For companies battling through tough economic times, effective internal communications may not sound like a top priority. But clear and effective communication within a company, no matter what size, is a big deal. Get it wrong and you'll soon have a workforce that is unsure, inefficient and struggling with motivation.
Effective communication is all about getting a clear message to the right people through the appropriate channels at the right time, whether it's about the company's goals and aspirations or that you're introducing a new employee perk like Bob, the mannequin punching bag - that's what Zappos did to help employees get their frustration out!
But what's the best way to communicate with your staff?
Obviously this will depend on the situation and the size of your company. For example, there's nothing like a rousing, inspirational talk from the CEO about the goals and aspirations of the company and how each and every employee can help achieve this goal; whereas for a team working on a specific project, a secure social network may be the best answer.
Here's a handy list of techie (and non-techie) ideas to get you started:
1. Open door
There's a reason why the we have two ears, but one mouth' adage is still used. Good internal communication is about listening as well as talking. Promoting an open door policy will help employees feel more able to approach the boss. Or why not push the envelope and get senior personnel to take desks on the main floor leaving any offices for meetings?
2. Social networks
With research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimating that improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent, this one could be worth considering. Social networks like Yammer help your employees collaborate no matter where they're based, or Convo offers a basic package for 20 or less users for free.
The company intranet is an in-house, secure area for a wide range of useful information such as employee benefits, but you can also link to vital documents like expenses claim forms to encourage staff usage. Plus, the landing page provides the perfect medium for key messages.
4. Bulletin board
Yes, it's all very retro in these tech-smart days, but a bulletin board is still a very visible way of making sure important notices/messages are seen. Keep your health and safety info and other vital notices on it and put it by the coffee machine. Remember to remove old messages and change content frequently, so it doesn't become part of the furniture.
5. Online sticky notes
Online tools like linoit are great when you want to post information like important phone numbers or web passwords that only certain employees need to know. And many versions are completely free.
With online communication so simple and capable of reaching all employees at once, it's tempting to just sit back and press send'. But don't underestimate the importance of face-to-face communication. Many modern SMBs opt for "stand-ups " by someone's desk or the water cooler where everyone remains standing. They're quick, allow feedback and literally keep everyone on their toes.
You'll know best which method(s) is likely to be the best fit for your company, but try a few and see what strikes a chord. And in the true spirit of effective and engaging internal communication, why not survey your employees to gauge its success or ask them to share their own ideas?
The sites I mention or link to in this post are just examples that I thought you'd find useful - I don't endorse them or their services. I have no affiliation with them and make no representation about their services.