If you asked your employees what your corporate mission statement is, or whether they feel appreciated, what would they say?
The answer isn’t obvious, especially if your business spans state or country borders—or continents. The farther away employees are from headquarters, the less connected to company leaders they’ll feel.
Internal communications entails more than updating employees with business information. It must connect with and build up each department. Engagement increases productivity and retention, and creating that connection doesn’t have to be hard.
Here are four ways to improve internal messaging:
1. Encourage employees to speak up. They should know they have a voice and that their opinion matters. If they believe a process or meeting can be handled more efficiently, provide a way for their feedback to be heard.
2. Be clear with your communication. Don’t simply inform people about change. Tell them why change is coming, as well as how it will help the supply chain, reduce overhead or eliminate redundancies. Change is always scary at first, but addressing concerns before they fester helps reduce employee stress.
3. Be creative. Don’t rely on walls of text to get your message out. Summarize your message in an email is not ideal communication. Mix up your content with videos, or introduce friendly employee competitions.
4. Give recognition when it’s deserved. This is particularly important when your business has many different hands involved in creating your product. Make sure your warehouse workers know how they fit in with the business; there is no business without them. Make sure people in sales, marketing or engineering know that every piece of the company is integral to the workflow.
Follow through with these guidelines consistently. A common employee complaint is always receiving mixed messages—or no message at all— from corporate leaders.
Preston Thompson is a copywriter at Tribe, an internal communications agency based in Atlanta. A version of this post first appeared on Tribe’s Good Company blog.