16 August 2013
Though it might not seem a top priority in tough economic times, effective internal communication can help make sure your workforce is happy, engaged and motivated. It could even save you money.
For example, recent research from Cass Business School looked at how well, or not, companies communicate their employee benefits. It found that an SME with 250 employees that offers good benefits but fails to communicate them spends £245,125 a year more on staff turnover and sickness absence than those companies that have comparable employee benefits packages, but have good internal communication practices.
But what’s the best way to communicate with your staff? We’ve put together this list of tech and non-tech ideas to get you started:
10 ideas to help boost your internal communication
- Open door policy: good internal communication is about listening as well as talking. Encourage an open door policy for all managers so they’re more approachable. Or consider getting everyone in senior positions to take desks on the main floor and use any offices for meetings only.
- Employee handbook: This one goes back to the employee benefits research we mentioned above. To help make sure your staff know about any benefits you offer, clearly list them in an employee handbook and on your company Intranet (see 3)
- Intranet: This is an in-house secure store which can include a wide range of useful information such as employee benefits or links to reports. Tools such as Bitrix24 help create modern Intranet systems. Putting vital documents like expenses claim forms on the Intranet will ensure staff use it. You can then put key messages on the landing page so they’re read.
- Wiki: This is a kind of software that lets groups of people work together on the same document. The document has no owner and anyone can add or edit as they like. There are lots of versions (check out document.ly and doolphy which are great for marketing and other projects that thrive on creativity and shared ownership.
- Google Documents: Google Documents is another kind of shared document, with the difference that it has an owner who can then invite comments by “sharing” with other people. It’s good for things like board reports or staff rotas.
- Social media: companies with young staff are becoming increasingly switched on to sites like Facebook as a good, cheap way of engaging with the workforce. Watch the security settings though if you don’t want it seen by the wider world.
- Noticeboard: Yes, we’re all very tech-savvy these days, but a noticeboard is a very visible way of making sure important notices/messages are seen. Keep your health and safety info on there and other vital notices and put it by the kettle in the kitchen.
- Online Stickies: these are a great online tool (for example: linoit) for posting information such as important phone numbers or web passwords that certain teams of people in the office need to see. Many versions are free.
- Meetings: it’s important not to just rely on email and other screen-based communication. Many modern SMEs favour “stand-ups” by someone’s desk or the water cooler where everyone remains standing. They’re quick and keep everyone (literally) on their toes.
- Avoid silos: Consider hot-desking or creating break-out spaces in different parts of the office to encourage teams who tend to stick together to communicate more with others outside of their group.