Communications Tactics You Should Be Using Internally to Help Your Own Team

In most situations, people prefer online communication over face-to-face

Too much of what workers do is based on assumptions rather than specific dialog with managers or team members Rawpixel/iStock

Despite having more channels, more ways to reach out to each other and more content, communication is breaking down in organizations.

With more virtual team members and decentralized models of working, communication involves brief interactions on messaging platforms or emails. So too much of what workers do is based on assumptions rather than specific dialog with managers or team members. Let’s change that.

Internal communications breakdown

Harvard Business Review shared some of the key issues that employees have with how their managers communicate with them, including a lack of clear direction, no face-to-face or phone time and no interest in workers as individuals. There’s a distance that need to be bridged.

To encourage a two-way flow of communication in an organization, with more talking and less assuming, external communication tools and tactics could be turned inward, like social media.

What makes social media work

Because communication has changed thanks to all of the new channels we’ve become accustomed to, it seems that in most situations, people prefer online communication over face-to-face.

MediaPost shared the results of a survey from Ikea supporting this. In asking 12,000 people in 12 cities, the Swedish furniture maker found that 68 percent of respondents preferred communications online, including those in their own home—which is pretty wild to stop and think about.

But this preference clearly makes social an ideal tactic for internal communications (and happy families, apparently).

The dawn of internal social media

There’s even an official term for it now, according to APCO, a company that works with organizations on employee engagement: internal social media. The focus of successful ISM programs includes quality content, engagement and dialog and optimization. And it helps employees feel included, just like customers or prospects feel when they interact with a brand on social media.

As APCO shared, “Our research indicates that ISM has the potential to ease collaboration, make employees feel closer to their employers, aid in employee recruitment and retention and engage employees who can become brand ambassadors. We see positive correlation between effective use of ISM and employee confidence, employee connection to their employer and a feeling that their employer cares about them.”

Other research finds similar results. For example, Nokia has BlogHub, where employees can create their own communities. This internal communication system uses posts and videos to make employees feel connected to each other and the organization.

Tools and platforms for ISM tactics

Besides Nokia’s approach, there are many other ways to integrate ISM into your workplace:

  • Facebook pages are great for use with human resources and remote employees. It’s a way to share information about benefits, open enrollment and new policies. The pages can be used by departments and teams to collaborate and encourage. This involves getting together or just uploading information and pictures that help develop relationships and teamwork.
  • Tweets don’t have to always be public. Instead, you can do this privately so that managers can share little bits of information with the team. This can also be a way to share inspiring messages tied to the culture to reinforce those ideas. And then employees can comment about how they feel about the posts. This is also an ideal tool to use when there is not much time available to spend on internal communication.
  • Company blogs also provide a significant amount of information that helps workers stay updated. It helps them feel more involved in company strategy, vision and direction, policy changes and events. Content can include results from surveys, company research and interviews with managers so that the team better understands where the company is headed and the role they play in the big picture.
  • LinkedIn Groups are similar to an intranet that an organization uses to share event information, announcements, promotions and updates on specific issues or projects.
  • Chat services seem to be becoming more popular as a way to encourage online group discussions. This format is familiar because it’s become so much a part of personal communication that employees can quickly get on board with it for work discussions.
  • Interactive video and live feeds through social media are also great tools. These can be used to include remote workers as well as for training purposes.
  • YouTube can also be used to maintain an archive of previous videos. Plus, it can be used to create a channel that employees subscribe to and upload their own videos. The content can also include community events and social gatherings. Depending on how it goes, you can even make this a public channel so that your target audience sees the company culture and brand attributes in action.

Chat bots facilitate communication

There are also relatively new options that can help facilitate a comprehensive ISM program, like chat bots.

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.