It’s easy for employers to overlook internal communications because they are focusing on what’s going on outside the company. However, keeping your employees informed is just as important, if not more important, than your external communications strategy. Here are a few tips to improve your internal communications strategy.
- Don’t rely on the grapevine. No matter how much you love Marvin Gaye, relying on the grapevine to share information with employees is never a good idea. When you do not control the message, the message will control you. Your employees want to hear from you, and when they do not, rumors and misinformation will spread quickly.
- Tell employees first. Do not let your employees find out company news by reading it in the newspaper or watching it on the evening news. Nothing is more disheartening than finding out from an outside source about what’s going on in your company.
- Share the company vision. It is difficult to get employees jazzed about what they are doing if they do not feel invested in the end result of their labor. Perhaps no one did this any better than Steve Jobs. He harnessed the power of his employees by sharing his vision with the entire company on a regular basis. Do you have a company vision? If so, great. How are you communicating it to your employees?
- Encourage two-way communication. We’ve all heard of top-down communication – management communicates to employees. But the best companies also adopt a bottom-up communication style in which employees can communicate directly with management, and it’s encouraged.
- Utilize the communication toolbox. There are several methods available to communicate with your internal audience. A few examples include a company intranet, video, webcasts, email, e-newsletters, social media, companywide meetings and the traditional printed pieces such as memos and newsletters. Be aware of communication limitations with employees who may not have access to a computer or those working off-site. Most companies have to employ a number of methods to communicate to every internal audience.
Employees should be your company’s biggest ally and advocate. Help them feel valued and connected to the vision by communicating with them frequently and through various channels.