When your business grew to take on its first employee(s), did you spare a thought for how you’d speak to them, or did you take it as a given that you’d communicate as you always do in business? Hopefully with respect, patience, and a little bit of authority?
These internal communications (the general term for communicating with staff) should be straightforward, but there may be problems with your staff or your workforce may be growing to the point where you have to give a little more thought to how you approach those communications.
With that in mind, here a few pointers to bear in mind when speaking to employees or other internal stakeholders…
- Tone of voice
Your communications should be clear, concise and fair – remember that you’re the boss, but a little friendliness always goes a long way. Don’t be rude or personal, and maintain your professional standing at all times – swearing or making jokes or comments at an employee’s expense will only come back to look badly on you, and could land you in deep water with employment laws too.
- What platform should you use?
Whether you send your employees text messages, WhatsApp messages, emails, communications via an intranet, or another method – work out what works best for your workplace and for getting information to your staff quickly and effectively.
Don’t forget to share wins as well as instructions with your team too, they’re excellent for boosting morale and getting everyone on-board as ambassadors for your business.
- Be nice!
Good internal communications will work wonders for energising your workforce and increasing or maintaining productivity. Congratulating staff on a job well done, informing them where their efforts have boosted business, or showing an interest in the important moments in their non-work lives will help retain staff and build a reputation of your business being a great place to work (which often translates to better sales for your business in the long term).
- Trust your employees
Speak to your staff when things change in your business – good or bad. Trust them with business information (within reason), so that you don’t let rumours build. Remember that your team are invested in your business too, so sharing plans and getting their input will stop any worries from building and affecting productivity.
Having a formal internal communications plan may be a step too far for your small business, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow some of its principles to make sure you are communicating with your staff in the best possible way in order to maximise your mutual working relationship and get the most of them, whether you employ one person or a hundred.