Twenty years ago, if a manager had said the words, “let’s work on internal communication,” there is a high chance the concept would have been met with a blank stare.
However, modern-day entrepreneurs and leaders are actively searching for internal communication best practices as it has become as important as external communication with customers.
But communication between colleagues is getting trickier by each day.
Employees are bombarded with formal and informal communications – Slack mentions, video call invites, email threads, WhatsApp messages, and so on. With so many messages on your plates, how do you ensure smooth communication?
To improve internal communication, you do not need to invest a thousand dollars or hire communication experts. You can simply invest in an internal help desk system, engage remote workers, and prioritize employee newsletters.
In this blog, we will understand why your business needs to focus on internal communication. Later, we will explore 10 best practices and tips to make every interaction count.
Why You Need to Rethink Your Internal Communications Plans
Most businesses focus so much on the customer, vendor, and end-user communications that they neglect the quality of internal communications.
Just as much as you prioritize customer engagement, you must ensure your team members have all the tools to communicate effectively and stay engaged and motivated. Employee engagement can have a direct impact on your team’s performance.
According to a study, staff members who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform at their best.
Modern employees expect communication to be a two-way street. When they are ready to oblige to endless instructions and suggestions given to them, they expect the leaders to hear their opinions as well. Therefore, you must strive to make your internal communication strategy more inclusive.
Top 10 Internal Communication Best Practices
Creating a healthy communication stream in your company is not rocket science. Here are 10 best practices for internal communication that will help you engage employees and enhance productivity:
1. Diversify Your Internal Communication Channels
Employees must get access to different channels to communicate with one another. While email is a great channel, it is simply not enough.
For internal communication, email has its own set of drawbacks. It is slow, does not allow real-time team collaboration, and isn’t the best for small conversations.
Now, this does not mean that you give up email altogether. However, you must look to incorporate different channels such as Slack, WhatsApp, video conferencing, and other project management tools to speed up communication.
The best way to decide is to sit with your team and ask them what channels they feel the most comfortable interacting with each other. Remember, the channels you choose should not be meant for formal communication only. It should be one that can be used to share ideas, discuss jokes, or upload important business documents.
2. Invest in Internal Help Desk Software
New and existing employees are full of questions – How do I get my office laptop fixed? Where can I ask for more stationery? What are the company leave policies?
As an internal communication best practice, you need to answer employee questions swiftly so their productivity is not hampered. With internal help desk software, you can manage all queries and complaints in one place and offer speedy responses.
The internal help desk system can be used by multiple teams to address different challenges. For example, the HR team can use it to manage all employee grievances in one place. Similarly, the IT team can use the tool to answer all queries related to hardware and software issues.
You can even create an online internal knowledge base where employees can refer to FAQs, read guides, access documentation, and download applications or forms. For example, an employee can read about leave policies and also download the form to apply for the desired leaves.
Read More: How to Create an Internal Knowledge Base
3. Jargon Can Kill Effective Communication
Do your team members use words or phrases that you find hard to understand?
Jargon includes technical words, acronyms, or shorthand terms that group members use to speed up communication. The terms backlog, FRT, business hours, downtime, etc., are some examples of customer service jargon.
If you excessively use jargon, you can confuse your team members, and your message will be pointlessly lost. This is the reason jargon is considered the enemy of effective internal communication.
You must look to use everyday language during meetings or while composing emails to ensure your message gets clearly comprehended.
However, there are some exceptions where using jargon can actually help. For example, the IT support team can use technical jargon during closed team meetings to ensure faster communication. The basic idea here is that even if you wish to use jargon, it should be a well-thought-out decision and not done by accident.
4. Add a Fun Element to Your Emails
Who says internal communication has to be boring? Whether you write emails to customers or your peers, there is always room to make things interesting.
Humor and fun are great ways to engage people. It can lighten someone’s mood, make them smile, and, if done right, can make your message more memorable.
However, it’s important to note that humor may confuse or offend some team members. So before incorporating any joke or meme into your message, evaluate your purpose and audience.
You can even make use of bright colors, typography, and graphic visuals to make your message stand out. This process might be time-consuming, but it can be more effective when you have to share the email across multiple teams and departments. Here is an example of an email shared by the HR team informing employees about an upcoming summer boat trip.
5. Avoid Over-Communication
To improve internal communication, you must stop overdoing it. Overcommunication can hamper employee productivity and add to their frustration.
According to a Statista study, employees spent 149 minutes (almost 2.5 hours) every day checking their work emails.
It is important to keep your formal communications brief and to the point. Moreover, there is no point in floating an email for the smallest of things.
You can invest in team messaging apps or team collaboration tools to free employees from long email threads. For example, you can use Slack channels to speed up internal communications.
6. Engage Employees & Prospective Candidates on Social Media
Social media is usually considered an informal communication channel suitable for interacting with friends and family. However, this notion is fast changing
Internal communication trends make it crystal clear that social media can be great channel to engage existing employees and prospective candidates.
If there was a Christmas party in the office last week, share the pictures on social media, tag your mates, and encourage fun discussions. You can even actively post job vacancies to grab the attention of prospective talent. For example, here is an Instagram post that shows Salesforce’s creative team celebrating #UglySweaterDay at the office:
Moreover, you can ask employees to share product reviews, how-to-videos, blogs, upcoming events, etc., from their respective social media accounts. According to Social Media Today, posts shared by employees get 800% more engagement compared to the same posts shared by brand accounts.
7. Share Employee Newsletters
Sharing employee newsletters is considered one of the best practices for effective internal communications.
Monthly or weekly newsletters can be used to update employees with the latest announcements, industry trends, company news, upcoming events, celebrations, or any other valuable information.
Healthy communication between the management and the staff members is a crucial factor in the success of any organization. The purpose of an internal newsletter is to help you achieve this goal.
For example, if you are acquiring a new company or startup, you can share this delightful news in your newsletter. Similarly, if your company is planning for a blood donation campaign, this information too can be a part of your monthly or weekly newsletter.
8. Do Not Neglect Remote Employees
There has been a massive change in the traditional workforce structure. More companies are hiring remote employees to tap into diverse talents and offer greater work flexibility.
According to Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work, 72% of organizations are planning to permanently allow some sort of remote work.
Your internal communication strategy should involve remote workers no matter where they are located around the globe. You need to understand that many team members may be new to remote work and may need more time to adjust if they particularly aren’t tech-savvy.
To create an inclusive culture, you can look to convert in-person team meetings into virtual meetings. So even if there are physical distances, your team members can remain emotionally and mentally attached to one another.
9. Find Out Interesting Things About Your Team Members
Internal communication involves everything from business emails to watercooler conversations. Even when you are in the office, it does not mean you stop making friends or having informal discussions.
Leave your desk and find out unique and interesting things about your team members. This will help you create a valuable bond and remove barriers to communication.
If you do not know where to start or how to initiate a conversation, you can make some efforts to find answers to these questions:
- An employee who speaks more than three languages
- An employee who got recently married
- An employee who has a pet at home
- An employee who does not love pizza
You can add more to the list as you wish. These questions will help you take more interest in your peers and find awesome things about them.
10. Communicate Your Brand Story
Who does not love to hear a good story? As soon as someone says, “Let me tell you a story,” you know you want to hear one.
A powerful brand story that narrates your “Why” can help you change minds and win hearts. No wonder human brains can remember stories better than PowerPoint presentations.
Storytelling can be the foundation for boosting internal communication and creating a deep emotional connection with team members. You can talk about the initial days of your brand, the struggles, the sleepless nights, and the vision of the founders.
In addition, you can even share employee success stories. Conduct an interview with an employee who has spent a significant amount of time with the company and narrate their experience. Highlight the good and the bad days to make your story believable.
Every Internal Communication Matters!
Rethinking your existing internal communications strategy can seem like a scary idea first, but it’s not as monumental a task as it sounds. You can take small steps today to improve how your team communicates with one another.
For effective internal communication, allow employees to communicate on multiple channels, avoid technical jargon, make emails more fun and visual, and engage staff members on social media.
In addition to this, you can invest in an internal help desk system such as ProProfs Help Desk. This will allow admin, IT, and HR teams to respond quickly to employee requests and complaints. Remember, a team that communicates well stays together and delivers exceptional results.
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