Internal communication may seem like a given, or at least an area of your business that doesn’t need too much monitoring. Or... does it? Remember communication between employees is the foundation of all teamwork. No matter how brilliant the team you recruited is, their work won’t be as successful without good internal communication. Indeed, improving systems of transmission of information is one of the best ways you can raise productivity and help everyone get through the workload more easily in your business.
With an abundance of platforms available for communication, how to pick the right one(s)? How to develop the best internal communications strategy? Whether you’re working in-office or from home–handover rules, communication boundaries, and using the right technology tools will be the keys to a successful internal communication.
Follow our guide to learn why good internal communication is essential, how to balance asynchronous and synchronous communication, establish boundaries to preserve everyone’s focus and workflow, and use appropriate channels to share information and documents.
The necessity for good internal communication
Things are currently going a certain way in your business and it’s working. Whether it is many emails and a few phone calls, or an intranet platform with occasional calls and texts–you’ve probably already found a style that suits your company culture. However, there are many reasons why a quick revision of your internal communication can be all the more advantageous. Here are a few:
1. (They haven't told you but) they need more feedback
This especially applies to your millennials and generation Z employees, as the regular use of social media makes them more reliant on feedback and interaction. Generally, it’s best to communicate your objectives clearly and give feedback on tasks and projects so that you both keep your employees or colleagues engaged and allow them to have a better idea of what you’re looking for. People won’t necessarily ask for more guidance, but it will probably be very welcome!
2. Keeping up with the work accomplished
As an employee, you may require information from your colleagues’ work to continue your own. A solid internal communication system will allow everyone to keep up to date with others’ work without having to go out of their way to ask for regular recaps.
3. No lost files
What you need is just a few dozens of emails down your inbox, but actually it’s not, so you need to ask your colleague to send it again but they have lost the said document as well? Good internal communication also involves classifying documents and making them available for everyone to read. Keep reading for our top tips.
4. Staying focussed
It may seem that best practices for internal communication requires constantly sharing information and thus interrupting colleagues–which wouldn’t allow them to be productive. Rest assured, this is not the case. Let us introduce you to asynchronous communication and how to use it to one’s benefit.
The Wonders of Asynchronicity
Balancing modes of communication for effectiveness and efficiency
Asynchronous communications (e..g, emails, intranet messages, texts, notes) encompass the tools that allow recipients to see, process, and respond to messages at a later time after they are sent, when they become available. By contrast, synchronous communication requests the attention of all the people involved in the conversation at the same time (think of meetings, calls, in-person conversations). While these allow people to be informed and to agree on a project simultaneously, they come at the cost of interruptions and typically slow down one’s workflow. Now, you may think that asynchronous communication can be just as disturbing as synchronous communication. An email request can be urgent, so for any email received you may pause your work and check whether you should process it immediately. In fact, the main issue with asynchronous tools is when they are used like synchronous ones, i.e. when you are expected to respond as soon as possible. Instead, follow our guide to use asynchronous tools the right way, as you implement a top-notch internal communication system:
1. Identify what can be done asynchronously
Discuss with your employees and colleagues about how information is transmitted and what you could do to improve your system. Ask others what they prefer using and what makes a tool convenient for them. Choosing different platforms for urgent and non-urgent requests will allow everyone to keep focussing on their work as long as they don’t receive a message on the emergency platform. Ideally, you want to save asynchronous tools for all non-urgent transmission of information and contact colleagues over a phone call for requests that cannot wait.
2. Set boundaries
A good way to preserve your attention is by setting daily times for you to open and process non-urgent requests. The idea is that outside of these times you can concentrate on your work by preventing these message requests from disturbing your focus. A good way to go about it is to set an automatic email response that lets your colleagues know about your organisation. When writing it, specify both the times when you’ll be responding to emails and another way they can reach you in case they need an immediate answer. Make sure your manager is happy with that first, though!
What to Use
On how to find the right combo
With many platforms available, it’s fair to feel lost between intranet options, messaging apps, and email platforms. What we suggest you do when comparing options is to look for a system that will allow you to store and share files, share work progress, and provide guidance and feedback. Let’s break down the best options:
A. A modern intranet platform
This is the ultimate choice. If you can afford it, opt for an intranet. It will allow employees to send each other messages, store and access files they’re working on, and hold a personal to-do list that can be seen by colleagues and where employees can update their work progress. That could be used alongside emails where these are processed asynchronously, while messages on your intranet platform serve as requests for immediate attention.
B. A drive system and email platform
No need for fancy tools when you can replicate them using a drive system! Make sure you create organised folders with a ‘keeping up with colleagues’ work’ file where every employee can update their progress and link important files that they’ve worked on. Having shared to-do list files is also a good way to become aware of our colleagues’ workload and measure what we can ask them to do. As for the way you reach out to each other, we also recommend that you use emails asynchronously–i.e., with no expectation for prompt responses. Then, add to that a messaging platform or phone calls and texting (if your employees agree!) as your means for simultaneous conversations.
Bonus point: mentioning your best-practice internal communication system to candidates during recruitment is a great way to show how valuable your work environment is. Moreover, our tips also apply to working from home and will help make remote internal communications less of a challenge! For further advice on being productive from your home office, have a look at our Top Tips on How to Work From Home Effectively.