The new year is a great time for a fresh start, right? We may already be one month into the new year, but some of us may still need some help with our resolutions. For many internal comms professionals, this means reviewing what went well last year and what you need to change. Looking optimistically to the year ahead and planning ways to improve and grow.
Don’t let your internal comms team miss out on this annual overhaul. Constant developments in technology mean user behavior and expectations are changing all the time – and your company should be adapting to this change. Stay on top of the trends and develop more effective internal communications in 2018 with these five resolutions:
Start with management
Make sure your leaders are setting an example from the top and maintaining their credibility with strong communication. Getting this right has a positive impact on team morale, productivity, and even financial performance.
Innovative managers should stay ahead of how the workplace is changing and how their team members’ needs are evolving. And they should seek out and implement systems that will meet those needs.
With so many communication tools available now, there is a solution to suit every kind of team and every type of problem, but the amount of choice can be overwhelming. Make sure your managers have the support they need to pick the right solution for their challenge, then give the whole team the training they need to make the most of it.
There’s nothing worse than moving to a new system and then being left to figure it out by yourself. But used effectively, tools such as our own Email Tracking software for Internal Comms, Drift, and Slack can help increase team engagement, build rapport with managers, and improve results.
Act the age of your workforce
Are you still doing everything by email? Although emails still have their place (otherwise we wouldn’t be in business ), your internal comms might be more effective with a multi-channel approach.
This is especially true if your company has a younger demographic. These employees see emails as a bit old-fashioned, having jumped straight into instant messaging and social media as teens (remember MSN or ICQ days?!). They’ll respond better to a similar form of communication at work, so try a system that uses alerts or short messages to communicate important points, particularly on mobile devices.
If you rely solely on emails, your internal comms run the risk of being filed under “read later” – and who knows when that might be.
Have a bit of fun
Although your internal communications need to stay professional, there’s no need to be so darn serious all the time. A touch of humor and personality can help build rapport, improve the company image, and make serious messages easier to digest.
It’s been shown that laughter connects people, and a happier workplace is significantly more productive than a miserable one. Plus, if you make something fun to read, people are more likely to enjoy it and willingly open the next installment. Boring emails get ignored. Fact.
Another benefit of adding some personality and humor is it makes the company and its management team appear more human and approachable. This again feeds into the company culture, creating an environment where people feel valued and free to communicate openly.
Get employees involved
Another way to make your employees feel valued is to get staff at all levels of the company involved with delivering important messages. Get Sarah from Customer Service to demo your new product and it’s likely to get far more attention than if it were just another exec in a suit.
Of course you need to choose people according to their strengths, and never put them in a position that makes them feel uncomfortable or which may lead to ridicule (fortunately Sarah from Customer Service has awesome presentation skills and she nailed the demo).
Peer-to-peer communication can also involve sharing success stories, profiling different teams, and presenting reports.
Not only are you improving engagement by engaging in peer-to-peer communications; you’re also creating a culture that makes staff members feel empowered and included.
- Make it a two-way Street
If all your internal comms come from the top down, 2018 is definitely the year to turn things around – literally. Your staff need to know that they have a way to communicate with management too, rather than just being talked at all the time.
And it’s not a case of simply putting a system in place to facilitate this bottom-to-top communication; it will take time for employees to feel comfortable using it. Could you really blame them for being suspicious if you suddenly start acting all transparent and inclusive?
Once you get this kind of system to work, though, it helps build trust between employees and leaders and generates valuable feedback for the company.
Your 2018 internal comms resolutions in a nutshell
Overhaul your internal communications this year by looking first and foremost at the needs of your employees. What kinds of systems do they interact with best, and how can you get your managers on board to implement these and use them effectively? Lighten up your messages and get employees involved with delivering your key points to help the whole company feel more connected. Finally, make sure you have channels set up for transparent, two-way communication.
How will you be winning employee attention this year? We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or contact us here.