Effective internal communication has gotten more important since the pandemic and remote work decentralized teams. Better internal communication engages employees, keeps teams aligned, prevents duplicate work and keeps time from being wasted in searching for information.
How can you supercharge communication no matter where everyone is working?
Demonstrate empathy. Managers need to show that they know employees have lives outside work. When employees know they are being heard, they feel valued, which can lead to more satisfied workers, lower turnover and less absenteeism.
Connect as people, not just workers. Ask your employees how their weekend was and how the kids are enjoying soccer. Small talk can be valuable in strengthening relationships when workers are remote and don’t have serendipitous meetings at the office. Face-to-face communication, even over a screen, often feels more empathetic than an email.
Keep your virtual door open. One approach to communication is to make it clear that employees can check in with you whenever they need to. Another is to block off a certain amount of time on your calendar for office hours every week, letting your team members know you’ll be available then. Either way, make sure everyone understands that even if they can’t wander into your office to talk, you’re available to listen to their concerns.
Empower employees to share feedback. Do your employees feel heard? Try establishing new channels for communication. Send an employee engagement survey at regular intervals. Follow up with “stay interviews” to learn why employees have remained at your company, what’s working well for them and what they’d like to improve. You can post open-ended questions for employees to respond to. Offer multiple outlets for anonymous feedback as a way for employees to provide constructive criticism so your firm can continue to learn and grow.
Respect cultural differences. Your workplace is likely home to a variety of cultures and viewpoints. To create an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves, be culturally sensitive and make sure your company policies reflect that sensitivity. Be transparent about efforts to improve inclusivity and give all employees opportunities to share thoughts on initiatives. This can be harder than it sounds, as even well-meaning managers can end up looking patronizing, so consider getting outside help.
Give feedback that’s clear and precise or don’t give it at all. Be as straightforward as you can. If you offer constructive criticism to an employee, provide examples and accompany the feedback with an action item.
Strategize an onboarding process for new employees. Put together a uniform employee training program that every new person completes. Make internal knowledge accessible via documentation and training videos. Make sure your employee directory is up to date and Q&A forums are packed with information. This allows new team members to find people and answers, while keeping effective communication flowing.
Use the right communication tools. Office chat tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams create communication channels and allow entire company chats. A chat tool saves time and increases productivity as employees connect with one another and receive real-time responses.
Workplace communication can have a big effect on revenue, productivity and employee satisfaction. You can spark conversations, educate employees and boost morale. Let employees know what your company is sharing with the public on social media. Help your workers learn how the company does things.