When it comes to promoting collaboration within the workplace, improved internal communications is often the essential first step. Staff members that feel informed, involved and that have an overview of the company’s vision and goals are better equipped to connect and collaborate with colleagues on interdepartmental projects and initiatives. As well as breaking down departmental silos and increasing the flow of information, improved internal communications will have a positive impact on collaboration in the workforce. In this article we look at the importance of good internal communications, how it relates to staff collaboration and how a company intranet could be the solution that ticks all the boxes.
What Is Internal Communication?
Essentially, internal communication is about the sharing of information and ideas within an organization. It’s important to stress, however, that it’s a two-way process. Effective internal communication is all about promoting a dialogue – whether it be up, down or across the organization, it should be a two-way conversation and not a monolog.
Why Internal Communications Is Important
Good internal communications are essential to the smooth functioning of any business. Whether it be helping in decision-making, managing and co-ordinating tasks and projects, motivating employees, improving morale or sharing information, internal communications is a fundamental aspect of all these functions.
Poor internal communications will result in increased costs, reduced revenue, poor internal working relationships and practices together with low levels of staff morale and engagement, which in turn will see high rates of sickness, absence and staff turnover.
Leading companies are those that are good at communicating with, and listening to, their staff. And they also have mechanisms in place for employees to communicate with each other.
Simply put, if you want your company to be a market leader in your industry, then you really need to nail the whole issue of internal communications – it’s as important as that.
How To Improve Internal Communications
In today’s digital, 24/7 society, internal communications has the added complication of employees being located in different cities, states, telecommunicating or working non-standard hours. So not only do you need to find a communication platform that works for the traditional office-based, nine to five staff members, you also need to find a platform that will address the needs of telecommuters, remote workers and those working non-standard hours. A company intranet may well be the solution.
What Is A Company Intranet?
An internal website accessed only by authorized personnel, an intranet is both a document management system, collaboration tool and communications medium all in a single platform.
Some larger businesses and corporations have opted for the purpose built intranet option that is hosted via the company’s server. Increasingly though organizations are using cloud-based providers to host their intranets. This option has the advantage of utilizing ready-made templates and tools that can be easily customized to suit the needs of the individual business. What’s more, the potential major headache of ensuring the security and confidentiality of key corporate information is taken care of by the provider. It’s their responsibility to make sure that the very latest technology is deployed to safeguard the security and integrity of your company’s information.
How An Intranet Can Improve Internal Communications And Collaboration
Among the many great features on offer with an intranet are the following aides to communication and collaboration.
Corporate, local or even team news and updates can feature on the intranet’s log in. In this way, staff members receive timely and consistent messages about all the latest news. What’s more, allowing employees the opportunity to comment on or share news items promotes a sense of that all-important two-way conversation that is fundamental to good communications.
Looking for inspiration or good ideas on the revised marketing plan, or how about best practice in relation to enhancing the customer experience? Company-wide blogs are a great way to simultaneously give staff members a voice and to put them in touch with each other. Blogs are very effective at keeping things fresh, developing internal talent, are an excellent forum for promoting organizational change and perhaps most importantly are a great way to get staff involved and engaged.
Shared Work Spaces
If for example, you are putting together a corporate team to develop the organization’s safety and health policy then a shared work space is an essential tool. It’s a virtual space where employees can come together to brainstorm ideas, share data and information, develop and edit documents and policy. Access is restricted to only the relevant personnel through a series of permissions. The intranet’s shared work spaces can transcend time and geographical barriers, enabling staff to work together regardless of where they are physically located.
Another essential communication and collaboration tool, the staff directory is a standard feature of company intranets. It is a great communication and collaboration enabler for staff members, especially when the directory includes a photo and a short biography or information on current project and areas of expertise. Using a self-service approach, they can identify for themselves sources of help and expertise within the organization as well as simply putting a face to the name.
Additional Benefits Of The Company Intranet
As we’ve seen, improving internal communication is the essential first step to promoting an organizational culture of collaboration. As all employees are also intranet users, the company intranet is the perfect platform for achieving both these objectives. In addition, the intranet has a number of other business benefits including:
- enhanced document management systems
- online training and development
- onboarding of new employees particularly in relation to company culture, vision and goals
- automated and simplified work processes.
And so the benefits of the office intranet have the potential to go beyond communication and collaboration to encompass all aspects of the organization’s functioning.
The Bottom Line…
If you want your company to be formidable, then you need a strong collaborative workforce and an effective system of internal communications. While you’re at it, why not throw in increased productivity, streamlined work processes and improved employee engagement and staff morale? A company intranet will tick all those boxes and more.