What kind of workplace do you have - is it corporate with many levels and and a long history, is more of a smaller, more informal start-up? Do you work in multiple locations or can you all see each other? Do you often talk to your clients face to face, or are the remotely accessed, or all on-line?
These factors and and many others affect the kind of communication you and your colleagues have with each other and with your customers. For example, your Internal Communication probably includes email, in-person meetings, perhaps instant messaging, conference calls, staff manuals, policy change memos. Your External Communication probably includes social media posts, email newsletters, press releases, website content, advertisements for new job openings, and so on. And those are just a few of the classic, easy to think of types of communication that happen in an organisation.
But what about hallway conversations? How do you communicate decisions that are made by one group in the organisation to another group? Who eats lunch together? How are your meetings conducted? Do you have remote workers - how are they integrated? Does everyone talk to your clients/customers, or only a few people? Do they get special training? Does anyone? When someone new starts working with you, how do they learn about all of the internal and external communication? How is it communicated to them? Does everyone in the organisation have the same rules and philosophy by which they communicate and behave? Is it easy to articulate?
When there are 6 of you in the organisation, you don’t even think about these things very often, you just do things. And as you grow, the new staff watch and see how you do your work, such as who checks in with what other person before implementing a new effort (or not!). The processes increase and as they repeat they naturally morph into repeatable behaviours, and so your culture - including how you communicate with each other and externally - begins.
Starting in the earliest days of your organisation, it is good practice to think about your core values when you implement your communication style. Every employee represents the organisation, so the best way for staff to understand and embrace the organisation’s style of communication is by making sure the style is true to your values. When your communication reflects your brand values, and everyone in your organisation can articulate those values, your new staff can quickly learn the right culture ‘code’ to doing their job successfully. If your external communication also reflects that same set of values, your customers will understand more clearly what you stand for, and know what to expect from you and your product or service.
Linked below are some great articles that address a broad range of ways you communicate in your organisation; let me know what you think.
Retention, voice, and making meetings for everyone
Communication is key for retention
Although this article focuses on employee retention, the strategies described are almost all based on clear and transparent communication both externally and internally.
Creating a company voice
This is a great description of how Slack tried to figure out how to empower their staff to speak consistently externally, and in doing so, clearly articulated what they stood for as an organisation.
Making meetings more inclusive for women, introverts & remote workers
This article gives some clear tips to make sure some of the possibly hidden talent in your organisation gets the chance to communicate equally.
Fun Friday Workplaces