Top Ten Tips - Communicating effectively within your business
“How well a message is communicated is as important as the message itself” is a common phrase you may have heard many times.
When your busy dealing with an array of external customers, clients, associates and trustees, your own employees can often feel out of the loop if you haven’t communicated with them well too.
Building strong ways to communicate internally can lead to an empowered and motivated workforce and one which feels involved in the success and future of your organisation.
Here our top ten tips for communicating effectively within your business:
Make a plan
Before you jump into the deep end, you need to envisage what you want to achieve first. How do you communicate now? What’s working well and what needs to be improved on? You may want to boost morale within your workforce, strengthen your vision and values or communicate your strategic objectives more clearly. Making a plan will help you feel more motivated and energised about your communications plan.
Appoint a spokesperson
Communicating top-level information like facts, figures, strategic objectives or company reports, successes and failures will fall on deaf ears unless you inject some personality! The person communicating important messages like these is just as important as what you say and how you say it. It maybe that you want to raise the profile of your Chief Executive or the Director of your firm. The spokesperson will obviously need to be confident, approachable and accountable for any issues raised.
Know your audience
You probably know your business back to front. But do you know how your colleagues would like to be communicated with? There’s no point developing labour intensive e-newsletters or web copy full of information if your workforce rarely log onto a computer. Or there’s little point arranging staff meetings for the same time and place every week if your employees tent to be out and about and would therefore struggle to attend. Why not engage with your workforce and ask them what kind of company news they’ like to see and how they’d like to receive it?
Find the right tools and technology
Once you know your audience, finding the right tools to communicate with them may be a case of trial and error to see what works best. You will need to consider how technologically savvy your workforce is and how they already use technology to communicate with each other. For example, you could think about introducing company chat software such as TeamWork Chat. You could use cloud technology should as Google Drive or Dropbox to share files if you work remotely. You should make sure you are consistently using the same platform for all your calendars, emails and documents. You should make sure all telecommunications is run via the same network.
Share your good news
Whatever your good news is – share it with your wider workforce and thank them for their input, however small that may be. By celebrating your achievements and showing the impact employees all levels can have will make them feel valued and respected. It will help foster a sense of team spirit and make it easier to communicate bad news, if necessary.
Make it interesting!
We invest a great deal of our time and energy into work – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Part of your internal communications strategy should involve making your business a sociable and interesting place to work. For example, you could create an internal blogging platform on your intranet and reward the top blogger every month. You could utilise the power of video by setting up a closed employee YouTube channel. Or you could record weekly messages from heads of service or your chief executive rather than sending out an email.
Utilise social media
We all know that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are useful for external marketing. But social media can also be used to communicate with your current and potential future workforce. Done well, it can show your clients or customer that you have a wealth of employees with personalities and values which embody your business objectives too. Look at how other companies, such as @lifeatgoogle, share their world through social media and emulate what works well.
Appoint Communications Ambassadors or Champions
We all have those employees within our businesses who love to talk! They’re social butterflies who find networking easy and proactively drumming up support a doddle. So why not utilise their talents by empowering them to help you disseminate and gather good news? If you’re part of a large organisation, finding the right avenue to showcase your news, achievements or even grievances can be a daunting task. But having an appointed Communications Ambassadors or Champions can make the process easier.
Do it in person
Writing an e-news bulletin, pinning something to your noticeboards or updating your intranet site may all be good ways of communicating with your colleagues. But you can’t beat speaking to people face to face. Your colleagues will thank you and respect you for it. And it’s so easy to do – you just have to make time! For example, if you work in a health setting, why not do regular ward rounds to talk to your medical staff or carers? If you run a creative company, you could host away days or brainstorming sessions. If you’re the manager of a store or manufacturing type company, why not walk around the shop floor and simply see what’s going on more often?
Don’t just inform – inspire action
It’s important that when communicating with your workforce, you don’t just tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing, or what you think they need to know. Internal communications should involve your colleagues, motivate and inspire them as well as inform them. Don’t forget to include information about your company’s values and objectives and how individual colleagues or teams have represented them lately. You could showcase how you have rewarded staff for their hard work. Or you could include calls to action to inspire motivation.
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