How to Create Effective Internal Communication within Your Company
How effectively does your team communicate? Not sure? Then step outside from the comfort of your room and casually observe them without drawing attention to your domineering presence.
What do you see? Do you see a team working together in tandem as they get their work done; communicating with each other freely as they cooperate? Or do you see a team silently – too silently – buried in their own work that they don’t even notice you staring at them creepily?
It’s the latter, you realize with a sinking feeling.
Where’s the energy? Where’s the fraternity? Where’s the enthusiastic buzz that should fill the eerily silent hallways?
The answer is, it’s all in there and you just have to give it a nudge. The following tips will help you do just what you need to get your team to collaborate more energetically and enthusiastically.
- Encourage communication via online tools
Online collaboration tools are in multitudes; to name a few Skype, Slack etc. Their purpose is to make communication between people more effective and that’s exactly what you need!
Using such a tool will yield a few advantages that you can’t say no to;
- Uninterrupted collaboration among both onsite and offsite employees
- Ability to maintain more than one conversation at once
- Ability to archive group as well as individual chats to refer to later
- Effectively communicate with those who may not speak the same language as you do
- Avoid spending time on ad hoc meetings
- Cut back on overseas calling fees
With the use of such online collaboration tools, you can encourage company-wide conversations and also empower employees to share their opinions and ideas freely.
And that is a good starting point to creating an environment where effective communication habits can begin to raise their heads.
- Use an organizational chart to clarify the company network
Understanding where you belong in a company and identifying your reporting relationships with your seniors as well as your juniors are crucial for effective communication.
If your employees don’t know what tasks they are in charge of or who they should work with and report to, it will disrupt their individual communication habits within the organization. This is where you can use an organizational chart to illustrate the company structure and clarify the reporting relationships to your employees.
An org chart like this can be created and shared online with the entire company, using an online org chart tool. The more your employees know who is who, the more it would contribute to strengthening the internal communication system within your company.
- Fun activities to build team spirit
It doesn’t have to be all work, after all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Therefore, you and your employees should use a day of fun team-building activities once in a while, if not monthly.
Now, team building activities are not only to increase employees’ productivity or hone their skills, but it also provides the environment for employees to get to know each other in a more personal level; and that is another step closer to effective internal communication. The more you know a person, the more you would feel comfortable talking to her.
A sense of such friendly openness among employees can be developed through effective team building activities. If you think allocating an entire day for such activities would be unproductive, then you can plan an outing after work once a month; the idea is to get employees to interact outside their office, where they would feel more at ease in talking about topics beyond the projects they are working on.
- Highlight the company’s vision and mission
Being connected to something larger than themselves always unites people. If your employees feel they are working towards achieving the same goal, they’d feel more connected and more like a team.
Your company’s vision and mission, therefore is the glue that can hold them together and motivate them to work in tandem towards achieving the same goal. So off you go! Emphasize to them and make them internalize the vision your company believes in and the mission you are committed to.
- Practice transparency to earn trust
How involved are your employees in the company strategy? Are they only allowed to do what they are told or do they contribute with their input when coming up with strategies?
Remember, the key to improving internal communication is to build an open environment where opinions are voiced freely and not secretly in the confines of the boss’s room. Then, it is your responsibility to let your employees know what is going on and to value their opinion without tossing it aside.
If you maintain transparency with your employees as a leader, it will undoubtedly encourage them to be more transparent as well, hence creating the environment needed for an effective communication system to thrive.
- Conduct regular communication activities
Don’t think of it as a waste of time; think of it as an investment in creating more engaged employees, because that’s what it is! Regular communication activities do not necessarily have to take up hours of the schedule. Team-wise or department-wise, it would only take 10-20 minutes based on the number of members.
Every morning, you can encourage teams to get up from their seats, huddle up and share with each other what they are currently working on. This will not only get them to talk to each other, but it will also keep each other updated on what’s going on around them.
If time permits, hold a weekly meeting with the participation of all employees. This does not have to be the event of the week; it could be a casual meeting where teams share information about the projects they are working on. Sing a song or do a presentation to conclude it.
Such regular communication activities will not only provide you with a daily roundup of what projects employees are working on and which needs to be prioritized, but they will also get your employees (especially those who are too reserved) to open up to the idea of a culture of free expression.
- Be the exemplary leader you need to be
Be a great leader. Why? Because, your employees always look up to you, follow you and rely on you. None of the above mentioned tips would be effective if you merely impose them on your employees and avoid following them yourself.
Go out there and join them; participate in their daily communication activities, play a game and sing a song. The idea is for you to be approachable and not to be a Godly figure that descends upon the employees for few minutes in the morning and disappear after a few greetings that are loosely thrown about.
Effective internal communication is the key to an organization that functions well, for behind a company that finishes its projects and reaches its targets on time is always a team that follows efficient communication practices. And the tips we have discussed above will help you take your company there.
Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Cinergix, the team behind the development of the organizational chart software, Creately. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.