The most common of the traditional internal communications tools is a newsletter distributed either hard copy or via email. More often than not internal ‘newsletters’ miss the mark and at worst, give your team another job to do – read the newsletter. In an age where we are inundated with communication there has to be a better way to communicate business strategy and ensure a workforce, particularly one with remote workers.
One of the things I am passionate about is engaging an eager, enthusiastic, results driven team. Personally I’ve found my team respond better to a different style of communication and I know lots of other high performing teams are the same.
I’ve found one of the tools that works best for me is quarterly focus areas, or themes. The idea is that you assess the things that really matter to your business and look for ways to clearly articulate those things on a consistent and meaningful basis. By focusing on one concept per quarter you have time to get everyone on the same page and understanding what it is you are trying to achieve.
The best starting place is determining your business strategy. What is it that needs focus, a goal you are working to or a core principle for the business? Ideally you then ‘jazz’ the concept up with a launch activity. For us it’s a quarterly meeting and usually the office is ‘themed’ for this event. For example, last year one of our themes was CSI – or client satisfaction information. For the launch meeting our office was decked out as a crime scene with police tape etc. This helps to make the theme memorable while reinforcing the key message.
We also reinforce the quarterly focus and support professional development by holding a book club session (a text relating to the core concept behind the theme) during the quarter. This way the team is focused on one management text and they get to discuss the ideas in a group environment. It’s a great opportunity to think about how we can apply what we’re learning and thinking about to our businesses and our clients too. The outcome is an informed team, bonded and moving in the same direction – on strategy.
There’s so much more to internal communications than the humble newsletter.