Have you recently found yourself drowning in notifications or hopping from one to another meeting? Are internal teams communications making you confused?
You’re not alone, to be sure. In fact, only 7% of employees say that communication at work is “correct, timely, and transparent.”
Companies are straining to communicate effectively more than ever before, thanks to the development of remote labour.
While some teams feel completely in the dark, others find themselves looking at Slack threads or Zoom calls rather than working.
That is why you must reconsider your internal communication approach.
In five easy actions, you can improve your internal communication strategy.
So here’s the thing, everything from productivity and performance to workplace stress and beyond is influenced by communication. Comms should strengthen your team rather than stifle it.
We’ll go over five practical tips and instances of internal communications in this article.
1. When it comes to communication, establish protocols and expectations.
First and foremost, messaging and collaboration cannot be treated as a free-for-all.
Workers should not spend the entire day glued to their chat apps or inboxes “just because.” Sure, you shouldn’t have to wait hours (or days) for a response to a question or an update.
On the other hand, asking staff to be “on” at all times can be intimidating. This is especially true if you’re working with contractors, freelancers, or distributed personnel.
You’re simply putting your staff up for burnout if you don’t set expectations. This includes the following:
How frequently should your team communicate?
Stand-up routines on a daily basis. Check-ins every week. Monthly progress updates are provided.
All of the above are completely acceptable, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to how frequently teams should communicate. What important is that you and your co-workers can prepare for such eventualities in advance.
Consider this: 42% of remote workers claim they are more productive when they are given uninterrupted time to work. Modern teams need to conduct things like chat check-ins and video meetings, but they shouldn’t get in the way of letting your colleagues do their best job.
This emphasises the importance of your team having both individual and shared schedules. As a result, your teammates will be able to block off the time needed for any given task, and no one will be stepping on anyone’s schedule.
You can also organise regular events (such as stand-ups or meetings) using programmes like RisePath PlanCentral to create a feeling of continuity and avoid bothersome scheduling “surprises.”
It’s also a good idea to develop policies for check-ins and different meeting styles. For instance, a business might enact policies such as:
- “At least 72 hours in advance, meetings must be booked…”
- “Emails from the team should be answered within one business day…”
- “Teammates should respond to direct @mentions within 24 hours…”
When should you keep your communications formal? (versus informal)
Internal communication takes on a variety of tones depending on the company.
Many teams utilise Slack channels as a place to get a little more casual, drop some memes, and let loose a little. Company-wide emails or Kanban board updates, on the other hand, might be a little more “suit and tie.”
Whether you keep your communication formal or informal is primarily determined by the culture of your company. Giving your co-workers a place to unwind and shed the business jargon is, nevertheless, a nice break and a subtle approach to drawing people together.
It’s all about sticking to a single theme. When you require one tone for one tool and another for another, you start to confuse your employees.
Where do you keep track of your progress and milestones?
Keeping people informed about the development of any particular project is arguably one of the most critical aspects of any internal communications strategy.
A Kanban board comes in handy in this situation. Rather than wasting time emailing back and forth, project boards give a central location for teams to communicate.
This eliminates bottlenecks and unnecessary notification spam while also holding collaborators accountable for their contributions to any specific project.
Always keep in mind that the ultimate purpose of implementing the practices outlined above is to increase work performance and reduce employee stress.
2. Create a communications hierarchy within your organisation.
It is not necessary for one individual to be in charge of keeping personnel up to date.
In addition, knowledge should not be “trickled down” to teams.
Both of these problems can be avoided by establishing a communications hierarchy. This translates to:
Define your roles (and who reports to who)
There aren’t any major shocks here. Teammates feel more confident in their communication when they know who they’re reporting to and who is working on what.
This is particularly crucial for new and entry-level employees. Managers should be able to delegate work while still reporting to their superiors.
Keep in mind that if you have a small team with only a few employees, a full-fledged process or hierarchy may not be essential. An up-and-coming agency, for example, might have one or two managers who work with contractors before reporting to the founder.
For larger firms, identifying roles is critical for cross-team collaboration and cross-departmental communication.
Allow teams to converse among themselves while remaining transparent.
It is critical, especially for distant workers, to be able to collaborate quickly and efficiently.
Teams, on the other hand, should be given the freedom and flexibility to express themselves via team chat in their own channels. The same holds true for entry-level employees, contract workers, C-level executives, and everyone in between.
Managers should have faith in their teams and allow them to communicate with one another. To establish an open discussion policy that works, team members need a safe area where they can share their thoughts and concerns without fear of being judged.
Team channels do an excellent job of dispelling the terrible feeling that “Big Brother” is always on the lookout. Instead, channels make people feel more at ease and encourage them to speak up.
3. Determine whether real-time communications are required versus ‘passive’ messaging.
“Ugh.” Couldn’t it just have been an email?”
You’ve probably had this thought after another meeting request arrives in your email, right?
We’ve all been there, so trust us.
Your internal communication strategy and how you prioritise activities go hand in hand. Although video conversations, chat messages, and email may appear to be interchangeable, they all indicate different levels of urgency and precedence.
Consider the following communication framework as an example:
- For company-wide announcements, video announcements, general team communication, and low-priority questions use team chat.
- For the sake of having a centralised site for specialised information, updates, team organisations, and onboarding materials use documentation hubs and email.
- Video calls are ideal for 15-minute meetings, presentations, and chats.
- Calls and SMS for high-priority matters that require immediate communication.
Again, teams must strike a balance between keeping people informed and bombarding them with information.
4. Reduce the size of your communication stack to save time for your team.
Fact: 43% of employees believe they spend too much time switching between team chat and video apps.
It’s no surprise that teams are anxious when there are so many tools on the market.
While tools like Slack and Zoom are extremely useful (especially for remote teams), there’s no disputing that they may be time sinks. Bouncing from platform to platform costs you time and money, not to mention causes you to lose focus.
Learning the ins and outs of a variety of different tools can be difficult as well. The idea that teams working with contractors must adopt a half-dozen tools in order to collaborate is unrealistic.
This emphasises the need of utilising an all-in-one solution. Teams can get more done with a single platform that includes a chat app, planner, video meetings, and granular task management tools.
You’re not only saving time navigating between apps, but you’re also making it easier to onboard new employees with just one tool.
5. Over time, evaluate (and re-evaluate) your internal communications strategy.
Reality check: your conversations will not be flawless from the start.
As you try out different tools and methods, keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Make it a point to ask: During talks with your team and first-hand feedback, make it a point to ask:
- Do your staff believe they are well-informed?
- Do employees believe their opinions are respected and heard?
- Is it possible that staff spend too much time in meetings?
- Do your staff want to work together?
You may uncover bottlenecks and possible communication issues through feedback and surveys before they spiral out of hand.
Project time-tracking software is another technique to evaluate the efficacy of your internal communications tactics.
As a result, you’ll have a concrete statistic to determine whether employees are spending enough time communicating and how communications affect outcomes.
Is your company’s internal communication strategy effective?
When it comes to communication, businesses cannot afford to take chances.
Take action if you feel like you can’t keep your employees on the same page or there’s too much confusion.
Investing in a project management solution such as RisePath PlanCentral is a great way to get started. You may empower your colleagues to work smoothly and put an end to endless back-and-forth by integrating your team’s communication.