Because of this pandemic, we have seen accelerated growth in telecommuting (remote work), to accommodate those workers compelled to remain at home. Our workforce today (and in the foreseeable future), is a blend of in-office staff, remote and mobile staff, all using multiple devices, operating on differing schedules or in different time zones.
With such a varied mix of work environments, how do you ensure equal access to timely information, coordinate teams, manage process compliance and business objectives?
If you haven’t implemented an internal communication strategy before, the time has come. Studies show that an effective internal communication strategy helps to keep people on task, increases productivity and builds better team cooperation.
When message delivery is consistent and accurate, regardless of environment, business flows. The benefits of an effective internal communication strategy far outweigh the cost to implement one. Benefits such as better informed and engaged employees, better customer service, better delivery of business objectives and better employee retention are all yours to enjoy.
So, if you have never implemented an internal communication strategy – or – you need to overhaul an existing one, here are 7-steps to get you moving in the right direction:
Identify a common purpose – clarify company goals and get everyone on the same page. Your common purpose should incorporate both the company’s business goals and social value. What are you trying to accomplish?
Encourage open communications – ensure that communication flows both ways. Good communication isn’t simply about dispensing information, it also encourages feedback from employees. Make time for talk.
Take advantage of online tools – there are a plethora of online tools available on the market to better enable company and team communication. Applications such as Microsoft® Teams, Slack, Blink, GoToMeeting and Huddle are just a few of the collaboration and communications tools you can employ. Maybe you have a favourite? Also, consider making use of social media -it’s an awesome and powerful way to communicate with both external and internal customers. Do you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and are you on Instagram?
Establish (and document) processes – identify sanctioned communications methods (telephone, team chats, email, videoconferencing, etc.), platforms and protocols. Encourage daily and weekly communication routines.
Train employees – employees need to understand and adopt your new internal communication protocols, so be sure to train them on any new processes and policies.
Survey employees – one of the best ways to know if your internal communication strategy(ies) is working is to ask. If surveys are not your thing, consider installing a suggestion box – it’s still a great way to procure anonymous and honest input.
Listen – be an active listener. Pay attention to issues and concerns raised by employees. Listen for new information- stay informed. Get out of your office and ask questions. Reach out to your employees in person to discover their communication needs. Listening will help you understand how your employees prefer to communicate, what they have to share and what they want to hear.
By establishing a formal internal communication strategy with clearly communicated goals, a well-trained and informed workforce with satisfied employees will improve customer relationships and leverage your brand. You will also be able to mitigate misinformation and control messaging.
As a company, you probably expend a lot of effort and money on developing communication strategies focused on external customers. Your own people deserve the same level of effort. When you employ modern, engaging and timely methods of communicating with employees, you gain a happier and engaged workforce.