CMS intranets are a great platform for improving internal communications. In fact, for many organizations this is the driving force for setting up an office intranet in the first place. All you need to do is post all the company news and updates on the intranet and hey presto all your communication problems are solved, right? Well, actually that’s only half the story. There’s no doubt that disseminating company information is much easier on the intranet; however, the capabilities of the intranet go far beyond simple dissemination. Those companies that focus on this aspect alone are missing out on another important capability of the intranet and that is the development of two-way conversations with staff. In this article we look at the importance of internal communications generally and how the CMS intranet can help your organization develop two-way conversations internally.
Why Internal Communications Is Important
Keeping employees informed and involved is essential to the smooth operation of any business. When internal communication is done properly, then staff members have a strong sense of their standing within the company, clearer definitions of the expectations, and higher levels of productivity.
In fact, communications is one of the key drivers behind employee engagement. Engaged employees tend to be happier and more productive employees and they also have lower rates of absenteeism and sickness. So from an organizational point of view, investing in internal communications is a necessity.
As companies grow in size, the process of internal communications can become very convoluted and time-consuming. There’s also the danger of key corporate messages becoming corrupted as they go down the lines of communication from senior managers. Furthermore, the opportunities for staff to feedback to management are often very limited which makes communication a one-way process only.
An intranet can help with all those issues. As well as being an efficient disseminator of information, the intranet also enables those all-important two-way conversations with staff members.
Let’s look in detail now at how the CMS intranet can improve internal communications.
Providing A News Platform
In much the same way as you see a digest of news and updates when you login to Twitter or Facebook, so your intranet news feed should contain all the relevant updates relating to your company and industry. Having it as a feature on the home page means that each employee will see it every time they login. And it also means that every employee will be receiving the same consistent message delivered at just the right time.
To be as effective as possible though there are some important things you need to remember about the news feed. These include the following.
Make it engaging: even the most exciting news can become boring if it is conveyed using stilted or dull language. Creating engaging news posts is certainly a skill, but a well-crafted news item will have much more impact and so it’s a skill well worth investing in.
Keep it concise: the news feed should be just a digest of news rather than an in-depth analysis. Keep the messages short and succinct for greater impact. If employees need or want to know more, then have a link to a detailed article that they can click on.
Stick to important news: don’t be tempted to overload employees with news items as that will make it hard for them to discern what’s truly important. Too many news items give your intranet a cluttered and congested feel and make it difficult for staff to navigate and locate what they really need. So before posting any news ask yourself ‘is this critical information?’
Think outside the box: by definition, your intranet news feed will primarily be focussed on the company. However, the world of commerce is vast and so don’t forget about external news and opportunities. These could be industry events or conferences or staff enrichment opportunities that as well as impacting on employee engagement, will also provide opportunities to expose your brand to a wider audience with staff members acting as ambassadors for your organization.
Your intranet software will allow employees to comment on news feeds or to share content and stories. In addition, staff members can be invited to share their feedback in other ways, for example, in a blog from the CEO or president on the company’s performance and the achievement of objectives. In this way, internal communication moves away from being all about the company to being more about employees’ interaction and experiences within the company. Soliciting feedback from staff will not only improve internal communications, it will also have positive impacts on staff morale and levels of engagement.
Breaking Down Team Silos
Additionally, the intranet is a great forum for promoting communication across the organization as well as up and down. Sharing best practice with colleagues in forums, blogs or wikis not only is a great source of innovation and ideas within the company, but is also instrumental in breaking down those team information silos that are an all too familiar feature of many organizations.
Another way that the CMS intranet can help to break down team silos is by encouraging the identification of company subject experts. These experts can share their knowledge and insights through a range of media including blogs, videos or frequently asked questions. Other teams and departments will learn about what their colleagues are doing, developing a better appreciation of their contribution to the overall objectives of the business.
In a similar way, a staff directory on the intranet will help to develop connections between staff and at a basic level facilitates communication by enabling staff to put a face to a name. Including short biographies that highlight areas of expertise and current projects will take this to another level. Staff will be able to connect with others that are tackling similar issues or that have useful skills to share.
Moreover, collaborative workspaces on the intranet will enable staff across the organization to collaborate on projects and tasks. They will be able to share documents, pertinent data and can have multiple conversations all within one central hub.
Connecting And Linking With CMS Intranets
Think of the CMS intranet then as a series of bridges that link different parts of your organization. These bridges have a two-way traffic flow and run from north to south as well as east to west, connecting individuals, teams, departments and management as they go. The intranet will open up the lines of communication within your business, making it a much smoother and quicker process. Perhaps it’s the greatest benefit though is that it allows for a two-way flow of information: empowering employees and opening up a genuine dialog between staff and management.
Is internal communication an issue in your organization? Contact the team at MyHub for a free demonstration and see for yourself what a difference a CMS can make.