Communicating within Your Organization
Companies have various ways of communicating news to their stakeholders, especially management and employees. Without a clear policy on communication in place, it is easy in the day-to-day of operating a business to forget to convey key information or miss informing the necessary parties. Consistent failure to communicate can leave employees feeling disenfranchised from the company and demoralized in general. Alternatively, clear and open information sharing can go a long way in fostering cohesiveness and transparency within an organization.
Here are some effective communication strategies:
1. Schedule Regular Meetings or Bulletins to Disseminate Company Information.
Having a prescheduled means of sending information out can help streamline the process and avoid the risk of over- or undercommunicating. Sending information in writing is acceptable; however, bad news or sensitive information should always be communicated in person to reduce the risk of misinterpretation and to give the listener a chance to ask questions. Regularly scheduled communications also reduce the pressure of determining when and how information should be sent out.
2. Keep it Simple.
Providing information in simple terms and in a concise manner has the best chance of being heard fully and without confusion. Long-winded explanations and stories risk losing their effectiveness and your listener’s attention.
3. Be Prepared.
Practice in front of a trusted audience first before going live. Make sure your spoken word matches your body language so that you don’t inadvertently communicate the wrong message.
4. Be Transparent.
Provide information as fully and accurately as possible. If some information cannot be disclosed, give the reason why. Answer as many questions as possible up front so that your organization has confidence that you are doing your best to keep them informed. Limited information can be harmful, making employees speculate on the missing details and potentially losing their trust. Gen Xers and Millennials are especially demanding of their employers and a misstep in communications can result in long-term damage with them. On the other hand, transparent communication can lead to employees feeling happier and more satisfied.
5. Use Multiple Channels.
Depending on the size and geographic setup of a company, news may need to be communicated in person and through company systems to make sure no one is left out. Video recordings of live events ensure that every employee hears the message from the source and in the same manner. Live or video presentations should always be followed up in writing to make sure everyone has the facts to review later.
6. Get Ahead of the News Cycle.
Bad news travels fast, so let your employees hear it from you first. Then provide them the tools and details they need to deliver the message so that they become your best evangelists, helping stop rumors and misinformation. Although the tendency may be to talk less about negative company news, internal communication can be an effective tool in controlling a crisis.
7. Celebrate Successes.
Bring teams together by announcing significant wins, awards, and positive customer reviews.
8. There’s an App for That.
Tools are available for every size of enterprise. Some popular ones are these:
• Chat Software: Slack, Yammer, or HipChat.
• Digital Monitors: display rotating company news, new product announcements or customers, etc.
• Intranets: employees can ask questions or post comments in a public forum.
Industry experts believe that good internal communications should be given the same level of importance as external messaging. Talking to employees should be viewed as a key business function that is essential for any organization to succeed and will hopefully result in increased productivity and job satisfaction.
Business Insights is hosted by the Law Firm of KPPB LAW (www.kppblaw.com).
Sonjui L. Kumar is a founding partner of KPPB LAW, practicing in the area of corporate law and governance.
Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice.
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