Improving internal Business Communication
I’m a talker, and while that’s a trait that takes a lot of refining (because people don’t always want to listen), that has developed into a career in internal communications, where I keep my coworkers up-to-speed with everything happening at the company, all while making sure they’re listening. And an employee who is listening is much more likely to take action and be engaged. And we all know the major benefit of having a company full of engaged employees. (Hint: It’s growth.)
It’s likely you want to grow, but you might feel overwhelmed by the thought of adding internal communications to your list of to-dos. So I’m going to quickly present you with a different kind of list. It’s all the “one-ups” you, the small business owner, have on me, the leader of internal communications at a 650-plus employee company:
• It’s easier to align your employees to your strategies, priorities and purpose
• It’s easier to clear up any confusion among your team (and you can do it faster)
• You’ve got a personal relationship with each employee
• You don’t need 10 different communication vehicles to ensure everyone gets updates in a way that works best for them
Because of all those one-ups, you wouldn’t need much to kick off a successful internal communications program for your small business. In fact, you might be surprised to find you already HAVE an internal communications program as you read this. But, if you’ve never thought of communicating efficiently and effectively to your employees in a thoughtful way, there’s really only one thing you need to get started: It’s a communications vehicle that ensures all messaging gets in front of all employees in a way that’s relevant.
There may be a phrase in that last sentence that’s a bit intimidating—“a communications vehicle.” To be clear, I’m not covering advanced vehicles like a private online social space or an effective internal e-newsletter (though I will, in a later post). I am covering the communications vehicles that are super easy to get or implement, like:
• A whiteboard (like this large melamine dry-erase whiteboard)
• A calendar (like this peel-and-stick dry erase wall decal)
• An all-employee meeting
Now, you might be thinking, “A calendar? A whiteboard? She can’t be serious—this is 2015.” Oh, my friends, I’m super serious. Not every small business owner has the time to develop powerful online tools and communities, but they probably have time to grab a marker.
Before we get into the details, a quick disclaimer may be necessary. Because no small business operates or communicates the same way, I’ve chosen vehicles and ideas that generally benefit a small business with employees who all work out of the same location.
If you’re still stuck in the “This is 2015, lady” mindset, don’t think about it as a whiteboard. Think about it as the one thing your employees can look at each day to ensure they’re as in-the-know as possible. The easiest and most cost-effective way for any small business to accomplish this is to put a whiteboard somewhere everyone can easily see.
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How to improve internal communication and teamwork in an office environment
Of course it would depend on the size of your office, and the type of things you are doing already, but something simple to start with is a newsletter. A newsletter can be sent through email and is fairly easy to put together. Although you will need someone to be in charge of content, layout, etc. Don't be overambitious! You may need to start with a quarterly newsletter, not a weekly one.
If you are a larger company a company intranet is also very useful (if done correctly). Sometimes it may seem hard to get employees to pay attention to these things so try incorporating things like e…