Don't want to invest in an enterprise solution? Use Google Hangouts or Skype.
"Employee communication is a challenge at Doubledot Media because we literally have employees all over the world," says Simon Slade, CEO, Doubledot Media. "To bring everyone together, I created a Skype virtual watercooler where employees can instant message our entire staff," he explains. "Employees use this resource for both work purposes and socializing, which is also great for building a sense of teamwork and camaraderie."
3. Provide employees (especially younger ones) with regular feedback. "Younger workers (Generation Y and the Millennial generation) enjoy receiving frequent feedback," notes Patrick Thean, cofounder and CEO, Rhythm Systems, provider of a cloud-based strategy execution software platform. To ensure that workers know what's going on, and is expected of them, "provide a weekly status report for the priorities and projects that they're working on, followed by short and simple feedback from managers and executives," he suggests. "This can help the younger members of the workforce feel empowered as well as connected to the rest of the team."
4. When emailing, leverage the subject line. "In this day and age, most of the workforce communicates primarily through email," says Thean. "And since employees often receive dozens of emails each day, their inboxes become too full to cut through the clutter and recognize which messages need to be acted on immediately."
To get employees' attention -- if their immediate attention is truly warranted -- "use action-oriented [words], such as ACT or URGENT [or HELP], in the subject line," he advises. That way, "employees can prioritize which messages require immediate action, and which they can return to at a later time."
5. Use video conferencing. "Video conferencing is a great business tool because it is effective and inexpensive," states Mark Roberts, CMO, ShoreTel. "One of the obstacles to collaboration is the inability of employees to get together and discuss issues," he explains. And bringing far-flung employees together in one place, physically, while helpful, can be expensive. "With video conferencing, [however,] employees can meet without ever having to leave their desks."
6. Pick up the phone. "Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call the other party instead of responding by email or text," says Stephanie Roberson Barnard, managing partner, Listen Write Present. While email and text communications work in many situations, sometimes, such as when "the other party is confused about a message [or] the topic is sensitive," it's more effective to just pick up the phone and talk.
External (Customer) Communication Tips
7. Get to the point. "Particularly with email blasts, if you need customers to take action, quickly make your point," says Liz Istas, communications manager, Grantham University. "Glorious intros and wonderfully crafted narratives have their place -- but an email isn't it. Your customers are busy, action-oriented folk who respond best to [short, easy-to-read] content."
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