Communication is one of the key ingredients that keep the business world moving. Outward-facing communications (things like marketing and sales) are easy to prioritize, as they are obvious elements of branding and revenue. Internal communications are more subtle, though no less important.
Cloud-based composition assistant Grammarly highlights many of the benefits that healthy internal communication can provide. These include greater levels of trust and engagement as well as improved teamwork, innovation, and productivity.
If your company is struggling to communicate internally, here are a few tips to help you build a better internal communication strategy.
1. Educate Your Team on Different Kinds of Internal Communication
Education is a leader’s best friend. It doesn’t matter how impressive or effective your communication tools are. Without the ability to train your peers and your team members to use them, you won’t be able to maximize your internal comms.
That’s why, before getting too far into the details of your strategy, you should start with a basic assessment. How well does everyone in your company understand how internal communications should work?
For instance, the employee experience platform LumApps splits effective internal communication into four key categories. These are the quadrants in which information and messaging tend to flow:
- Top-down communication is when leadership must direct key messaging, such as a major company announcement, down the org chart to the rest of the organization.
- Bottom-up communication flips the direction of the flow of information, enabling staff to interact with leadership, often through things like feedback and surveys.
- Peer-to-peer communication promotes collaboration and innovation through the horizontal sharing of information across a company’s workforce.
- Crisis situation communication focuses on speed and volume and is a quick, comprehensive way to address safety and risk concerns.
It’s important for employees and leaders alike to understand the way information flows within your company. If you want your communication infrastructure to function well, start by making sure everyone is aware of the way information should flow through it.
2. Use the Right Communication Channels for Each Message
There are a lot of different ways to communicate. Every year a buffet of new apps and tools appear on the scene, promising faster, more effective communication. At this point, the list includes (but is certainly not limited to):
- Phone calls
- Video messages
- In-person meetings
- Company notice boards
- Group brainstorming or other meetings
Many tools provide a single communication channel. Others, like Slack, offer comprehensive platforms.
At the end of the day, though, using the latest or the greatest software isn’t going to magically solve internal communication issues. It’s up to organizations to identify what kind of tools they need to communicate effectively.
For instance, a fully remote company could utilize a larger intranet platform to keep an international workforce connected throughout the week. A group working locally in a hybrid environment may want to implement additional lines of communication, such as texting and phone calls. A warehouse may not benefit from a sleek cloud-based solution at all but rather from company notice boards and in-person meetings.
Make sure you’re considering the best channels not based on the merits of the tools themselves but on your organizational needs.
3. Think Outside the Box for Your Communications
There are obvious ways to communicate within a corporate setting. Sending a memo about a new workplace policy or emailing a team about an upcoming meeting are normal and acceptable ways to communicate.
However, there are more nuanced elements of internal communication that don’t work well in restricted formats. Communicating company culture is a good example of a priority for many modern businesses that can be difficult to teach to a team. Texts and emails are too impersonal, and live video sessions or in-person meetings can be impractical (or even impossible in some remote work settings).
When that’s the case, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box as you look for ways to communicate key messages to your team. In the case of something like culture training, you can use a more in-depth communication tool, like podcasting, to get the message across.
Podcasts give employees the flexibility to listen to a longer message when it fits into their schedule. It also gives leaders the ability to present complex and detailed messages in a personal and engaging format.
As a word of warning, if you do choose to expand your internal communication infrastructure through something like a podcast, make sure to invest in doing so well. Remote recording Saas platform SquadCast points out that focusing on the right features for your podcast, such as consistent recording equipment and capable remote-recording software, can elevate its effectiveness as an internal comms tool. This ensures that the end product is high-quality and easy to listen to.
4. Keep Overall Messaging at a Minimum
Finally, remember to be targeted and concise at all times. Business communication is never meant to be prolific, complicated, or unnecessary.
Business writing is a professional form of communication. In other words, each memo and email isn’t the next Great American Novel. Every internal message should be purposeful, convey relevant information, and be clear, concise, and practical.
It doesn’t matter if you’re composing a memo about a minor announcement or recording a seminal podcast episode that will serve as a foundational element of your corporate identity. Always be clear, precise, and above all, brief.
Set up the right channels for your business. Educate your team on your current communication structure. Think outside the box for each kind of communication you send. Keep things brief. If you can stick to these tenets, you can take your internal company communication strategy to the next level and pave the way for a more efficient, engaged, and productive workforce.