Four ways to improve internal communications
The most successful companies operate like well-oiled machines, where all parts interconnect and work together seamlessly. If you have a communication problem within your business, then that machine won’t be working as well as it could be.
Rightly or wrongly, the responsibility to improve internal communications often falls into the hands of HR. So I decided to investigate some of the best ways you can improve internal communications within your business.
1. Make each new hire’s first day count
Like with many things in life, first impressions matter. And if communication between new starters and existing staff doesn’t get off to a flying start, you’re setting a poor precedent for ongoing relations. You do not want to grow a culture where the norm is for everybody to silently go about their days looking at their shoes!
“Integrate new hires on lobby screens, in newsletters, and by sending out emails” advises Diane Gayeski, Professor of Strategic Communications at Ithaca College, and Dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications. “Include a bit about their professional and personal backgrounds, and encourage existing employees with similar backgrounds or interests to meet them for coffee or lunch.”
By doing this, you are not forcing unnatural communication. Rather, you are supporting and encouraging natural communication to occur, between people with shared interests. By planting seeds like this, you’ll be helping your employees communicate better, more organically, as your company grows.
2. Make company documents more accessible
A study by Igloo found that 43% of employees did not share a document with a colleague, because they couldn’t find it.
If your employees have a question about their employment, then they normally have two options: Ask somebody else, or find the answer themselves. And this is an area where you can improve internal communication in a more passive way, according to recruitment consultant Ellen Mullarkey, of Messina Group.
“Make company knowledge documents easily accessible” she advises. “Some employees may clam up or find it a hassle to keep asking management for company documents. Set up a central digital access area, such as SharePoint, for easy access to all company knowledge documents. Other apps like Dropbox and Google Drive are great for your employee handbook, if you are on a budget. It will help new employees feel like they are more in the loop at your company.”
Of course, while SharePoint, Dropbox and Google Drive are all good solutions for sharing documents, if you are a People HR customer, then you already have your own dedicated document storage area within your People HR system. Employees can then access these documents from anywhere, using the People HR app.
3. Get visual with company content
In an article I wrote a while ago, Perry Timms told me that HR should be doing more to manage their reputation. And he’s right, you should. But this doesn’t just apply to showing off your achievements – it applies to how you present information, too.
“It may surprise you to know that 65% of your employees prefer visual communication” says Joe Flanagan, Senior Career Advisor at MintResume. “So step up your visual game! And while you’re at it, don’t default to old-style visuals like posters – go for digital screens in your offices, that can rotate images and information!”
And you can go one step further with your visuals, by using video content, says Chris Stasiuk, Creative Director at Signature Video Group.
“Creating engaging content comes down to three things: Educating, entertaining and inspiring. Video gives you far more creative range to do those than static communications. And by adding personality or humour to your videos, you will improve engagement.”
4. Use chat platforms for real-time communication
We barely use letters or telephones any more, and instead we live and work in a world full of emails and instant messages. You can take advantage of this within your company, to improve internal communications, too.
Using chat tools like Skype or Slack are a great way of keeping employees in touch with each other. They were built for collaboration, meaning you can share documents as well as ideas. You can form team chats for different departments, as well as non-work related chat groups for employees with similar interests.
What’s more, HR can capitalise on this, by using these platforms for keeping employees in the loop.
“Create an #HR_updates channel in Slack” says Max Woolf, career expert at ResumeLab. “It will ensure no one misses an important update, and you can use this channel to create polls, or announce starters and leavers.”
If you use People HR, you’ll love our new integration with Slack
Did mention of collaboration platform “Slack” make your ears prick up? If you use People HR to manage your employee records, then you might be excited to learn about our new integration with Slack.
Our developers have been working hard, on ways to automatically push updates into Slack channels, as friendly little announcements.
By using this integration, you’ll never forget to wish somebody a happy birthday, dish out congratulations for a work anniversary, or warmly welcome a brand new starter.
Find out more about this integration, by visiting our news website here.
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