Internal communications – how not to be a mushroom manager

Firstly, let’s talk about what internal communications isn’t. It isn’t swapping a bit of gossip by the watercooler, or asking a colleague to help you decide between Greggs or McDonalds for lunch.

And, as one colleague once asked, talking to yourself does not count as internal communications.

Internal communications are essential for all organisations as they need to communicate effectively with all their employees. Why? Well, as the Institute of Internal Communication sums it up quite well:

‘At the most basic level, you have to communicate well at the right time so employees know what is expected of them and what is happening in the organisation. At a deeper level, for employees to feel engaged with their workplace and give their best, they have to believe their organisation cares about their views and understand how their role contributes towards overall business objectives.’

This sounds simple, but it can be difficult if you don’t do it correctly or commit to it fully. Also, as companies get bigger internal communications becomes a more complex challenge. And you don’t want to get a reputation for being a mushroom manager – keeping your employees in the dark and feeding them sh**!

Honesty and transparency are key to internal communications, and it should be relevant to them as otherwise they will just switch off. Also, it shouldn’t be a monologue where you tell your employees what you think they need to hear. Communication should be a two-way street so employees feel engaged with their workplace, and are keen to work hard to help the company achieve its goals. People like to feel their organisation cares about their views and understands how their role has an impact on the overall business objectives.

Ok, so let’s look at the different ways you can communicate with your employees to help you totally ninja your internal communications strategy:

1, Face to face: This is not as scary as it sounds and it is actually the method most valued by employees. Also, you get instant feedback, which means you can see straight away if your message has been understood.

2, Print: Documents are a good way of supporting face to face communications, or emphasising a key issue. These are not limited to newsletters and magazines. For example, you could also try putting a memo in your employees’ pay packets.

3, Broadcast: Turn your mobile phone on it’s side, press record and voila! Seriously though, videos and podcasts are a great way to reach all your employees and research has shown this is the best way to make a major announcement.

4, Intranet: If you feel you are still finding your way around the internet then this may seem a big step. However, a company intranet is a great place for policies, reports, news and it can often be the first port of call for employees seeking information.

5, Events: Staff awards ceremonies, meetings, annual reviews and staff events are all effective at creating a sense of belonging – especially if you make sure you and the rest of your management team are visible at all times.

Of course, you can always send e-newsletters, which are a cost-effective way to get information over, and some companies even send texts to get short simple messages to employees. If you are really tech-savvy then the world is your oyster with webinars, company chatrooms, social networking and blogs all being at your disposal.

Here at Star PR we are experts when it comes to planning and implementing an internal communications strategy, so give us a call if you are ready to turn your back on mushroom management.

You might also be interested in…