Having a strong internal communication strategy is key in nearly every aspect of small business, and this includes Human Resources. Sometimes, HR’s ability to supply effective employee communication can make or break the productivity of a company, and this is especially true with small- to medium-sized companies. Communication is a two-way street, and this can easily be overlooked. Almost all management knows that communication has to go down the corporate ladder, but some miss the point that communication must go back up, from the employee to the employer, just as easily.
Here are 6 tips for small businesses and HR on ensuring that your company communicates effectively.
1. Know your objective
Why do you need to communicate well in the first place? What are you trying to change or accomplish? Some possible objectives may be:
- Employee Retention
- Employee Morale
- Trust within the Office
- Relationship Building
2. What works best for employees?
All good plans start with research. Sit down one-on-one with your employees, or send out a survey to the company asking what kinds of communication methods they prefer. Is email the easiest, or would they rather you come talk to them in person when there is an issue? How often do they like to receive feedback? Would they prefer daily check ins, or weekly/monthly meetings? Find out what your employees are most comfortable with and try to work their preferences into your strategy.
3. Customize your message
Think about which departments you are sending out communications to. Not all information is appropriate for all employees. Make sure that the information you are sending to each department is fully relevant to that department.
4. Think about the medium you’re using
Email may circulate quickly, but it’s also easy for employees to ignore. Think about the best way to communicate to employees, and remember that the best method will depend on the information you are attempting to convey. Some things to consider when deciding on the appropriate medium are:
- Communication resources available
- Intended audience
- Is it a one-way or two-way message?
5. Keep communications routine and timely
Schedule regular meetings and times during which you are going to communicate, so that your employees can learn how and when to expect information. When an unscheduled communication becomes necessary, address it immediately, don’t wait for it to be brought up.
6. Encourage feedback
Ask for feedback on all communications, especially at the beginning of implementing a new communication strategy. Ask employees if the message was interpreted correctly, did they pay attention to the message? Did they understand the information? Do they have any additional questions or concerns? Use this feedback to re-think, re-vamp, and re-implement the strategy.
Do you have any other suggestions for effective communication for small businesses and HR? Let us know in the comments below.