Internal Communications = 5 Phrases to Avoid!

In the age of social media, everything moves faster. Now more than ever, establishing good communications with our employees is essential. Here’s how to avoid these five often heard phrases:

1. I thought you were taking care of it?

To prevent confusion about each employee’s roles and responsibilities, clear communication is used to define the limits of what is expected of them. This also helps improve the working atmosphere and promotions collaboration. New employees will benefit from a clear and constantly updated organizational chart.

You think face-to-face meetings are a thing of the past? Think again! Despite the advance of virtual tools and corporate social networking, getting together in person has never been more important; provide they are properly prepared. You may find inspiration in the Agile approach which currently prevails in the tech world. These short production meetings, held in the morning, are called “daily scrum meetings” and continue to grow in popularity.

In general, manual workers prefer short meetings over coffee to internal memos filled with useless information that doesn’t concern them. They want something tangible and an opportunity to interact on the spot. The beauty of these face-to-face meetings: you can get a feel for the overall mood of the employees. You can also evaluate their understanding of what needs to be done and course correct if necessary. Our advice to managers: talk a walk on the floor and chat with your people.

2. I was not aware of this project

No one likes learning about an important event in their company from external sources like newspapers, social media or customers. Before publishing a press release or updating your website, make sure your employees are brought up to speed first.

As part of a mandate from Concerta Communications, we proposed that our client create a space on both a classic bulletin board and on their intranet called Before you learn it elsewhere! Rather than diluting information in a flood of words, these spaces provide clear communication and focuses on what’s really important to employees.

The work of the communicator is, above all else, a work of listening and “curation”: you must choose the context driven content to communicate that’s truly important to the corporate culture and of course the target audience. The personas marketing approach, when adapted to the company’s internal communications, is an enlightening tool.

Talk to your employees about “elevator speeches” to create good ambassadors as the STM did when they began implementing their new Azur trains. Called “survival kits” for holiday get togethers or backyard barbecues, the employees were given talking points and popularized answers to help them get through social situations where they were asked questions by friends and family.

3. How is this useful?

Increasingly, the notion of meaning in the workplace is gaining importance, especially with younger generations, who  aspire to greater transparency and dialogue. Knowing that we are contributing to the overall mission of the company is a motivating factor, regardless the size of our job. As a manager, it’s our role to remember what unites our team members.

Your internal communications program must therefore include your vision, your game plan, the actions to come and the behavior required to achieve them. But, be careful: dole out the excitement in small does; too many missions and values could lead to a loss of focus and failure.

It’s recommended that we put focus on communicating our “big dream” rather than producing a lot of dull copy. Detail how the company serves its employees and customers and plays a role in their success. Our brainstorming sessions, based on storytelling, can help you better describe your mission, attracting new employees while galvanizing your troops.

4. It would seem that…

It’s said that “nature hates emptiness”. Human beings require information to help them better understand the environment in which they evolve. Exchanging with colleagues can help reconstruct the puzzle of missing information when needed. During the infamous smoke break, which gathers employees in front of you building, no matter the temperature, is where perceptions, impressions and opinions are shared. This also happens during coffee breaks and lunch but these days many employees choose to eat at their desk instead of gathering together during lunch.

It is therefore better to take the lead and communicate well. This will help dispel any rumours and falsehoods, sending them up in smoke instead of the truth. Organizing office retreats, offsites or informal gatherings is also a great way to promote constructive exchange and help create bonds between employees.

5. Who’s the new guys?

When a new employee starts, make sure everyone is aware of their arrival. This increases the chances that they will be well received by all their new colleagues, not just by their manager and HR business partner. Their warm welcome has the potential to be shared on social media which equals some positive promotion of your company!

In our opinion, properly welcoming and integrating a new employee is part of internal communication. This is why its so important to strengthen the ties between human resources and communications. It works out well that this is our speciality  😉

You’re now convinced of the importance of good internal communication? Ask us for a private session of our “Reinvent your internal communications!” conference and our ready-to-use tools.

Headline photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU

Chantal Dauray

Creator of bonds, author, storyteller, and speaker (L’Entreprise Tribu), Chantal Dauray is known for her colourful writing and original ideas.

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