The benefits of effective internal communication go well beyond the cubicle or corner office. They’ll be visible to your customers and clients, because with luck it will effortlessly relay to people inside and outside your business that they belong to a community.
First you should examine these questions:
- Which communication methods are being used?
- What information is communicated through each channel?
- How well do present systems fulfill the communications objectives?
- What additional resources are required?
Once you have answered those questions, ask: How can we improve these internal collaborations? Listed are five ways that hopefully can get you on the right track. There is no specific order of rank or importance, and perhaps your business does not need them all. What I can strongly advise is implementing one effectively before moving on to the next.
1. Social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and text messaging are all wonderful platforms that should be welcomed as a part of internal communications. The ease of sharing and receiving information connects you. Google+ even offers Hangouts, which are great ways to have “water cooler” sessions when people are not in the same location. More on these sessions next.
2. Open forum “water cooler.” Informal micro-meetings can produce information and inspiration as long as they are random, frequent, and small enough that everyone can have a voice. Noting what is said and taking action when required fall right into place with this plan. Increased response time creates a huge benefit, from knowing about dissatisfied customers to recording unhappy reactions to a new employee policy. A major factor is to make sure all participants feel they can share without ridicule or judgment.
3. Appropriate audience content. Make sure the message is reaching the appropriate audience. An email with content geared exclusively to the accounts payable department does not need to go to IT. How does this help improve communications? By weeding out irrelevant content, you’ll ensure the relevant emails will be opened and given the attention you desire.
4. Company newsletter. Post it on a website, send out an email, tweet it. However you choose to deliver it, make sure it is frequent—once or twice a month—and, most of all, short. The longer a newsletter, the more words you have to come up with—and the more words your audience has to wade through.
5. Company blog. Invite employees to contribute to your company blog. You’ll discover underlying and often hidden talent if you open it to everyone and let it fly. If you’re worried about what someone might write, have rules in place to head off issues of discrimination or language. Otherwise, let what comes forth be heard—even if someone talks badly about a company product. Trust me, if one person on staff is thinking something is being done wrong, then there are many people not in the company saying the same thing.
There are more ways and means to improve internal connections, but these are the most beneficial. Remember, it’s people both inside and outside that make the company possible. If no one is talking, how do you know where you stand in the grand scheme of success?
David Vaughan creates marketing relationships, helps companies tell their stories, and amplifies them far and wide via text messaging. A version of this post first appeared on TSG Global blog.