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7 tips to optimize your internal communication
Do you need to communicate with your staff? If you agree with us that internal communication is crucial, here are 7 tips to help you dust off your internal communication, and to make it more relevant and effective.
Before getting to the heart of the matter, here are the three types of internal communication that a company must deal with:
- Operational communication – that which concerns operational matters affecting your company, including welcoming new arrivals, HR announcements or business policies, etc.
- Interpersonal communication – this form of communication is the most difficult to master but can nevertheless significantly influence the operation of your company. This includes office rumors, information shared between employees during coffee breaks, or quite simply discussions between all the employees within the company.
- Motivational communication – this form of communication is often overlooked but is essential for the health of your company because it helps to create team cohesion and establish your corporate culture. You should therefore be prepared to congratulate, encourage and share information with your teams.
Although the company has few means at its disposal when it comes to influencing interpersonal communication, the following 7 tips are intended to help you make your operational and motivational communication more effective, thereby reducing the importance of the former.
1. Set rules and stick to them
When companies do not have the human resources required to manage internal communication, it can be managed erratically. However, it is important to establish a proper communication plan. It will be necessary to identify the topics to be covered and the tone of the messages, … but also their frequency. All of these points may vary depending on the intended target audiences for the communication in question. As is the case with your external communication, the message will be different depending on the target audiences. The message will also differ depending on the department issuing it... in this case the communication department or the human resources or IT departments.
It is therefore necessary to put in place clear practices for all departments that communicate internally. The use of a graphic charter, with the introduction of templates for example, will allow you create a visual communication aid recognizable by all.
2. Make your messages relevant to your employees
Although it may seem obvious, are you sure that your internal communication is of interest to your employees? Internal communication is often limited to corporate information, i.e.the latest quarterly newsletter or regulatory information.
Even if this type of information is essential, it’s also necessary to use a more lighthearted and motivating form of communication, which appeals to all employees. A company should seek to develop its internal communication actions with a focus on inspiring content, current events or the company’s successes that have a direct impact on employees. This influences the employees’ perception of the company and increases the sense of belonging. It is crucial today, especially with the advent of large-scale teleworking, to strengthen the spirit of cohesion internally by ensuring that the company communicates with all employees in a suitably adapted manner. What’s more, your staff are on the receiving end of a tsunami of incoming information each day, which makes sorting and assimilating it complicated.
There are new tools available which make it possible to deliver the right message or image in a targeted manner, at the right time, making communication personalized, adapted and effective.
3. Involve your employees to ensure inclusive internal communication
Communication concerns everyone in a company. Encouraging your staff to participate in the creation of communication content in order to avoid a mainly top-down form of communication is an easy solution to put in place. Communication must flow upwards as well as downwards!
Several solutions are possible:
- Invite the teams to make proposals in order to encourage collective brainstorming. Probe them on what information they lack, and on what they prefer. In this way, each employee makes a contribution.
- Encourage employees to share their interests, for example by organizing internal events at the employees’ initiative and then publishing photos and videos of these shared moments.
- An internal communication tool like Channels can facilitate the sharing of knowledge and good practices via the use of the Locking tool for example, which is used to reinforce these messages by circulating them either in a targeted manner or via all employees’ computer screens. Additionally, when you are lucky enough to have employees who are loyal to your company, give them a voice by sharing their experiences. This will give them a real feeling of recognition and for new recruits it will be a valuable source of inspiration. This is, after all, what many people are looking for, to identify with the corporate philosophy in order to satisfy this need to belong that drives us.
4. Ensure coherence in your communication
Coherent communication will maximize team commitment and engagement. Your communication must be regular, interdepartmental and transparent.
Your communication must be regular, interdepartmental and transparent. Your communication should bring your employees fully onboard, making them ambassadors for your company. To achieve this, over and above the choice of the content itself, you must ensure that you carry out the same communication with your customers as with your sales teams, for example. An employee should not say to himself, “That’s what we tell them, but in reality, it’s another matter!” It’s also important to ensure good timing with your communication: wherever possible news should be conveyed firstly via internal communication.
Don’t give employees the impression that they are no better informed than the customers. Discovering information about the company from a tweet or a customer, for example, can be devastating.
Similarly, your human resources policy and internal operations must be on the same wavelength. You should never hear within your ranks, “that’s just the theory but it’s different in practice”.
Rally people to your corporate culture by communicating your values.
5. Facilitate access to information through successful circulation
Now that you know what you want to communicate, we can move on to the question of how. You need to find one or more tools that allow for direct and fluid communication. After all, you don’t want corridor chit-chat to be the communication message your employees end up absorbing. Very often, a lot of content exists within companies but it is not known or not consulted by employees. How can you make this content more effective?
Forget the magnetic bulletin board that requires you to print out x copies of the latest internal communiqué. There are now digital solutions available, enabling you to distribute and target your communications with a single click. These solutions will capture your employees’ attention and make sure they don’t miss out on important information.
Choose the right media and the right channel for your communications:
65% of the population is made up of people with a visual memory, which means that visual or video content is preferable. So use digital signage screens in your business. Our Media4Display digital signage solution will enable you to communicate in strategic places in your company: halls, break rooms, open spaces, workshops, etc. It will also help you to communicate effectively with employees who have little or no access to IT resources and corporate email, and to include these employees in your communication plan.
It’s also possible to communicate directly via your employees’ workstations, in a targeted manner. This solution, which is complementary to digital signage, will allow you to communicate with employees even when working remotely, ensuring that they do not miss important information. Forget the generic email addressed to everyone, lost in the middle of the flood of business information, and opt instead for targeted messages and a channel dedicated to internal communication: through information pop-ups, personalization of the background screen or the lock screen, or even alerts on the workstation!
As you can see, it’s time that internal communication was digitalized.
6. Measure the performance of your internal communication
For external communication, we always try to measure the results. It should be the same for internal communication too.
If you use tools allowing you to measure the impact of your message with, for example, the number of views, this will enable you to assess the quality of the messages, including those which failed to obtain the expected result or, on the contrary, those which met with great success. All this valuable information will help you to learn and ultimately to improve your future messages.
Statistical evaluation is one thing, but nothing can replace oral or written evaluation. You therefore simply need to regularly ask your employees what they think and what they would like to see, either informally or through regular digital surveys.
To conclude, successful internal communication is based on an in-depth knowledge of the actions carried out, in order to be able to adjust them at any time.
7. Follow the trends
Our last piece of advice is valid for so many things and also applies to internal communication: don’t rest on your laurels, stay on the lookout constantly and be sure to keep abreast of the latest trends. They will serve as a source of inspiration and make your communications even more relevant. Reading this article is a good start! And don’t forget that without the right distribution channels and tools, even the best content won’t have the intended impact!