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Channels for IT Communication

Your IT department has an important role to play in your organization, keeping it connected with information technology software and hardware, troubleshooting, providing advice and support and making sure that employees are able to carry out their day-to-day work.

The IT department might come up with custom solutions for individual projects, or find innovative ways for the overall IT systems in the organization to improve. They are also responsible for cyber security and ensuring all the systems are running at their optimum.

When you ask the rest of the organization what the IT department does, however, their answers may vary widely. They may just assume its all fixing computers all day long because often when they need help or assistance with a problem, that’s the only time they will have any contact with someone from IT.

IT departments in many organizations don’t tend to market themselves or their services to the rest of their company very well. It can be easy to focus on the everyday work and just get on with the job of doing what they do.

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But because IT is such an important function in the organization, it’s important that all employees understand what it does and are kept up-to-date with any relevant news, updates and issues that could affect them from an IT perspective.

Developing an internal communications plan for your IT department can help to improve the reputation of the IT department, boost knowledge within the company and improve relationships between the IT department and other business teams.

Your plan should include what you want to tell people – for example when to share information about new innovations, known issues, cyber security tips, successful projects, outages, system maintenance and so on.

All your communications should be clear, concise and easy to read – free from jargon or overly technical information that would be hard for the majority of people to understand. The frequency of your communication needs to be right too and can vary from organization to organization. Too often and you could frustrate people. Not often enough and people will feel they are kept in the dark.

Once you have an idea of the what, why and when of your communications you need to figure out the “how.” This refers to the different communications vehicles, or “channels”, that you will use to communicate your information with employees.

Choosing multiple channels is considered best practice for internal communications. Finding the right mix for your organization and what your employees will respond to can be daunting. These are some of the top channels you should consider:

1. Email

This is the most traditional method of communicating with employees. Sending email updates in the form of newsletters or notifications is probably the most widely used communication method for IT departments around the world.

There are pros and cons to this channel of delivery, however. Many people feel overwhelmed by emails and have email fatigue. So much so that many emails are never even opened and get lost in overflowing inboxes.

2. Intranet

Your intranet site is another “traditional” channel and a place to store lots of information that your employees can access.

For the IT department it’s a great place to keep all your policies, procedures, help documentations, how-to guides, FAQs, forms and other relevant information.

You can even include a self-service portal that helps employees to do a lot of very basic tasks such as password resets that they would otherwise call your IT help desk for.

3. Corporate social networks

People are used to using social networks in their personal lives and like the way that they can use these for information sharing and to get news and updates from people or companies that they follow.

There are several different options, such as Facebook for Business or Yammer, that you can use in a similar way, but for corporate updates. If your internal communications team has set one of these up for your company, consider using it to share news about the IT department.

4. DeskAlerts

Many IT departments in organizations around the world have caught on to DeskAlerts to communicate with their company’s workforce quickly and easily. DeskAlerts works by sending pop-up notifications straight to employees’ desktop screens in a way that can’t be ignored, skipped or minimized. The notifications will appear regardless of which software application is being used at the time, or if the screen is locked, on standby or in screensaver mode.

DeskAlerts is a great alternative to email because you can be sure that the messages have been seen. You can send to the entire organization, or just to niche groups of users such as employees in specific office locations or users of particular software applications.

It’s a great way to send notifications about outages both planned and unplanned – especially when some of these announcements can be time sensitive.

Other features that can be added on include a scrolling ticker tape, corporate wallpaper, corporate screensavers and digital signage which can also be used to help send key messages about the IT department and its services.

5. Video

Video content is extremely popular and appeals to many people who are more visual in their learning styles.

Creating short, snappy videos about IT issues, news, projects and so on can be a great way to share the work that your team does.

6. Team platforms

Specific project management team platforms such as Teams or Slack are a good way to communicate with employees within a team. You can use it to boost communication internally within your own team, or for your team members to share with people working on projects that they are also a part of.

These applications generally have features such as a news feed, discussion boards, chat functions, document sharing and more making it easy to keep all communications in one place.

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