Whether you’re sending an internal email message, creating a company newsletter, or simply chatting via an instant messaging platform, there are many ways to streamline internal business communication that will enable you to save valuable time and increase productivity.
In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute found that companies that are well-connected are 20% to 25% more productive. Making the communication process more optimized will save you and your employees time and allow you to collaborate more efficiently.
So how do you streamline internal communication? Here are some tips that could help.
Set rules for different communication channels
From internal emails and instant messaging to project management software, businesses have many different communication methods right at their fingertips. Seems great — and it is — if you know how to use them correctly.
If you don’t make the purpose of each channel explicitly clear, it can easily become quite messy and hard to find important messages when you need them.
Each channel should be used for a specific purpose and you should set clear rules for each of them.
For example, all of the questions related to a certain project should go through your project management software, while your instant messaging platform should be reserved for more casual conversations and urgent messages.
You have complete freedom to decide which channel should be used for what according to your company’s needs. However, once the rules have been established, stick to them, and make sure to hold those who don’t follow them accountable.
It can be helpful to document those rules so your employees can have them as a reminder and use them as a reference whenever they’re unsure which channel to use.
Choose a single instant messaging platform
Real-time chat tools are extremely useful and they can help build stronger work relationships and boost productivity. They enable your employees to easily access them from anywhere, collaborate on projects, and share ideas.
Today, there are many different chat tools that enable businesses to have one-on-one conversations, group chats, and even video calls. With the global pandemic forcing many businesses to switch to remote work, communication tools are becoming more popular than ever, and the most successful ones, Slack and Zoom, are worth nearly $50 billion more since the pandemic started.
However, even though there are plenty of options to choose from, that doesn’t mean you should get overboard and use all of them.
Choose the one that fits your needs the most and sticks to it. It will make it much more cohesive and previous conversations will be much easier to search through.
Do your research and find the tool that meets your organization’s needs, size, and industry requirements. For example, while Slack is perfect for more casual industries, Yammer is ideal for the medical industry due to its HIPAA compliance.
Know which communication records to keep
Speaking of compliance — your communication channels, especially email, can contain loads of sensitive information, from employee records, client information, and important legal documents. This information has to be retained for a certain period because it could become an important piece of evidence if any legal issues occur.
Deleting your emails manually can slow down the workflow and increase the chance that employees will forget to delete emails or even worse, delete them too soon. Automating email archiving and email retention will help you streamline this process and minimize the risk of mistakes.
The less your employees have to do themselves, the more likely they are to do everything right.
Make roles explicitly clear
Before starting any project, you should ensure that everyone knows exactly what their role is. It might seem straightforward, but not knowing who’s in charge of what can create many communication issues and mixed messages that can hinder your team’s productivity.
Once everyone knows their duties, it will be much easier to get things done without too many questions and explanations that slow down everyone.
It is especially important to establish who the key decision-maker is. That way, if any questions do arise, everyone will know who has the final say and decides what happens next.
Assign a point person
For large, complex projects, it’s not unusual for your employees to have a lot of questions and to need more directions. In that case, it can be useful to assign a point person who will be in charge of answering these questions and distributing responsibility.
The point person should overlook all communication related to the project and be in the loop on every message and question related to the task.
This person can be a project manager, the department head, or someone else related to the project in question. It doesn’t really matter who it is, as long as they’re well informed about the project and can serve as the key point of contact for all the questions and updates.
Create a monthly company newsletter
When properly crafted and sent at the right time, newsletters can be a powerful tool in your arsenal. They are a perfect outlet for summarizing the latest updates, news, and company events.
Newsletters should be a quick and easy way to share information with your employees, so don’t spend too much time designing them. Instead, create a template which you’ll use on a monthly basis and quickly fill it up with relevant information.
Ask employees for feedback
Remember that communication isn’t a one-way street. You can’t just send messages to your employees, you also need to ask for their feedback. Salesforce Research shows that employees who feel like their voice is being heard are 4.6x more likely to feel empowered to give their best performance at work.
Listening to your employees and asking for their opinions will help you ensure that your messages are not only received but actually understood.
While it might seem like an extra step, taking time to listen to your employees pays off in the long run, as it will help you avoid misunderstandings and communicate more effectively further down the line.
You can even integrate quick surveys at the end of company emails and newsletters and ask your employees to rate them so you can improve your announcements in the future.
Good communication is the foundation of every successful company. If your internal communication is not streamlined, your employees will be less productive, less efficient, and more confused. Follow these tips to optimize your communication and improve your workflow.