The ability to communicate effectively with employees is one of the most valuable assets any company can have at its disposal.
Whatever point you've reached in your business journey - whether you're eyeing growth or going through a time of crisis - it's imperative that you're able to have open, constructive conversations with your workforce to make the most of opportunities and mitigate risk.
If you feel this is an area where you have room for improvement, there are various measures you can take to accelerate your progress, including studying the methods used by companies that clearly excel at internal communication.
Netflix is the world's biggest streaming service, with more than 200 million subscribers, and its approach to workforce engagement and communication has been identified as a key factor in its success.
One of the key principles espoused at the company is full transparency and honesty between employees, as long as all feedback is given in a constructive manner, with the intention of achieving a positive outcome.
2. Banco Santander Portugal
Implementing significant and lasting change in how its employees communicate with one another was a key element of a cultural transformation initiative undertaken at Banco Santander Portugal.
One of the various components of this effort was a carpool scheme that gave co-workers and team members the opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed setting that wasn't directly linked to their jobs.
João Lopes, Head of Internal Communication at the bank, told Haiilo this made a big contribution to helping people get to know each other as individuals.
3. Deutsche Post DHL
Haiilo also spoke to Mayyada Ansari, Senior Manager of Global Internal Communications at international logistics company Deutsche Post DHL Group, who highlighted the benefits of using specialist apps to enable connections between people in various areas of the business.
Ansari said dedicated apps are an effective way to bridge gaps between managers and frontline staff. If these divisions exist in your workforce, they could give rise to a range of problems, from lack of engagement among team members and junior-level employees to misunderstandings about workloads and responsibilities.
Providing an app that allows workers to communicate with managers gives people a voice within the organization and shows the business is interested in what they have to say. Furthermore, it helps those in more senior roles do their jobs better by acting on staff feedback.
Using these technologies to facilitate communication could prove more important than ever in the current era of remote and flexible working.
4. Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble is America's biggest national bookstore chain. Founded back in the 19th century, the business is still going strong today, despite the growth of digital technologies and the related decline in physical media that’s affected many organizations in recent decades.
Research suggests one of the key factors in the company's success is its focus on talking to its workforce.
A Monster ranking of some of the best employers for internal communication, based on data collected from employee review platform kununu, noted that Barnes & Noble managers prioritize checking in with all workers before their shifts to discuss topics like sales targets and individual goals.
One of the most important aspects of Buffer's organizational culture is transparency, at the heart of which is a determination to communicate clearly and avoid making assumptions.
There are various ways this policy manifests itself in the company's everyday operations, including a regular 'All Hands' meeting. This monthly event alternates between a presentation from the CEO and leadership team, to ensure employees are up to date with current headlines and performance, and a 'town hall' format that gives all attendees the opportunity to ask questions.
For every one of these get-togethers, the company tries to add a new element or experiment, as part of its refusal to accept that regular meetings have to follow a consistent pattern. This focus on keeping things "fun, fresh and surprising" encourages communication and engagement, reducing the risk of people getting bored and switching off.
Small but frequent efforts like these will add up and make a big difference to how your company communicates and builds relationships over time.