The way in which an organization communicates can be integral to its running, according to The Institute of Internal Communications: it’s “the oil that smooths the running of the business”. Effective internal communication allows for the sharing of information and knowledge, and ensures that everybody is on the same page. By using internal communications effectively, a company is more likely to have engaged employees who are aware of the company’s news and abreast of developments and changes. Therefore for these and many other reasons, it’s essential to pay close attention to how you deliver your internal communications.
Whether you need a bit of advice, or a lot of help improving internal communications, here are some handy tips to start with…
Make information accessible
In most organisations at the start of a contract, employees will receive information on things like best practices and company guidelines, which they may often need as a point of reference. By creating internal documents on such subjects and storing them in a mutually accessible area, employees will be able to reference them as and when needed and learn their content.
Share goals and objectives
Posting company and team goals where they are visible to all employees, such as on the company intranet or in a shared file, can help employees understand what the company is trying to achieve. This type of open communication can encourage staff towards achieving business objectives and initiatives, helping to keep everyone aligned to the organisation’s values.
Encourage information sharing
Creating an online platform for employees to share relevant information can be great for internal communication. This will allow industry news, new initiatives and insights to be accessed by all and enable colleagues to learn from one another and share their knowledge.
Online project management tools are a great way to stay organised, especially when a project is being tackled by several team members. These platforms allow open communication between individuals, teams and management; however, that’s not to say all communication should be done online. While this is a great option for bigger, or international organisations, sometimes the best method of communication can be face-to-face.
As well as online tools, using other programs such as Google Documents, where one person can create and then share with others, will allow individuals to access necessary information. Documents are updated in real-time and as such allow different parties to keep up-to-date with information, news and developments.
It might seem quite old-school in the age of technology, but a good, old-fashioned noticeboard can work wonders for internal communications. Whether used as a reminder of upcoming meetings, a place to advertise company social events, or somewhere to post health and safety notices, a noticeboards can be a great way of sharing information.
As mentioned, sometimes there’s no substitute for a face-to-face conversation. However, to make sure your internal communications are effective as possible only arrange meetings as and when necessary – and only involve relevant individuals. Meetings also needn’t take on the form of a traditional boardroom exchange, instead think outside the box and try a walking or standing meeting which will keep employees on their toes and ensures that the meeting doesn’t last any longer than necessary.
A two-way street
Communication is a two-way street and for internal communications to work, it’s important for employees to be able to voice their thoughts to leaders. An open door policy will make managers more approachable and help to create a candid culture.
When used well, internal messaging systems can be a great way of instantly conveying small amounts of information. Using programs such as Skype allows users to share documents and links quickly and efficiently.
Internal communication is pivotal to the smooth running of an organisation and as we’ve shown there are many ways in which you can make improvements to your internal communications system. Implementing small changes to the way your company communicates can have a profound effect on your people and your business. Employees can stay up-to-date with developments and information, which could help to boost engagement, motivation and morale.
Will Bridges is an HR Consultant at Unum, one of the UK’s leading financial protection insurers. Unum specialises in providing employee benefits through the workplace, and is committed to helping the UK’s workforce get a back-up plan. Visit them online at: www.unum.co.uk
These are all awesome ways to improve international communication! Sharing information is key. No one likes feeling out-of-the-loop!