Informed employees are employees motivated to work! The key to achieving this: clear and relevant internal communication strategies. But which are the best practices to put in place? Chantal Dauray, president of Concerta Communications, the agency that specializes in internal communication, answers.
The choice of strategies and internal communication tools must be aligned with the organizational culture and adapted to the target audience and nature of the message.
“An intranet site will be little use to you if the culture of exchange is non-existent in the organization,” says Dauray.
Staff that is largely manual, often on the road, multigenerational or multicultural… The message is more likely to pass if it adapts to its audience. Now, human resources or marketing teams sometimes tend to think that internal communications is whatever works for them and not for their recipients.
“I often see internal magazines that are too thick where strategic information is drowned out,” she states. “Employees with low reading skills will likely miss important messages.”
2. Facilitating the flow of information
The manner in which people become aware of internal communications is as important as the content itself. Having an Intranet site, that's fine, but it will be under-utilized if the system password is so complicated that it discourages employees from accessing it. Ditto for communication through television, which will be ineffective if the TVs are misplaced.
“With one of our clients, Pelican International, we designed an internal newsletter that was published in the form of a cafeteria place mat in order to get the message across to the production staff,” says Dauray.
3. Increasing the frequency of communication, not the length
Short memos are important as to not lose the reader's attention.
“We will focus on brief versions for manual workers or those who often travel,” states the president of Concerta Communications. “We can always include a ‘Read More’ section for the curious few.”
Sometimes, it is also best to communicate more often while using several additional tools.
“You can opt for an internal magazine that is published every two or three months with stories highlighting the values of the company while also sending regular emails with information that is more operational in nature,” adds Dauray.
4. Face-to-face: Not to be overlooked
“I increasingly advocate returning to face-to-face techniques, including non-verbal communications, which automatically rule out many misunderstandings created through emails and immediately let you know if the message is received or not,” advocates Dauray.
5. Involve employees
Involving employees in the development of internal communications is a great way to ensure that it meets their needs.
“It's good to include employees in in-house journals,” recommends the expert.
6. Following up on the information
At a time when employees can easily talk to each other on social networks, it is essential to put in place effective mechanisms for information to get back from the fields to management teams.
“Getting suggestions and feedback from employees is not enough. You have to follow up and find out what is being done with these ideas,” says Chantal Dauray.