Effective internal communication is essential for the smooth running of your business, both to convey your company culture and values and to stay on top of employee concerns. However, it needs to come from the top down and the bottom up.
Internal communications can take many forms, via an intranet, emails, newsletters or message boards. But when it comes to important issues, it should always be two-way, preferably face-to-face. Monthly company-wide meetings can be a good way of keeping everyone up to date with what's going on in each department.
A culture where clear and honest communication is also an important motivational too. Involving employees in decision-making or at the very least keeping people informed of how the business is doing will encourage loyalty, as well as mutual trust and respect. People want to feel that their ideas are welcomed and considered, and this will positively affect staff retention, job satisfaction and customer service levels. It’s important to let staff know major news before it is leaked externally – good or bad. The chances are they will pick up on body language and sense something's up anyway, and rumours undermine morale.
Having an open or flat structure is also common these days. It’s less hierarchical, and sends out the message that you’re approachable and willing to listen to staff needs. Don't be insular, hone your listening skills and create an environment where people feel comfortable coming to you with their views, issues and worries. You're far more likely to learn about and deal with issues or concerns more quickly.
Whatever channels you’re using, don't be aggressive, remain clear and avoid management speak or jargon or it’ll seem like you’re trying to sidestep the issue. Don't be critical in public but do openly praise individual efforts to boost morale.