Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Communicating with staff is crucial to the success of any company, large or small.
This is particularly important during times of change. And, let’s face it, most companies are in a constant state of evolution.
Good communications will ensure that current employees feel that they are important and valued assets and at the same time it will become apparent to prospective employees looking for a new challenge that you are an open, transparent operation. These are really strong outcomes at a time when retaining and attracting top staff is the number one priority for so many businesses.
If utilised correctly and consistently, good staff comms builds morale and confidence – and in turn drives productivity. Well informed people are motivated people.
By our nature, we all have an insatiable need to know where we stand and what is expected of us. If change is taking place, how will this affect us? We need reassurance and to know that we belong.
It is crucial that your team is on-board with the company’s mission and values so that they act as your brand ambassadors. How they feel about the business reaches from them out to the community, suppliers, prospective employees and most crucially of all, to customers.
Most companies that I have come across do not look to confuse their staff, it happens because internal communications is not embedded into the culture. They believe they are communicating, but in reality they are playing at it. You have to work with the commitment that staff communications must be undertaken on a regular basis, that the information provided is open and honest and that you actually implement the actions that you describe in your communications.
Taking the time to develop a staff comms plan is key. If necessary, give one person in the business the role of looking after it. They need to know what the key messages are but then let them be creative in the way they deliver those messages.
We always stress that it is important to communicate to staff the challenges ahead and the plan that is in place to achieve a positive outcome. Then, it is critical to celebrate success as a team and to congratulate and highlight individuals who, in their own way, are making a valuable contribution to the team effort.
So, how should the comms plan be delivered? There are more outlets than ever before.
Despite living in the digital age, print is still a very powerful medium that allows for internal newsletters, poster campaigns and message boards.
Social media has enabled internal communications to become more personal, real-time, creative and fun. Channels such as Facebook, allow staff to become actively involved and to give feedback and recommendations on a wide range of issues.
Company information can be portrayed electronically via a newsletter, online meetings through Skype, updates displayed on electronic notice boards in large workplaces – or, simply, via the traditional route of team or face-to-face meetings.
Websites also act as a go-to-point for internal communications. CEOs or MDs could feature in a regular short company update online video explaining the current state-of-play and making themselves visible. Regular blogs from senior management and from employees demonstrate a desire to inform and include.
One size does not fit all when it comes to staff comms. Decide what works best for your business and ensure that a plan is in place to drive it forward.