Modern Communication Strategies Promote Employee Collaboration

Julia M Cameron |

Most modern organizations understand that the best way to connect with their employees is with effective internal communication strategies that promote collaboration and engagement. With the advances in technology, the old communication methods of in-person meetings, lengthy emails, and office-wide memorandums are outdated. Instead, employers are looking at more popular communication strategies such as videos, employee chat rooms, and company social networks. 

Video messages

Video is one of the most popular communication methods on the internet today and modern companies understand that to engage their employees, they need to follow this trend. A lengthy email about a dry topic will either be partially read or not read at all. These emails usually end up in the virtual bin and the important message they contain is lost. A video, on the other hand, can engage an employee and distribute a message in an entertaining and engaging way. Employers understand that just because they are in a workplace doesn’t mean communication needs to be boring or old-fashioned. The modern-day workforce comprises of more young workers who grew up on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Ways to integrate video into daily messages include training videos, video newsletters, presentations, updates, and how-to videos. By making the videos conversational and short, the organization can relay its message in a more palatable format than long, wordy memos. The charm of a video is that anyone can be involved in it, so having a peer bring the message to the staff rather than the higher-ups will be more engaging. When there is a new update for the company or a software change, for example, a video series of training tools can allow employees to update their knowledge at their own pace in an entertaining and succinct fashion.

It is crucial for communication that the video message is clear and concise so there are no misunderstandings or confusion surrounding the information. Planning the message and scripting it before recording is essential for whoever is responsible for video production. It is a good idea to have several people watch and critique the video before it is sent out company-wide to ensure the message is on point.

The content of the video must be engaging and relevant, so the viewer remains interested and takes in the full meaning of the message. One reason why companies are moving away from traditional emails for important communications is that they can be wordy and complex, so the employee loses interest faster. Using visuals, graphics, and animation can make the videos visually appealing and keep the viewer engaged throughout. Adding a personal touch to company videos can promote a feeling of camaraderie amongst employees too. By addressing individuals or teams by their names, the employees feel a sense of connection to the message, and this promotes a positive work environment.

Keep the video short, to the point, and focused on the key message. Long videos can lead to a loss of interest and attention, so if the message is a lengthy one, break it down into smaller videos. If the video is of someone speaking, then using body language and facial expressions is important to enhance the message. This helps make the video more relatable and interesting to viewers.

For certain types of video communications, having interactive elements can make communication more fun and engaging. Elements such as polls, quizzes, or Q&A sessions within the video communication encourage participation, which can help capture and retain employee attention. Along with being engaging, ensuring the video is accessible to all employees is crucial in today’s work environment. Provide subtitles or transcripts for videos where necessary, especially for employees with hearing impairments or those who prefer reading.

Communication is a two-way street, so offering mechanisms to employees to provide feedback is an excellent way to find out how the videos are received. Encourage feedback and provide channels for employees to ask questions or provide comments on the video communication. This facilitates two-way communication and engagement. Monitor metrics such as engagement, views, and feedback to assess the impact and effectiveness of the video communication strategy too. Companies can use this data to continually improve and tailor their approach. It is also important for the videos to be consistent and on a regular schedule so the company can maintain regular touchpoints with staff and create an engaging routine where the staff are expecting videos regularly. 

Video communication is one of the key areas an individual will learn when studying for a master in communication online from an accredited school like St. Bonaventure University. The online master’s program at this university helps professionals who are already working full-time to further their education and move into more fulfilling careers. 

Internal social networking

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A company’s internal social networking platform is a digital platform designed specifically for communication and collaboration within an organization. It functions similarly to popular social media platforms, but with a focus on facilitating internal communication and fostering collaboration among employees.

Some examples of these platforms include apps like Slack, Yammer, Microsoft Teams, Workplace, and others. These are widely used social network platforms that let teams communicate in real time. They will often offer features like file sharing, tool integration, and collaboration on documents. Some platforms let employees share updates and interact via news feeds, chats, and sharing updates.

These platforms provide a secure and centralized space for employees to connect, communicate, and collaborate. They offer various features to support internal communication, knowledge sharing, and engagement, which can aid in enhancing productivity and fostering a sense of community within the organization.

Internal social networks also provide a platform for employees to connect, collaborate, and share ideas. They can join groups or communities related to their interests or projects, facilitating collaboration across departments and geographical boundaries. These platforms also offer real-time communication tools such as chat, instant messaging, and discussion forums. This enables employees to communicate directly and quickly, fostering transparency and efficiency when sharing information.

These platforms also promote and increase engagement within the workforce. They provide a space for employees to engage with each other and the organization, as well as share updates, achievements, and milestones, fostering a sense of community and teamwork. Employees can also provide feedback and participate in discussions, making them feel valued and involved.

Internal social networks facilitate easy knowledge sharing among employees. They can share best practices, valuable lessons, and useful resources. This helps to disseminate information across the organization, enabling continuous learning and improvement. They can also create an environment where employees can connect and interact with colleagues from different departments and levels, leading to cross-functional collaboration and innovation.

These platforms encourage forums for recognizing and appreciating employees’ efforts and contributions. Colleagues can publicly acknowledge and celebrate achievements, fostering a positive and supportive work environment. Social networks also empower employees by giving them a voice and a platform for sharing their ideas and opinions. This encourages ownership and autonomy, leading to increased employee satisfaction and motivation.

For the platform to work effectively, organizations should employ certain training strategies, so employees know how to use internal social networking. Training in the form of videos and tutorials can help the workforce use the platform professionally and without abuse. The social network platform should also be user-friendly and accessible on different devices, like smartphones and tablets. This will encourage staff to maintain social contact outside of work and create a more cohesive work environment. The social media platform should be monitored regularly and flagged for inappropriate communication. When steps are taken to quickly shut down disrespectful behavior, it will become apparent to users that abuse is not tolerated. Lastly, it is important for organizations to ask for continuous feedback from their employees, so they do not lose interest in the platform.

Communicate up and across

In most companies, the communication chain generally moves from the top down with the management and executives of the organization sending missives to the staff through email or memos. This form of communication does not ensure staff feel engaged or respected, so having employees create the communication instead is an effective strategy. 

In most organizations, management teams often feel largely responsible for communicating necessary information and deliberating amongst themselves with little to no input from employees. When employees are given free rein to discuss ideas and opinions within the organization, the workforce feels engaged and this enhances a collaborative work environment. It will also give staff a chance to see how challenging corporate communication is, and this will raise respect for managers and their roles. 

Using this type of communication strategy can also help staff build their leadership qualities and create a more positive work environment. When team members feel that they are heard and have an opportunity to teach new skills to their peers, a sense of ownership forms. By allowing the company communication to come from the staff rather than management, other staff members feel that their opinions are considered. 

Use a mixture of communication channels

When it comes to reaching the workforce, there isn’t one communication strategy that works for all messages. Using a combination of strategies such as video and email, or team meetings with presentation software, can make communication more interesting and interactive. The key is to promote the message using the most effective tool possible for the people who will receive it. If the message is a new type of software upgrade that staff need to learn, then short video tutorials with a survey at the end might be the best option. For quick messages about the company that doesn’t need more than a line or two, email might be the best medium.

Encourage two-way communication

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Communication is only effective if it is a two-way street, otherwise, companies miss valuable feedback or opinions from the other side. Some two-way communication strategies include surveys, staff meetings, online forums, and town hall meetings. Asking for feedback means that staff are recognized as important sources of information. Establishing avenues for regular feedback encourages staff to voice their ideas which can lead to innovation and company success. 

Promote transparency

Companies should communicate openly and transparently about company updates, decisions, and information. Employees value transparency, as it builds trust and helps them understand the organization’s direction, fostering collaboration and engagement. Transparency will also make it easier for staff to point out deficiencies and communicate ideas on how to fix them if they feel that they are being treated respectfully as a peer. 

Recognize and celebrate achievements

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Companies can recognize and celebrate employee achievements, milestones, and contributions. Regularly highlighting exceptional work or accomplishments through internal newsletters, company-wide emails, or public acknowledgments boosts morale and encourages engagement. Staff who feel they are recognized for good work are more likely to work harder, help other staff members, and take on a leadership role within the organization. Celebrating achievements regularly is also a fun activity and can lighten the atmosphere of a job which is great for morale and aids staff retention. 

There are too many companies that see a high turnover rate and low morale because the only attention workers seem to get is when they mess something up or they are not achieving the goals of the company. Employees are not motivated to achieve great things when they are only performing the bare minimum of their duties. Unfortunately, this is what happens when they are unmotivated. Giving employees a reason to try harder and then recognizing that effort can go a long way to encouraging staff engagement. 

Foster a culture of collaboration

There is a reason why large technology companies have an open-concept workplace where everyone is encouraged to have an opinion and express ideas. This type of communication strategy fosters innovation and out-of-the-box thinking which can lead to amazing advances in the industry. It is important for organizations to encourage teamwork and collaboration through clear expectations, goal-setting exercises, and team-building activities. 

Companies can facilitate cross-departmental collaborations and provide opportunities for employees to work on projects outside their usual scope, which promotes engagement and fosters connections between teams. When the entire workforce of an organization is working towards the same goal, then that company is much more likely to both succeed and exceed expectations. 

Invest in training and development

Offering training and development programs to enhance employees’ communication skills, teamwork, and collaboration abilities, is a great way to promote engagement and enhance the work atmosphere. It is more expensive to recruit and train a new employee than to retain an established one, so investing in the development of staff saves the company money and furthers staff retention. This type of investment also means that the staff are getting more knowledgeable and better at their jobs. Investing in professional growth not only benefits individual employees but also contributes to a more engaged and collaborative workforce. 

Training and development opportunities will also mean that the workforce is keeping abreast of the new communication technology available and bringing that technology into the company. Rather than paying an outside firm to show staff how to use the latest and greatest tech, invest in one of the workers already at the company and give them the reins. They will be far more invested in the success of the technology than a third party, and more likely to teach and promote it to others in the company. 

Lead by example

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Encourage leaders and managers to model the desired communication and collaboration behaviors. When leaders actively communicate, involve employees in decision-making, and collaborate with their teams, it sets the tone for the entire organization. Leading by example when it comes to communication strategies means having a staff member make a video to show others an innovation or participating in the internal social media forum. It is the classic ‘do as I say, not as I do’ adage that has defined leading by example. 

Fostering engagement and collaboration requires ongoing effort and adaptability. Companies should keep evaluating the effectiveness of internal communication strategies and adjust as needed. When the employees of the organization feel that they are being heard, are engaged in the message, and have the freedom to share ideas, the company benefits tremendously.

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