Improving internal communications for your business
In my first article I wrote about making the right decisions for your business, and then touched on how to communicate your message. There’s a reason there are A LOT of communications specialists around: because the discipline is so broad. Internal and external communications both have unique considerations and corresponding channels, so in this article I want to focus on HOW a business leader can deliver news internally.
The nuances in communications – for instance, sharing a piece of good news versus announcing a new company strategy – needs to be considered very very carefully, as it is vital that the message is delivered coherently, considerately, and with care.
An article posted in the PRCA blog stated that ‘continuous communication’ was key to keeping your staff motivated and happy during this pandemic. “One cannot over-communicate to the very people who drive and make your business what it is.”
I actually find that internal communications can be muddier than external. In part, this is due to the levels of familiarity that colleagues, sub-teams, teams, departments and offices all have with one another, not to mention the range of communications channels. From memes to memos, from signage to WhatsApp message – a new starter might find it takes him or her quite a while to figure out what the hell is going on, unless internal communications has been carefully strategised.
An organisation’s size and composition and the frequency in which its leaders want to communicate are likely to be two of the biggest influencing factors when it comes to deciding upon the most appropriate communication channel. Business leaders need to have a strategy in place stating what methods of communication they want their team to use to discuss clients, projects, IT issues etc and the list of most popular platforms in use at the moment in extensive, here’s a list I’ve prepared myself to help desmystify it:
- Slack – used for calls / messages
- Workplace by Facebook – used calls / messages, has a newsfeed, you can do polls, set-up events – like facebook for people, but for businesses!
- Microsoft Teams – used for calls / messages. I tried to find other features, but the only feature that makes it unique is that it is part of the Office 365 which your business may have anyway so it’d be free but so are most others!
- WhatsApp – used for calls / messages
- Skype – used for calls / messages
- Moxtra- software that is white-labelled and customisable- so everything from calls and messaging to task management and document storage.
- HipChat – developed by Atlassian – calls and cloud storage, apparently has good security and good search functionality
- Trello – a subsidiary of Atlassian but it’s a ‘collaboration tool’
- Atlassian – good for project managing / calls / messages
- Blink – used for messaging and cloud storage
- Fuze – used for calls / messages
- Zoom – calls / messages
- Chatwork – a business social networking tool for small businesses (chats can be conducted privately or in a group. Chatwork also offers task management, video calls and CMS).
From what I’m aware, all chat platforms have the ability to have groups set with a topic, just like WhatsApp group, so rather than being a ‘new’ feature, it’s something we have all come to expect. But in terms of business software, the list is much, much bigger! And when it comes to server storage, collaborating on live documents, accounting, expenses, HR, project managing, social media management, website software, marketing mailers and CMS, the list is endless!
We spoke to Communications & Engagement specialist and famed copywriter Helen Greenwood and asked what she considers to be the three most important aspects when developing an internal communications strategy. Helen’s response was “audience, relevance and timing”. She followed on to say: “People are far more likely to pay attention to a piece of communication if it’s clear that it’s relevant to them – for example, if the content of the communication influences how they feel or act. That means businesses have to think very carefully about how to craft and position their communications if they want their target audience to take notice. As most organisations comprise multiple audience groups, this may mean that one message has to wrapped in a range of ways in order for it to land successfully and achieve the intended results”.