A tremendous amount of time at work is spent hunting for company information because company emails often overwhelm employees. A recent McKinsey & Company report found nearly 30 percent of the time at work is spent checking email. And another 20 percent is spent looking for information and the right contact.
All of this speaks to the need for improved internal communications. Think about it: What would happen if employees spent less time in their inboxes, less time hunting for information they should already have, and more time getting their work done?
Here are five steps to improve your internal communications:
1. Create consistency in how you communicate. Identify one or two communications platforms you will use, and stick to them. One will most certainly be emailing, but you should also have a forum for less formal communication, whether a digital service, a messaging app, or simply a weekly meeting to round the team together and discuss major company projects.
2. Assign a gatekeeper. The “gatekeeper” is the person who filters, directs, and manages communications. This person will ensure the correct information goes to the right person, ensuring that the office staff can work efficiently and effectively. This role is crucial to the productivity of your office, so choose someone who is organized, enthused about their job, and works well with the rest of your staff.
3. Set expectations. Once you put the system in place, you need to be transparent with employees, how often you expect them to engage and what is required of them to communicate with you and the rest of the team. Do you desire a response to every email or message? Are different channels explicitly used for other job functions? Once your employees know how to use these communications systems, the flow of information and collaboration should become much more natural.
4. Create a consistent brand message. Employees are somewhat like customers in that they must be convinced to stick with your company long-term. Make your company values very clear, and regularly keep employees in the loop on important company matters. One of the best ways to do this is by sending a weekly or monthly newsletter to employees, giving them important details of company happenings.
5. Ask for feedback. Your employees’ voices matter to you, but sometimes they are overlooked in times of rapid change. Always make an effort to include employees in the conversation. You can use a digital suggestion box or surveys to quickly understand your employees’ needs, challenges, and ideas. Even if issues aren’t addressed immediately, they can be resolved, and your employees will appreciate your genuine interest in their opinions.