But a good internal comms strategy is essential to ensuring your staff feel in the loop, and therefore valued, and they all feel invested in your vision.
One family under one roofWe recently brought our entire workforce under one roof. It’s an expensive step and one not feasible for all, but it immediately eliminated a number of issues. Firstly, it got rid of an ‘us vs. them’. Our distribution staff were feeling neglected as we operated from a different site and didn’t have the time to travel to and from the sites to, essentially, manage effectively. Which meant in turn we were struggling to see things from their point of view. By bringing the teams together we now all feel like the sum of one part, rather than a dysfunctional family. Secondly, staff can no longer hide behind email. Now that we’re under one roof, employees can speak face-to-face to solve an issue with a project, rather than hiding behind and delaying a solution with email tennis.
By the workforce for the workforceNewsletters are a great way to share information. But they won’t be read unless they’re both relevant and well distributed. We ask our head of departments to each be responsible for a section of the newsletter. We ask that they use this space to provide an update on their team’s work so everyone in the company is able to appreciate their contribution. By making the newsletter collaborative we are ensuring the work of each department is valued by the whole office. We also track the company’s success, against our KPIs, on the front of each newsletter. In our experience it’s quite rare to be that transparent with your work force but it ensures that everyone, from the bottom up, is working towards the success of the business Finally, print out your newsletter as well as emailing it around. That way, the non-desk-based workforce are included.
Put it to the voteKeep a close eye on how your employees feel by getting regular feedback – so you can address any bones of contention early on. We have introduced a weekly survey, that can be answered anonymously, tracking employee happiness. We subscribe to an online service to manage this because they benchmark our results against companies of a similar size and type. Make sure you approach findings with a thick skin though! Anonymity can give employees license to be very direct. At first we felt a little winded by one or two of the comments. But on the whole, comments were constructive and suggested improvements that were easy to implement. Like regular staff nights out and branded cups for the office.
ResultsThere’s no doubt in my mind that a happy, cared-for workforce that feels valued is a more productive and loyal one. Furthermore, you’ll work as one, towards the same goal rather than separate, slightly dysfunctional parts. Investing in internal communications does take time and often money, and it’s not always easy to quantify the success. But where a happier workforce is concerned, does everything have to relate to cash? Ian Cowley is MD at Cartridge Save Limited
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