24 Jun 3 simple steps to improve the organisation of internal communications strategy
The Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, and former SVP of Products of Google, Jonathan Rosenburg, shares an interesting anecdote in their book, How Google Works regarding a quite unorthodox internal communications strategy, namely his method of relaying feedback internally. In 2002 – before the company had become a household name – Larry Page posted some printouts of a set of results from Google’s AdWords engine. On top, he scribed in bold letters “THESE ADS SUCK.”
You might deem this method of communication counterproductive (or just downright rude!) but Page justified the message as a show of confidence – he was identifying a difficult problem that he knew a group of employees would want to solve. Sure enough, by the following week, a group of engineers sent out an email with a solution resolving the AdWords issue. Google had constructed a workplace culture where communication acts not just as a method of spreading information, but as an enabler to fix problems and stay productive. And, it’s a culture many of us should all be attempting to replicate – while maybe avoiding quite such explicit critique!
Driving your internal communications strategy
We’re sure you have heard the phrase “communication is the backbone of your organization” or something to that effect. It’s a very common metaphor, but we think it could be refined slightly. Rather, communication is your company’s central nervous system (CNS) – responsible for interpreting, receiving and sending thoughts, knowledge, ideas and impulses to the rest of the ‘body’. A fully-functioning CNS requires the brain, spinal cord, and neurons to work in unison as messages are shared holistically. In the same sense, all areas of a high-performing business should be working together, or messages can get lost or confused, and the wrong action gets performed as a result. Understanding the nature of communications – how, when and why they should occur – is integral to creating a successful internal communications strategy and, in turn, the success of your business.
So, why is communication so important?
- People want to do a good job
And they want to do it together. Working with others on the same platform naturally generates frequent and relevant conversation, allowing co-workers to help each other, work more effectively and more efficiently.
- Linus’ Law
This is, technically speaking, a claim regarding software development – named after the creator of Linux and formulated by Eric S. Raymond in his essay/book The Cathedral and the Bazaar. The law states:
“Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterised quickly and the fix will become obvious to someone.”
Of course, this can be generalised for more than just developer problems. Moreover, when large groups of people are equally connected, problems can be found and fixed at a much quicker rate.
- People perform best at tasks that interest them
Naturally, you want your best people to work on the task at hand. But organising meetings with busy individuals can often take weeks to sort out. Instead, “best” shouldn’t entail the most experienced or qualified employees for the job, but the most interested. The “best people” shouldn’t be chosen, but should choose themselves – bringing a greater work ethic with them.
So, do your job well, do it with as many people as possible and do the things you like doing – sounds simple enough, right? We’ve put together these 3 simple steps to help you improve communication across your organisation and achieve these goals.
3 simple steps to improve internal communications
1. Go social
With an estimated 1.1 billion unique monthly visitors as of May 2016, Facebook exemplifies the power of social media. Breaking any previous communication barriers, social media platforms allow us to converse with people from every corner of the globe. In terms of the enterprise, this far-reaching connectivity can prove extremely valuable for businesses wanting to maximize the productivity of workers.
Holistic, company-wide communication keeps employees constantly updated, both with other colleagues and the state of the company. Share files, conversations, announcements and knowledge both privately with individual colleagues or publicly with groups; social enterprise platforms such as Microsoft Yammer utilise such features to get the whole company on the same page.
2. Build a community
A community should encourage the sharing of information and knowledge across the breadth of an organization, and community sites act as a platform to do so. A place that promotes open communication, community sites allow users to share their interests and expertise, and also learn from others with specific experience and skills. We are all social beings, but building a community creates a stronger, more permanent online social culture.
Community sites in Microsoft SharePoint Online offer the following benefits:
- Built-in search and open access across all community site content.
- Ratings for members to vote on posts and replies, contributing to community members’ reputation.
- Full retention of discussion history.
- Achievement system to reward active members of the community.
- Categorization to improve discoverability of content.
Additionally, community portals list all community sites available on your intranet, allowing you to search, discover, follow, visit and participate in the communities most suited to you.
3. Say more with video
A study by Cisco estimates that online video will be more popular than Facebook and Twitter by 2017, totaling close to 2 billion users worldwide – a massive 81% of the world’s Internet users.
Online video is growing faster than all other consumer service offerings, and that trend is almost guaranteed to carry over to the enterprise. More engaging user training videos, video calling and relaying company announcements are just some of the actions that video can impact. Available as part of Office 365, Office 365 Video allows companies to build their own internal video channels and portals. Proven to be more engaging than plain text, video can educate, inspire and inform extremely quickly.
A relatively new addition to Microsoft’s productivity suite, Office 365 Video has a number of improved uploading experience and capabilities, such as video user statistics, closed captioning and downloading videos locally or to a device.
Both SharePoint and Office 365 offer a host of functionalities to enhance company communications. At CPS, we help you get the most out of SharePoint by working with you to align the platform to your business needs.