(1) Invest time and effortThere’s no more important audience than your team. Allocate an increasing amount of marketing/HR to internal communication as you grow. A company cannot succeed unless you keep everyone updated on key happenings, and where the company is going. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking this will all happen organically – it won’t.
(2) Repeat yourselfPeople are busy. I’ve learnt that most will need to be told something more than once, and in different ways, to get the message across. So while you might cover something in the team meeting, that doesn’t tick the box. You’ll probably also want to have an in-person conversation about it, and send an email too.
(3) Target and segmentI have always been a big believer in being as open as possible. And in the beginning I shared almost everything with everyone. I still believe transparency is crucial, but it’s no longer practical to operate that way. In a growing organisation, with more and more to say, the flow of information can get overwhelming, and important messages lost. So I now have to give more consideration to distilling the message and working out how best to communicate it to different groups. Not everyone needs to know the detail every time.
(4) Use instant messaging for quick and instant updatesEmails can be the right medium for longer updates – but there’s a risk they can get buried in an ever-increasing inbox. And while an internal company magazine or intranet is a great for large organisations, most SMEs don’t have the budget. We’ve found instant messaging is a good way to get a quick update across with impact. (And add an image to really get your message across – as relevant here as it is for customer communications).
(5) Check in with people on a regular basisInternal communication is a two-way street. We have processes to invite ideas and feedback, including surveys to ask people how they’re feeling. But for me it’s equally important to stay in tune personally with my team, on an individual basis. So I make time for regular, informal one-to-one chats. This might be over a coffee but I also like to go for a walk or a cycle on the office tandem – it’s so good to get out of the office. And I like to drop into department meetings unannounced too.
(6) Reiterate and rewardPeople feel tuned in if you have a defined workplace culture and shared sense of belonging. This has always been a strong feature of life at PrivateFly, but we’ve had to make a conscious effort to develop this as we’ve grown. When we re-branded earlier this year, it was a great opportunity to involve the whole team in redefining our company values. We now reiterate these on a regular basis through competitions, workshops and reward programs – including a peer-to-peer recognition scheme. And while it gets more challenging as numbers rise, it’s essential to create regular opportunities to socialise as a team. Going out is great – and we do this often. But it can also be as simple as a regular lunchtime barbecue or bring and share lunch in the office.
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