A well functioning business works like a well oiled machine. When it comes to ensuring the gears keep turning amongst different teams, and departments, it’s communication – and how it’s carried out – that lubricates the turning cogs of any business.
There is no business without internal communications, and how organised, transparent, accessible and understandable the communication is can make or break your projects, strategies, and your bottom line.
Whilst old fashioned methods for internal business communications are the foundational core of your teams’ connections, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be leveraging the many digital tools out there that can improve your internal communications ten-fold.
Whether you’re looking to improve upon the communication that oversees workflows, make different teams’ and their work more transparent, or are just looking to build better camaraderie by increasing touch points between staff, then these digital tools should deliver.
Workflow management systems
It can be difficult in any business with multiple moving parts to keep on top of what’s being worked on, how it affects other projects, and who’s doing what with whom. Making projects, and every staff member’s workflow more transparent is key to improving your business’ overall productivity. After all, time is money – and a lot of time can be wasted when workflows aren’t streamlined and visible.
Workflow management systems seek to rectify all the troublesome gaps in communications and transparency when it comes to projects and their processes. A good workflow management system should make it clear what any one person, and/or team is working on at any given time. It should make the management of projects as easy as pie, and no task or project should ever get lost or remain unattended.
Workflow management systems come in all shapes and sizes. The ‘philosophy’ (if you will) behind project management also varies between different workflow/task management applications. So, you really have to do some business-soul-searching to know what will work for you and your teams.
Some examples of great workflow management systems are:
A lot of talk goes on in an office, and not just the casual chit chat occurring huddled around the water cooler.
Staff need to talk to one another as often as possible over the course of an ordinary work day. Just as chefs and their cooks require constant verbal cues to keep on top of work, so too do office teams require a constant flow of communication in order to function as a solid unit.
Whilst a business is the sum of all its parts, those parts need to operate as a whole in order to deliver on tasks and projects in any meaningful way. It’s for that reason that having an internal chat service will improve upon overall productivity, and morale.
There are plenty of chat applications out there designed for organisations. The most popular at the moment has to be Slack. Slack offers lots of customisable features, and integrations with other apps, making it the internal chat application of choice for countless businesses and other teams.
Whilst installing a chat service internally is half the battle, it’s important to make sure it’s organised and managed. Your teams need to know protocols for how the chat service should be used, what it’s for, and what it’s not for. Otherwise a chat application can just increase diffused noise in a workspace, rather than focus communications towards a common goal.
Whichever chat application you end up choosing for your business, make sure to check out best practice tips and tricks for how best to use internal chat to foster the productivity and morale you’re looking for.
Automated internal emails
Emails are the solid rock foundation of most business’ internal communications. But they’re also somewhat the bane of every office workers’ existence. The average office worker receives 121 emails a day, and whilst managing that volume of communications in their inbox is alone incredibly time consumptive, think about the other end – the team managers and whoever else who are spending hours out of their day sending emails internally – some of which are repetitive and recurring.
That’s where marketing automation tools come in. By automating recurring, repetitive internal emails, team managers and staff members can save valuable time, and concentrate on more important work.
Start of day, or end of day check ins via email, for example, can be simply set up in advance and set up to publish (and republish) every morning or late afternoon.
Better yet, you can set up emails to automatically send when certain behaviours are undertaken by staff members. Let’s say someone books the boardroom over your business’ online booking calendar. That could trigger an automated email which sends a confirmation to the staff member who booked, whilst sending an email to other teams to notify them that the boardroom won’t be available.
Whether you’re wanting to send automated scheduled emails, or emails which trigger to send after certain actions are undertaken, you’ll need access to an email marketing automation platform (like ours, at Swift Digital!)
Whilst emails are often the communicative glue that hold most businesses together, there’s no reason why the act of sending emails shouldn’t be simplified, streamlined, and put on autopilot. Your staff, after all, have better things to do.
Automated feedback collection
Collecting feedback from staff is an integral part of internal communications and basic upkeep in any business. Feedback is needed to gauge satisfaction, efficiency, productivity, and more. Collecting feedback, traditionally, has often fallen to the wayside. Especially in small businesses, where dedicating time to talking with each staff member, or getting them to provide feedback, is an arduous, human-error-prone process.
With automation tools, the entire feedback collection process can be automated. This means feedback can be collected digitally across online surveys, and their results meaningfully analysed via easy to understand graphs and reports. It also means the process of getting staff to provide feedback can be put on autopilot.
Earlier we mentioned scheduled recurring emails. If you collect staff feedback regularly, you could set up an email with a clear link to fill out your internal survey, and have that email send at pre-scheduled intervals.
If you automated feedback collection, you could even consider making staff feedback more accessible. For example, leave your staff feedback survey open always, and send automated ‘check in’ emails to staff daily, with an option for them to click through to leave feedback if they had anything they wanted to get off their chest, or suggest.
Staff feedback, after all, is invaluable in improving internal processes and satisfaction; both integral to overall business productivity. There’s no such thing as too much data in cases like these, and with automated emails and surveys working in tandem, there’s no excuse to not collect as much feedback as you need.
How well a business functions depends on how well its moving parts work together. Working together, when it comes to people, involves a lot of clear, meaningful communication. Internal communications play a foundational part in upholding your business’ overall productivity. In the digital age, it’s important to leverage the online tools that can help you to improve upon, and streamline your internal communications. Communication is the glue that holds your teams and processes together; why not make it as efficient and clear as possible?
Want to see how automating your internal communications can work for your business? Talk to our automation experts at Swift Digital. Call us on 02 9929 7001.