Consider this scenario! Your agency has spent the entire year working on a new product and just when it’s about to launch, you discover there is an issue with the pricing in your brochure. Marketing materials for the product are ready and you are now wondering what to do. Such mishaps could be a direct result of bad internal communication in your office.
Besides the obvious disappointment and loss of time & money, situations like these create disillusionment among team members. Alternatively, effective internal communication enables businesses to work smoothly as well as tap into their knowledge and insights at the right time.
Open and timely discussions with your agency’s team will build a strong internal community, allowing them to exceed job expectations. Here are some best practices your agency can adopt to improve internal communication:
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Empower employees to communicate
Clarity and regularity of conversations among team members are crucial for your agency. The value of doing so is apparent – when employees are empowered to communicate, their motivation and productivity increases. You can create ways for them to exchange ideas and information in the following ways:
Avoid micromanaging your employees
If you want your employees to communicate freely, you must allow some space, without hovering over them all the time. Once they are trained and ready to work, let them be! It is even better if you can maintain a separate office space of your own. Employees are usually hesitant to communicate when an authority figure is present. This is not to say that they can do whatever they feel like. Rather, it is about instilling a sense of responsibility about their roles at your agency.
Provide flexibility in working hours
Maintaining trust among team members is a major attribute of enhancing internal communication. One of the best ways to do so is by giving them flexibility in working hours. This is possible with the use of cloud technology. They should be able to work from anywhere and anytime, as long as the deadlines are met.
Explain your agency’s vision
Your agency’s vision statement is meant to motivate employees, as it describes where the company currently is, where it’s heading, and how it’s going to get there. Put the vision statement at the center of everything your agency does, to inspire and empower employees to work towards a common goal.
Encourage flow of ideas and suggestions
To grow substantially, businesses must thrive on new ideas and ways of doing work. You need to make it clear to agency staff that you are serious about hearing what they have to say. Here are some ways of engaging their attention:
Host regular brainstorming sessions
Pick a topic or an issue your agency is facing and schedule a meeting with a clear agenda, i.e. to find solutions. Select team members that you would like to participate. Each member should be able to present at least one or two ideas, with details about how your agency can resolve these issues. The freedom to express also helps enhance internal communication.
Give access to information
Knowledge is indeed power! By providing employees access to information about the industry and clients, you empower them with data, also encouraging them to come up with new ideas and suggestions.
Reward good performance
By setting standards of performance and reviews, agency team members are motivated to do better each time. Make sure to reward employees for exceptional performances, new ideas and resolving business issues.
Encourage and establish internal communication among departments
Behind every successful business is good teamwork and communication is the key. Your agency needs departments like counseling, marketing, management, administration and accounts to work together for optimal results. They need to know what the other is doing, in order to streamline external communication with your clients. Here is how it can be done:
Use agency management software
There are many cloud-based tools to maintain agency records, manage client data and facilitate communication between departments. The software provides features like workflow management, task sharing, commission tracking, and streamlining agency operations.
Conduct workshops or seminars
Apart from networking via online platforms and internal management software, it is important for your agency’s team to meet in real-life settings. You can host training workshops or seminars for employees, giving them an opportunity to learn more about your industry as well as communicate with each other in person.
Test interdepartmental knowledge
While hosting training workshops or office get-togethers help enhance internal communications, it is essential to understand how much all departments know about each other’s work. To do so, you can circulate questionnaires among departments. It’s not important to know each other’s work extensively, but well enough to make informed decisions.
Use visuals extensively
Recent statistics show that when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10 percent of it, but if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65 percent of the information. Good communication is heavily dependent on how well your team understands the agency’s work. Here is how you can use visual elements for internal communications:
Give regular presentations
To have clarity in communication, it is essential for your agency’s team to know what the company is doing. Whether it is to communicate the agency’s history, vision, current status or new developments, giving presentations to your employees is engaging and encouraging.
Also known as information graphics, infographics are visual representations of information and data. It can transform a seemingly boring topic into an interesting visual story, helping your team retain more information and knowledge than usual.
Use training videos
Videos can be very effective as training aids or to introduce new products and ideas to the rest of your team. It allows employees to see and learn at the same time. You can either use videos made by others or make your own.
Establish standard internal processes
Every department in your agency needs a well-honed business process to get the work done efficiently and effectively. Mismanaged or unclear processes can derail projects and cause unnecessary confusion among team members. Moreover, it adversely affects internal communication. Here is how you can establish reliable processes at your agency:
Take notes and document everything
Before establishing processes in your departments or agency overall, make it mandatory for all employees to take notes and document every little detail about their work. This is the only way to figure whether your current processes are doing well or if they need to change.
Analyze each step carefully
Make an assessment of your current agency processes by analyzing what is happening at each step. For instance, if the admin department uses a three-step process to assess client applications, then break down those steps individually to figure whether they are logical and efficient.
Conduct internal role-plays
In-house role plays are a great way to have some fun as well as understand how your processes are working or may work. Some of the team members can pretend to be clients while others can be themselves. Use the insights gained to streamline your processes.
Communication, whether internal or external, is the key ingredient in making your business successful. However, without streamlining internal communications first, everything else will remain unclear. Do the needful and rest will follow suit!