Effective internal communication has a lot to do with creating a workplace environment that promotes an open line of communication. Finding ways to communicate with employees can be tricky, especially since an extra amount of care has to be taken not to cross any professional lines. However, while coming up with an internal communications plan can prove to be difficult, here are some of the tips you can keep in mind to make sure that communication is as professional, genuine and transparent as possible:
1. Be clear. Avoid using flowery words or terms that are too technical. Trying to sound “smart” can lead to miscommunication and confusion.
2. Set the tone from the very beginning. Whatever tone you opt to set, set it from the very beginning. This starts form the CEO and senior executives of the company. They have to be accessible and visible to their employees so that company goals and objectives are better expressed, and consequently, better understood.
3. Know the employees you want to communicate with. Different avenues and methods are needed if you are trying to interact with different audiences, departments or employees. Know who your employees are, and determine what they need and how they receive information.
4. Use multiple channels when employing your internal communications strategy. Hand out printed newsletters. Send electronic messages. Talk with employees one-on-one. Organize open forms and meetings. Multiple channels will increase the likelihood that your message will be heard and understood. Remember to be consistent with your tone and messaging for all channels.
5. Give the context of your message and explain the strategy you want to take. Also, remember to make your message personal to your employees. Explain how the issue affects them, and how your strategy aid them along the way.
6. Make sure you inform employees first. Internal communications should be about making sure that your employees here the message from you first before they hear it from other people. For example, if your organization is going through financial difficulties, it is better for you to be transparent with your employees before they hear about the situation in the news.
7. Be consistent. Always allow your employees to truly be part of the company by being forthcoming and consistent when it comes to communicating both bad and good news.
8. Have a plan and take action. When you say that you will address particular issues a certain way, make sure that you follow through with your promises. If you fail to do so, your credibility diminishes.
9. Encourage face-to-face communication. While employees now turn to email, instant messaging and the like to communicate with others in the workplace, human interaction continues to be more impactful.
10. Plan and let your employees in on the plan. You can do this by creating timelines, calendars and checklists that your staff members can access. This way, they feel like they are part of whatever is going on in the company.
11. Be objective. Don’t try to spin conversations into how you want it to go. Don’t dictate or assume how people should feel about your interaction with them and about the message you want to deliver.
12. Measure effectiveness by regularly checking how engaged your employees are, and if everyone continues to understand what the company stands for and what its goals are. Make sure that everyone is clearly aiming towards the same, specific objective. Working together this way will increase your chances of success.
13. Say thank you. Saying thank you to employees who work hard will make them feel valued, more appreciated, and consequently, more engaged.