WRITTEN BY: ANILRAJ
There’s no disputing the value of effective internal communications in any small or medium-sized business. Employees who are better informed are more satisfied, feel more involved in the fate of the company and ultimately contribute more to it’s success. Companies that make internal communications a priority are more likely to reach their objectives with motivated employees.In turn, conflicts can be resolved quickly and improve employee productivity
Essentially, 2 key goals to have in mind:
- To create a sense of belonging. Employees have to feel that they are a part of a larger whole. Helping them see the big picture will help by reaching the overall company objectives, such as increasing sales, developing more customers, or dealing with company changes, such as mergers, downsizing or management changes.
- The need to secure employee buy-in: employees who believe in the company’s initiatives will make them happen.
Company newsletter (paper or electronic):
The company newsletter is an ideal medium for relaying ongoing information to employees on a systematic basis. Topics to consider would be client testimonials, employee success stories and regular updates on company news, events and strategies. Try to get as much employee input as possible and ensure that not only managers are contributing material. Avoid making the newsletter a management spokes-piece. Generally, the newsletter should be the democratic voice of the employee body and should avoid the “us” and “them” syndrome.
Creating an intranet site can enable the company to put invaluable information online and update it regularly. This is a more costly option is better suited to companies that have at least 30 employees or if your team is geographically dispersed. An intranet site can be useful, for example, to publish information on changed processes that everyone needs to use. Keep in mind that the intranet is a passive vehicle – employees have to access it to use it. It doesn’t replace electronic newsletters or emails, which are an inexpensive route to get out timely information.
Small group meetings:
Face-to-face communication is the most effective way to reach employees. Smaller groups help create closer bonds and put employees at ease to speak their minds. Be sure you have a clear agenda but allow time for people to address ad hoc issues at meetings.
Suggestion boxes enable employees to raise their concerns and issues anonymously, which can then be followed up on a regular basis. Even if your company has only a few employees, this option gives them complete confidentiality.
An excellent way to present information to your employees because they can be placed in highly visible areas of your company, such as the cafeteria or meeting rooms. They are particularly useful when you have to make an impact and want to add value to an announcement. Be sure that your poster provides a contact for more information. And ideally, you should follow up with more detail in another vehicle, such as a newsletter.
Crisis communications vehicles
Be sure you have a vehicle in place to help you deal with emergency communications or share information on important priorities. HR has also a big role to play in this, by basically being the point of contact should something were to happen. Keeping employees in the know soothes them and at the same time discourages the rise of half truths. You can also consider conference calls for geographically dispersed teams.
Orientation material for new employees
If you don’t have a company website, provide new employees with a written overview of your organization that accompanies their orientation. These documents are important references that enable your employees to contribute their best to your company.
In times of change, internal communications are paramount. Whether it’s downsizing, altering a customer service strategy or dealing with accelerated growth, open communications helps
employees understand the change at hand and what’s expected of them.
Here are some key factors to consider in your internal communications:
- Allot the resources you need to communicate change. You may have to increase your internal communications budget in order to handle major issues.
- Be open with your employees about what is happening in your business and communicate exactly what they need to do. Keep your communications brief but give employees enough information to act.
- Don’t forget that even positive change can backfire in a company if it’s poorly communicated to employees.
- Avoid withholding information from employees. This can create a sense of anxiety or conflict. Be sure that they find out changes in your company before this information gets in the media spotlight.
- If you’re in a larger company, consider communicating change to your managers before other employees; after all, managers can help you relay the message to your team and incorporate that change.
- Communicate regularly to create a sense of stability.