Depending on where you stand, the modern workplace is either cluttered with or vitally dependant on information. Often times you may feel that it is both, and you may even be right.
Regardless of your viewpoint, we can surely all agree on one thing - quality communication helps everyone work better and makes everything run smoother. In the hectic workplace of today, it is essential to have clearly defined responsibilities and expectations, as well as timely input on the quality of our work.
Thankfully, technology enables us to structure and maintain an efficient internal communication network that can help keep everyone on the same page.
Over the following lines, we will detail how you can use an internal blog to create a transparent two-way communication channel that can be utilized for a variety of purposes - from straight-forward information to feedback, task management, knowledge sharing, and plenty more.
The two pillars of quality internal communication are transparency and structure.
Transparency ensures that everyone has all the necessary information, and the structure helps organize the multitude of information and different types of communication in a logical, easy-to-navigate manner.
Let’s take a closer look.
To be clear (no pun intended!), we’re using the term “transparency” in the broadest sense here. Yes, honest and open communication is highly relevant for a healthy and productive work environment, and it is certainly an area that organizations should focus on. Still, here we’re talking about general clarity of information in all work communication.
With the growing wave of remote teams and a general reliance on technology in today’s work processes, achieving a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities is an absolute priority. Having the right communication tools is a good start, but the difference between highly productive teams and less productive teams is often in how we choose to use those tools.
An internal blog can provide a perfect communication platform that keeps everyone on top of their tasks while establishing an open and transparent communication line that is available to all employees.
In this process, it is very important to give everyone an active role, where they will engage in the discussion rather than passively receiving information.
For instance, a team lead can publish a general project overview and assignments as a blog post. The post can then be updated to monitor progress, either by the team lead or other team members if given editorial credentials. The team members can discuss various project details through the comment section, which can also be used to provide quick feedback.
The communication doesn’t have to be project-based. You can also share tutorials and know-how, and let other team members pitch in with their own suggestions and experiences, and use the internal blog as an ever-growing knowledge base for present and future users.
You can provide a platform for team members to express themselves and engage with others on a more personal level, which is particularly important for remote and inter-office teams.
These are merely suggestions, and you can tailor your internal blog to address a broad palette of communication areas relevant to the overall performance of your team.
Having all relevant information is crucial to successful work, but we don’t really need ALL the information. As our workplace is already cluttered with information of varying degrees of relevance, being able to cut through the noise and contain the general discussion within the frame that matters to you should be your number one priority.
This can be achieved by establishing a strong and clear structure of communication, with different channels assigned to different types of communication and different team members.
An internal blogging platform such as BlogIn enables you to organize all team communication in a simple way by utilizing two key features - categories and roles.
Categories allow us to separate different types of information and communication: news, project updates, knowledgebase, administration, non-work topics, etc. You can also use categories to limit the discussion to a team level or a project level. This will help keep all communication neatly organized into logical areas which team members can access when needed, instead of being overwhelmed by all information at all times.
Assigning user roles will help further filter the communication between team members. For instance, on BlogIn there are four available user roles: reader, commenter, writer, and administrator. For any given blog post, you decide who can see it and how they can interact with it. This way you can both limit the discussion to include only the team members involved with the topic and establish their level of engagement.
Making smart use of categories and user roles will help manage the overwhelming body of communication and make sure that everyone gets all the relevant information while shielding individual team members from areas irrelevant to their work.
Today’s work is becoming more individual experience, and less a shared one. As the workers become less visible and isolated, it is becoming increasingly important to provide them with a voice and a platform to speak their minds. Quality communication is always a two-way process, and it starts by opening channels to not just provide input, but also receive feedback.
Encouraging open communication will allow all team members to feel included, while structure will help separate relevant from irrelevant. Honoring these two principles will help you overcome the specific challenges of the modern work experience.