Larger enterprises with disparate teams who aren’t in the same office, or even in the same country can run in to trouble when it comes to internal communication. Messages get lost and no one knows what anyone else is doing. The result is duplication of effort, and unnecessary man hours spent trying to find information that should be freely available for all employees. You know it’s time for to implement a cohesive internal communications strategy, but what should be a relatively simple process can cause as many problems as it solves. Here’s our round up of the top five internal comms issues, and how to avoid them.
1) Don’t Be Old Fashioned
Ideas like ‘cascading’ (informing top management, who brief the next level down, etc.) and desk drops have no place in the modern office. Dripped down briefings get diluted resulting in the essence of the message getting lost and who needs another piece of paper that will end up in the recycling 0.5 seconds after receiving it? Instead the center piece to a well thought out internal communications strategy should be an employee intranet which allows all employees to view it from everywhere, on any device. Make it cloud based and all those satellite staff working from home, on site or with customers can see exactly the same page as their office based colleagues, closing the communication gap that is so common in enterprise.
2) Not Having a Strategy.
Failing to plan is, well, planning to fail. Deciding to make a conscious effort to communicate more is always a good idea, but what you say and how that communication happens is just as important. Make a list of the communication channels at your disposal - this might include the employee intranet, email, notes in payslips, internal messaging systems, face to face briefings, newsletters and the old classics, like the back of restroom doors. Understand which groups each method reaches. Then start with the business strategy for the year. What do your employees need to know and when? Drop in regular events like quarterly results and fit less time sensitive information around it.
3) Too Much Information
By planning carefully, it’s possible to avoid inundating staff with constant messages. Select communication channels wisely and send out only what people really need to see. Better still, segment the audience logically so only the accounts team get the finance messages specific to them or only those attending the Christmas party get the note about dress code. Great internal communications should tell employees what they need to know, not kill an hour of their day as they wade through a daily tranche of information.
4) Failing to Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
Remember that presentation skills workshop where they told you: “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, and tell ‘em again”? The same mantra works in internal comunications. Reinforcement is key to retaining information. So tease the message, tell the story and follow it up. For variety, use more than one channel so repeated information doesn’t get boring.
5) Not Measuring Results.
As part of the planning process, work in metrics so you can effectively see how well campaigns are going. Track how many clicks articles on the intranet gets and whether that changes when you tease the story on another channel. Work an A/B split with a different headline served up to one half to see what wording resonates the most and survey employees for spontaneous recall of that day’s intranet news stories.
Done right, good internal communications can increase productivity, save time and make employees feel better connected to their colleagues and the business. Forbes reports that “companies with highly effective communication practices enjoy 47% higher total returns to shareholders compared with the firms that are least effective at communicating”.
So it’s time to ask yourself – “Does my intranet do enough to facilitate the businesses’ communication leads?”. At BrightStar, we've designed our very own out of the box intranet solution that can do it all and be up and running in six weeks. Unily incorporates all the features that 80% of business users say they need in an intranet so the chances are it has what you need. Get in touch with us today to discuss how a Unily deployment could help drive your internal communication initiatives.
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