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3 Tips to Improve Internal Communications

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Did you know that one-third of organizations with deskless employees still make their company-wide announcements via a bulletin board? Y’know, that cheap piece of framed corkboard with pushpins holding up pieces of paper?

That may seem anachronistic, but some of the things companies are doing today will seem just as out-of-date in a few years. Here are some tips on how your organization can improve its internal communications so it can be ahead of the curve instead of hopelessly behind the times.

Treat Inside Like Outside

Scott Greggory, chief creative officer at MadAveGroup, a family of marketing agencies, says leaders should treat their employees like they would an external audience. Craft exciting content that gets them engaged, and distribute it through smaller bits of information spread across different channels. Think about talking to employees like you would your customers.

“If information is worth communicating, it’s worth the effort to communicate it effectively,” Greggory says. “Even when you’re trying to share important facts or insight with your team members, take time to put your thoughts into a style or format that will have the most impact.”

Just like customers, employees are exposed to countless messages and requests every day, so internal communications need to stand out if the message is going to be effectively absorbed. Invest the same level of care that you would in your advertising content.

And, Greggory says, don’t be afraid to embrace humor and emotion in internal communications. After all, employees are people, and they respond when they’re moved or made to laugh. “Every situation and every corporate culture is different, but whenever you can effectively tell stories, use analogies or embed emotional or humorous elements in your internal emails, you stand a better chance of engaging your audience and making it easier for them to retain your main point,” Greggory says.

Consider Alternatives to Email

It may seem easy to toggle between email, internal messaging and other means of communication on the job, but it also makes it more difficult to track what tasks have been completed or the decisions that have been made.

And, let’s face it, we’ve all heard — or told — stories about having hundreds of unread emails on our work computers. By some estimates, modern workers spend one-quarter of their workday on email.

That’s why more organizations are moving to project management systems and/or internal communications tools as their primary means of sharing information. After all, the most important communication is about project work.

There are lots of options for tools: Slack, Pipefy, Basecamp, etc. Research the options for the tools that fit your needs.

Take a Proactive Approach From the Top

Kristen Wells of Zinc, which creates business communication tools, says one of the biggest mistakes executives make is letting information trickle out from the C-suite to managers and then to frontline employees.

“Direct top-down communication is essential in creating a culture where employees feel in-the-know, connected to the company, and aligned with business objectives. Research shows that engaging employees with the company’s vision and goals inspires them to be more productive and high-achieving,” Wells says.

She suggests a direct, top-down communication model for important international communications. And Zinc emphasizes mobile-first platforms that push alerts directly to employees’ phones on the same app they use for everyday communication to ensure the information is actually read.

There’s no single answer to solving the internal communications puzzle. Examine your organization and how its workforce is distributed to choose the right tools to fit your needs. And don’t just put a pin in it.
 

Stephen Loy