with management.
5. What Is The Value of a Thought Or An Idea If It Is Never Expressed?
Make sure that you provide channels for your current team to deliver their feedback and ideas about their jobs, workplace, and role within the business. This could be offered by encouraging the use of a company forum, a designated channel within chat software, a whiteboard somewhere within the office, or a cloud based service.
Without this service, important factors that need to be addressed and changed within your business may never come to your attention. By constantly encouraging and monitoring staff feedback, ideas and criticisms, you are leaving yourself open to change and can enhance the way that your business operates from the top down.
6. Avoid Communication Overload
Keep your messages brief and to the point. Make sure that the information that you send out is concise and relevant, and try not to send out more messages than is necessary.
Consider refining your company newsletter and using mass communication software to schedule key messages weeks in advance. This could mean scheduling all work related event notifications in one afternoon for the following year. Once this is scheduled, you an sit back and relax in the knowledge that your entire team is going to be informed and reminded of any upcoming events automatically.
Many companies utilize message scheduling and automation as a way of streamlining content that is relevant to industry news, company themes, and upcoming events. It's fantastic to know that technology exists to pre-schedule messages to all employees days, weeks, months, and years in advance.
7. Promote Employee Resources and Training
If you have created resources that will help your employees become educated and informed, ensure that you use internal communications to promote this. Have you purchased a Udemy course that will give all employees an extra accreditation? Why not use internal comms to send out the login details for all staff that wish to take part?
Perhaps you've decided to treat your team to a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription. Why not surprise employees by sending this out as a treat using your internal communication messaging system.
Rewarding employees keeps them feeling worthwhile and important, two things that all staff want to feel when they work hard in their position.
8. Encourage Cross Departmental Communication and Collaboration
These days,many companies utilize internal communications to help employees to learn from one another. Why not hold a Q and A session across two departments so that staff get a better idea of the way other teams within your business work.
When employees have a better understanding of the different roles across a company, they can appreciate the bigger picture of your business, as well as learning more about how departments compliment one another in the day-to-day running of your business.