Use Technology to Enhance Your Employee Communications Efforts

Technology and communication

If improving communications with your employees was on your 2018 list of resolutions, there are many ways to leverage digital technology to achieve this goal. Businesses that still rely on a “suggestion box” in the break room or some similarly out-of-date mechanism should consider adopting current technology to make employees feel more involved and part of the team.

An array of Digital Resources

The good news is, your employees are already using the types of digital resources you can employ in your efforts to improve communications. These resources include:

  • Texting
  • Chat rooms
  • Video
  • Social media

Instant messaging is so prevalently used by people (from front-line employees to senior executives) that it should be considered a “go-to” method for communicating important and timely information to your team. It’s also a useful tool for staying in touch with your remote workers.

Cloud-based mobile technology facilitates a deeper sense of engagement among employees. Using communications tools in this area usually includes the benefits of enhanced data security. Also, cloud-based technology can be easily upgraded as new digital improvements become available.

Video platforms represent a particularly appealing way of improving communications. When you, as CEO or business owner, want to relay a message to the entire company, what better way than through video, where people can see and hear you simultaneously? No other mode offers the same kind of “face-to-face” authenticity – especially beneficial if you’re comfortable in front of a camera and know how to express yourself in terms your employees will best understand.

Getting Employees on Board

To make this approach work, it’s critically important to design a comprehensive plan that introduces and familiarizes employees with the communications technology you deem best suited for your culture. According to ITProPortal, such a plan should include “training programmes, leadership workshops, counselling, best practices resources, templates, and customised advice and guidance.”

This may sound burdensome at first, but when employees “get” that you want to implement a streamlined system of communications – and that you genuinely care about interacting with them – you’re likely to see a marked improvement in morale and, possibly, long-term employee retention.

Employee Solutions to Business Problems

Equally valuable are opportunities for team members to communicate with each other. For example, those involved in a new initiative – or tasked with finding solutions to a pressing business problem – will greatly benefit from being able to bounce ideas off each other in real-time.

Remember, your employees are the ones most intimately involved in the sales and distribution of your products or services. Frequently, they’re also the ones who regularly interact with customers, so they have a deeper understanding of the strengths and shortcomings of your offerings. If they’re asked to devise a solution, the chance to collaborate quickly and clearly through internal communications tools may result in just the solution your business needs to move forward.

At the same time, this communications platform should involve supervisors or managers as well. Great employee ideas can wither and die without managerial input and/or advocacy.

As Fast Company notes, “It’s important that new concepts are not just discussed among peers.” Managers should “be involved and feel connected to those suggestions from the very beginning,” because their advocacy can help ensure that those at the top will “implement the best ideas.”

Businesses armed with effective internal communications are often more successful at attracting and recruiting the quality talent your company seeks as well. That’s another reason to examine your various communications options and put the best system in place, in order to keep your employees productive and able to share key ideas with one another.

Want to learn more about the technology and communications? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

How and Why You Should Be Marketing Your Company Culture

Teamwork.The success of your company relies on so much more than profits. There are certain immeasurable factors that may not immediately prove their ROI, but are essential for the longevity of your business. One such factor is company culture. Establishing company culture begins from the top down. As a leader, it is your responsibility to set a positive tone for your business and embody that culture every single time you walk in the door.

To better understand the importance of company culture, we interviewed three TAB executives and collected their thoughts about how and why it’s so important to establish a company culture and then translate that vision to your employees, customers, community, and prospective hires.

What is Company Culture?

According to Andrew Hartley, Director of The Alternative Board (Bradford West), “Company culture is intangible and complex. It’s difficult to pin down, because there’s no app or spreadsheet that can grasp your corporate culture.”

So how do they define it?

“Company culture is not just your personal values and the values of those around you at work,” says Hartley. “It’s how those values interact with the challenges and experience of your market, the values and pressures added by your customers and suppliers and other stakeholders. This highly complex mix is your company’s culture.”

TAB Member Casey Lakey, Owner / General Manager at Trainer’s Club adds, “Company culture is the translation of the business owner’s vision and values.” According to Lakey, this begins with every staff member but, is equally important for managers and even business partners.

“Your core values are manifested in how your people behave, this is your culture,” says The Alternative Board (North San Antonio & TX Hill Country) President Don Maranca. “Core values mean nothing unless your culture or behaviour is consistent with them.”

Why is company culture so important?

Hartley ties company culture to your overarching business strategy. It can either be a “loud promoter” of your vision or a “silent killer.”

“When your culture and goals are not aligned, all of your efforts will feel like hard work and progress will become nearly impossible,” says Hartley. “When you get it right, everything flies and you exceed your own expectations. Effective company culture indirectly leads to results that everyone on your team and even in your business’s community will want to celebrate and be part of.

Maranca agrees that company culture impacts how you do business. “Company culture creates an expectation with your employees and customers.”

Why is it so important to translate your company culture to prospective customers? To prospective employees? To your local community?

To answer this question, Hartley quotes leadership author Simon Sinek, “Customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

“Your culture reflects who you really are and why you are there. If this fits with customers they will be your loyal followers and promoters,” says Hartley, “Without this connection, you are merely transacting and will have to work hard for every deal.”

Lakey adds that company culture increases your chances of building a referral marketing network, which is the most cost-effective way to spread word of your business. “If customers recognise and appreciate the culture of your company, they are more willing to return and share their experiences with other potential customers.”

According to Hartley, the same goes for employees, suppliers and the overarching community. Here, he cites The Leadership Challenge authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, “If you align at a cultural level, you will earn the extra 20% of ‘discretionary’ effort that makes the best, the best.”

Lakey agrees with Hartley’s sentiment. “Employees that follow a positive company culture are better employees because they understand their role and are more likely to promote the business when interacting with customers and potential hires.”

As for the local community, Lakey believes “A business becomes a part of its community when the community recognises the culture and values the company promotes.”

What are some effective ways of marketing your company culture?

“You (the leader) are the best way to market your company culture,” says Maranca. “Achieve this by clearly communicating your core values and living them out intentionally in every interaction related to your business.”

“Cultural alignment can be one of your biggest assets,” adds Hartley. “It should influence the style, choice of channels, branding and tone of voice of your communications. All marketing needs to respect the central value of your business.”

Lakey recommends creating a series of keywords that emphasise your business’s company culture and core values and using them across all internal and external communications. For example, Lakeys’ terminology generally revolves around their mission statement: “Our mission is to create a sense of community for our members, employees and business partners.”

Company culture may be intangible, but it’s definitely not inconsequential. Having a well-defined culture, that is translated from the top down, can streamline all of your business’s processes and interactions.

If all of the elements of your business model are in place, but something still seems to be lacking, you may want to take a moment to reflect on your company’s culture. Are your employees happy? Are your customers? Are you? Asking these simple questions can reveal a lot about your business. If you’re having trouble establishing a positive company culture, get in touch with a local TAB board and see how a team of peer advisors can help you take your business to the next level.