How to improve internal communications in the workplace
Inefficiency in the workplace often stems from poor communication. Here are some things you can do to improve internal communications in the workplace.
Encourage relationship building
Communication misfires are easy to make between strangers. According to Workforce, 60% of companies don’t have a long-term strategy for their internal communications. However, internal communication will naturally improve when employees get to know each other, and a thoughtful approach drives those interactions.
Give employees opportunities to develop a sense of community. Plan an event outside work or pick a day and time for a weekly informal hangout in the office, like a “donut Friday.” There are multiple benefits to encouraging co-worker relationships: better retention, morale, and productivity. When you do these things, you’re fostering improved communication.
Use technology to support connection and belonging if your employees are hybrid or remote - in any case where all of your staff aren’t working in the same physical location daily.
Don’t expect this to happen by accident. You’ll need to be purposeful about offering opportunities for community building.
When you’re thoughtful and conscientious about helping your employees build relationships, they’ll be much more likely to stay engaged. “Active disengagement” among employees of companies of different shapes and sizes is a national epidemic. Some suggest as many as 50% of employees are actively disengaged from their work, costing companies over $450 billion annually in lost productivity.
Most internal communications apps allow you to have multiple channels to individualize communication. For example, you can have a channel for work projects and one for socializing. Encourage people to talk about more than work. Create a safe space for them to talk about current events or what’s happening in their lives.
Video is the best option for team building in the remote work world. One great idea is to host a monthly lunch series with people across the organization. This event helps people gain a sense of connection to the company.
Send out a company newsletter
A company newsletter offers a dependable source of updates and information and keeps everyone on the same page about company events, policy changes, and plans for the future. Well-informed employees are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and productive.
These newsletters are a fantastic mechanism to keep your employees engaged and well-informed. Communication breakdowns in corporate culture often come down to a need for well-disseminated information and company news, regardless of whether that news is good or bad.
People want to know what’s happening no matter what. Since 57% of employees feel that they aren’t given clear direction (and 69% of managers aren’t comfortable giving that direction), plenty of work is needed.
A newsletter is a great vehicle for information delivery as it can organically promote positive company culture and helps your employees feel valued. Include a mix of content to inform and engage, like trivia questions or highlights of employee achievements.
As a bonus, you send fewer emails when you funnel information into a single newsletter. That will also encourage your employees to read the newsletter or give it a skim. Your newsletter should be short, engaging, and to the point.
Keep an automated record of meetings
One of the best ways to keep people informed is by recording meeting notes. Meetings are jam-packed with information, and we all know that what goes on the meeting agenda only sometimes ends up in the conversation. Remembering all the information is hard, so employees will appreciate a write-up.
Every employee will miss a meeting at some point. Notes help absent team members stay in the loop. They also provide a historical account of everything discussed. So if there are any questions about what was covered or decided, you can defer to the notes.
Having these notes on hand - and easily accessible - is very important when disagreements arise when you need to review previous conversations for context regarding a current decision-making process or a challenge your company is facing. If you don’t have those notes as a reference point, it’s harder to avoid easily avoidable mistakes from being repeated.
If you ask someone to take notes, that will distract them from contributing and can still lead to missed information. Fortunately, technologies now make manual note-taking a thing of the past. Instead, a fast, accurate option is an automated recording and transcription service that delivers notes, text transcription, and an audio file.
KISS your communication
The KISS principle stands for “Keep it simple, stupid.” It started as an engineering phrase emphasizing the importance of keeping products simple and easy to use.
This principle translates perfectly to internal communications as a blunt but well-meaning principle: keep internal communications clear, concise, and easy to understand. You stunt the progress of internal communications if you send out a five-page memo.
There’s great power in simplicity, and when that becomes the gold standard for the way that you communicate across departments, and from the top-down to your teams, communication gaps and misunderstandings are naturally decreased.
Try to limit the amount of communication you send as well. Too many messages leave your employees frustrated and disinterested. They will have plenty of information but those messages can quickly get overwhelming, especially if there are contradictions in the messaging or people feel like the messages don’t apply to their work.
Attention spans are an average of 8 seconds. Be realistic about how much information your employees will absorb. Quick, digestible nuggets of information will make information more accessible.
If your messaging needs a little bit of extra “personal flair” consider using a tool like Loom, or even an async communication tool like ZipMessage to turn the communication into a conversation rather than a lecture!
Take charge of your inbox
Everyone knows what it’s like to get asked, “Did you get that email?” only to realize it was accidentally deleted, absentmindedly shuffled into the wrong folder, or mysteriously wiped from memory altogether.
On average, people spend three hours a day in their inboxes. It's where most internal communications land. Equip your employees with an email client that makes their lives easier and inboxes clutter-free. Then they are more likely to see the internal communications you send.
An email client allows employees to organize, read, and manage emails and gives them a choice to customize their interface, so they don’t have to cringe at every notification or get lost in a disorganized inbox.
Check-in with your remote workforce
In our current world, you likely have some–or all–employees working in remote or hybrid positions. These workers are more likely to feel isolated and disconnected from the workplace. Check-in with these employees and ask how they’re doing. Even a quick note or call can provide a boost–both to them and workplace communication.
Remember, communication goes two ways
Don’t deliver information and consider your work done. The word “communication” implies a conversation, not an announcement.
Give employees opportunities to provide feedback and participate in workplace conversations. Remember the newsletter you started? Use it to ask for contributions and solicit input.
If you have an “open door” policy, don’t assume people will come to you. Make the rounds and chat with employees, get to know them, and build trust. You can also hold regular meetings with employees where you listen, and they have the floor. The goal is to encourage free and open conversation in the workplace.
Keep improving over time
You can always improve Internal communications, especially by using apps and other tech that make it easier for everyone to communicate. Make it a revolving item on your to-do list and aim for incremental changes over time that will improve efficiency and clarity in the long run.
Ultimately, communication is only partly about providing information. It’s also about making sure that data has an impact. In other words, communication effectiveness is not measured by hitting “send” but by how well your employees receive the information.
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