Communication – it doesn’t have to be complicated

Overview

Communication is such a simple thing, yet so many of us do it badly. This blog aims to highlight why communication is so important and provide some quick wins, that you can take away and implement into your organisation.

Our engagement programme regularly highlights areas for improvement within our clients people strategy – they operate in sectors such as: Telecommunications, Higher Education, Recruitment and Technology. Throughout 2018 and Q1 of this year, the same trends have been visible; Career Development, Communication and Recognition.

From my experience, a lot of the businesses who communicate ineffectively, do so because they have a fear of “saying too much” to their employees – which is a very outdated view. If employees feel as though you are not being as transparent as you could, then how can you expect them to be engaged and perform well?

Communication is crucial as it enables you to build trust, drive productivity and provide employees with a voice – which directly links to an open culture, where employees are motivated to frequently innovate.

 

A few tips, if you’re not doing these already…

Newsletter… this seems far too simple and for a lot of businesses this would be too outdated. However, I am aware that a number of people within my network do not do anything around communication at the moment and do not have budget to invest into new technology. Therefore, a newsletter that includes, messages and updates from the senior leadership team, recognition for length of service, birthdays and good work, can be a good place to start.

Intranet… for those who are looking for a modern approach to communication and have budget available, an intranet provides you with a cloud based platform to communicate effectively. It will enable you to provide business updates however, some of our clients also use their intranet to store purpose and values, companies policies etc. Intranets often tend to integrate to HR information systems too.

Quarterly leadership and employee lunches… during a conversation with a Communications expert within my network, Richard Riche, he touched on the concept of introducing quarterly leadership lunches. This is where once per quarter a member of the leadership team takes randomly selected employees for lunch. This is a great opportunity for leaders to learn more about what is going on at ground floor level, as well as communicate updates that are happening higher up the business. This is a perfect solution when trying to remove the “us” and “them” leadership vs employee scenario.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)…  although not directly linked to communication, our clients often implement CSR strategies to live their values or purpose. From a communication perspective, the work completed as part of the CSR strategy can be communicated out internally and externally, which is great for attraction and retention.

Multisite/Post-merger & Acquisition… M&A’s are notoriously bad for communication, which typically leads to employee frustration and sometimes attrition. Following on from an M&A, clients are typically left with multiple sites or even sometimes organisations operating in parallel. A mentoring programme can improve communication and understanding between different business units, as well as act as an effective recognition strategy for the selected mentor.

  • Mentoring – Take a group of three employees from one part of the group and select one long serving employee from another part of the business. Provide this individual with the opportunity to mentor the three employees on: what this part of the business does, why it does it, what challenges it faces and how it works with other parts of the group

 

In conclusion, none of the above is re-inventing the wheel and I am sure a lot of people in my network will feel that this is “stuff we have known for years”. However, until I see multiple case studies of SME’s communicating effectively, then I believe that all of the above will add value.

There is a lot that you can do to improve communication within your business, it completely depends on where you are on your growth journey. Many SME’s that I work with grow organically quickly and with this growth, comes the need for a people strategy, along with improved communication – you no longer know everyone on a first name basis!

As always keen to hear people’s thoughts, so please like/comment or share and I’d be more than happy to answer any questions.

 

Harry Wright

Employee Engagement and Client Delivery Consultant

Rencai Group

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