When you start your own business, you need to figure out effective internal communication. It takes good communication for happy and successful interpersonal relationships in your workplace. Organizations rely on it, and a team’s productivity improves with successful ways to connect.
There are many ways to improve how you communicate with your team. Here are ten tips to improve this important facility, and how you can take advantage of them.
1. Start with the right tools
When it comes to internal contact, it’s important to start with the right tools. Communication with your team can be terrible if you don’t use reliable and secure communication tools. Not every system will work for your needs, so it’s worth taking the time to vet the chat apps that fit your organization’s needs.
You could start by looking at the best team messaging and chat apps on the market. Apps like Slack, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Webex offer various options for different needs. Having such apps can simplify delivery, conversation and links between your team members.
Connection between team members can also impact how you design your office. Internal comms can be fostered with the right design and while many will recommend an “open-style” office, there are some downsides to this.
Open-style offices can impact internal communication by as much as 70 percent. There are a few reasons for this including too many distractions, noise, and difficulty in being able to focus for some team members. Rather than go willy nilly with these designs, see what you think your company needs. You could think about what configurations work for the specific nature of your team and move them around to suit. Although disruptive, this might work well in the long run.
2. Start assessing your own communication skills
As a team leader or business owner, you may want to learn better internal communications yourself. Maybe ask yourself: how is your ability to talk with your people? How would you rate your communication skills? How often are you meeting, or could you be meeting too often?
People in leadership roles can benefit from remembering that open comms within a team is critical. Setting a standard way of doing this within your company pays off, and can be easier to evaluate the effectiveness. Continuously improving this process and adjusting to the needs of your team also helps them feel heard.
3. Make internal knowledge accessible
Every organization has a specific set of information that they want to convey, much like FAQs. . This “sticky note” information is something you want everyone to see all the time, so you might want to make sure this internal knowledge is available for everyone in the team regularly.
Employees learn protocols, style guides, and best practices faster by ensuring it’s part of your onboarding process. If there is must-know information, it can pay off to make sure you have a central resource to send them to for these links. Stick it on your chat apps or have it as part of the company’s internal wiki for best results.
4. Reach out to every employee
It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to reach every employee in your company if you can. Small to medium size businesses can do it much easier due to their relatively small workforce. Bigger companies may need to spend more effort with their outreach.
Why is it essential to reach as many people as possible within your company? Mostly because people love talking about themselves and feeling ‘heard’. With this in mind, they often feel committed to a business and stay longer. Otherwise, talent can be lost if you neither appreciate it nor acknowledge it. If you don’t want your best people to slip through the cracks, it can help to be connected with them as much as possible – whether you do it yourself or through your managers.
5. Encourage positive advocacies
Positive internal dialogues with your employees start with promoting positive external dialogue with your people. You want to help employees fulfill their goals that are in line with the mission and vision of the organization. Doing so encourages them to become the biggest, most loyal, brand advocates in the process.
Keeping your employees in the know and encouraging them builds their well-being too. See if you can have them run projects related to their interests. This will help empower your employees, and ensure they align their desire to advance with your brand and what’s on offer.
6. Target and personalize your message
Targeting and personalization do not stop with your customer. Employees who feel disconnected from the company are less likely to engage than those who feel they get a personalized connection with management.
Personalization can happen in several ways, depending on the tools you have at hand. Many organizations use integrated systems that employ targeted messaging. You can create specific points that appeal to different age groups, departments, and even individuals within the company.
7. Ask the right questions
When formulating ways to talk with your employees, ask the right questions. Even within the same departments, you can expect to find different personalities. These people might need different ways to communicate with each other.
What kinds of communication methods do your people prefer? Do they want consistent chats, daily meetings, or task of the day emails? Asking them directly can give you a good understanding of how you communicate with them and how often. Some of them are also visual, others prefer auditory messaging, some need it repeating and others find that too much. In general, it can help to involve them too, asking for input, ideas, and suggestions.
8. Evaluate your communication channels
If you have an existing internal communications blueprint, ask yourself, and others, if it’s doing its job. If it’s not, knowing the root of the problem and seeing if there is an issue with the channels you use, together with your employee outreach, all pay off.
Every communication method has its pros and cons. Making an honest evaluation of your chosen channels and experimenting with different formats can pay off. Focus on those that work and remove those that don’t offer any advantages.
9. Have an open door policy
An “open door” policy with your HR and leadership is a powerful way to keep employees engaged. Scheduling time to talk with your employees encourages them to bring forward issues when it’s necessary to do so but some people find they ‘walk the floor to build rapport’ and others find online systems, video conferencing and even a phone call, can achieve something too.
Invite people to approach someone in a leadership position when they feel something is bothering them. Ensure that their communication with you is in good faith and ensures their anonymity and privacy.
10. Have a sexual harassment policy ready
Sexual harassment is pervasive in the workplace, regardless of the industry. Countless companies have issues with it, so it’s vital to take the pulse of your employees and ensure they have a safe and confidential space to help protect them from sexual predators.
If you have to, utilize third-party companies that have experience in mediation strategies that will help you create an actionable response. Regardless of your size, you don’t want to end up in legal issues like many billion-dollar companies are experiencing.
The Bottom Line
Internal communications can be hard to navigate, especially if you are a new company or have leadership that is too deeply rooted in the old ways. Connecting with your team with the tips above, can give you an excellent chance to increase productivity and ensure engaged and talented people stay in your business.