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5 types of internal communications businesses must have to thrive

3 min read

5 types of internal communications businesses must have to thrive

There are five kinds of internal communications critical for thriving organizations. Do you have all five?

Our customer, Houlihan's Restaurants Inc., uses Jostle to connect employees across restaurants in various locations. Like Houlihan's, the majority of organizations do their work in multiple locations. Whether we’re talking about offices in multiple cities or countries, restaurant and retail outlets, health care clinics, or even city workforces, it has become rare for an organization’s workforce to be in one place most of the time.

What happens at these dispersed workplaces is that people diverge. They lose sight of one another physically and metaphorically. They also lose sight of leadership. They are walled off from the tone and content, and tempo of communication and operations. There are fewer and fewer universal touchstones and common ideas in the organization.

While this can allow for innovation, it also makes it difficult for innovation to spread. We hear this in wildly different industries:

Problems were attacked with only a fraction of the true resources and expertise of the broader organization. Each of these companies found a way to work past objections and doubts to implement a strategic intranet that enables five core communications types.

The companies that had suffered from geographic silos reported significant reductions in email traffic of up to 50%. They cite pockets of excellence that spread almost virally as teams excitedly share their best work and honestly ask questions of one another. Employee turnover is down, and profit is up. 

While the cure to these problems is always multifold, the core strategic capability that enables progress is a cohesive and inclusive communication platform. It gives leaders a voice, allows and encourages people to be visible and findable, and includes multiple modes of communications to meet various communications needs.

A strategic intranet communications platform serves all five types of internal communications needs. These include:

  1. Leadership. Whether it’s about strategy, news and events, progress reports or just shared wins, losses, celebrations, and observations, leadership voices are crucial to the organization, and people’s sense being part of something important. Social networks don’t adequately enable the global communication that leadership needs to be in touch.

  2. Peer to peer sharing, exploring, and chatter. The team needs to be visible and engaged with one another, informally sharing interesting tidbits, asking questions and generally supporting one another both emotionally and professionally. The community of the organization is critical to employee engagement and great business outcomes.

  3. Team and project collaboration. People need simple, organized ways to convene teams, discuss work, and generally get things done. Streams and updates aren’t suited to this sort of work.

  4. Informal one-on-one or small group chats. “Hey Jules, let's review this report before we send it on.” This kind of thing needs to be simple and effortless – and importantly, it needs to be as inclusive (everyone has access) and searchable as any other form of communication.

  5. Resource libraries. We all have policies, procedures, and bodies of work and reference material to work with. There needs to be one place where it belongs – a single source of truth for people who are looking for the most current versions.

These needs can be met with point solutions, but with multiple technologies, the silos of multiple locations get multiplied by technology silos. Not helpful. Not searchable (where did Jon put that link again?).

Many companies have deployed difficult software that doesn’t feel comfortable or natural to use. That builds silos of capabilities. If you’re looking to unify silos, you want tech that empowers people by including all of them, superb usability, all five communications abilities, and mobile access.

Leadership and the dedication of many people drive those results, but that leadership and dedication has no way to reach the organization without a strategic, universally accessible intranet that delivers all five communications needs.

This article was originally published at IABC.com’s blog.

 

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Deb Lavoy

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