How to Keep Your Employees up to Date and Informed

To stay responsive to customer and market demands, every company has to remain nimble. Easy for the two-person startup working out of a garage somewhere. More difficult for an organization with multiple teams working in multiple divisions to complete multiple interconnecting projects.

Communication becomes key. Goals and priorities can change quickly. Only setting quarterly benchmarks can leave you woefully behind the competition. What made sense during December's planning session can become moot when your competitor launches a surprise upgrade in January.

For that reason, you need an ongoing process to keep everyone on the same page. A multiple-medium approach allows you to take advantage of the various modes of communication. Here are three prongs to include in your employee information network:

In-Person Meetings

It may seem like a Mad Men-style way to run things in a time of complete digitization, but gathering everyone in one place to discuss the current situation represents a time-tested way to share information. It has the benefit of having everyone engaged and participating, presenting an opportunity to exchange ideas and ensure everyone hears everything at the same time.

The frequency of the meetings will depend on your business. In a fast-changing environment, daily conclaves might make sense. Typically, weekly or biweekly meetings suffice for most businesses.

While the analog everyone-gathers-around-a-table model has its charms, there's something to be said for more tech-forward solutions as well. If it's difficult to get everyone in a room at once, consider virtual meetings as a potential expansion of the in-person concept.

On one hand, it lacks the intimacy of actual face-to-face interaction. However, there are benefits, like being able to simultaneously access videos, websites and other visual aids in a way that everyone can participate.

Email or Group Text

This is probably the most time-efficient solution. A 20-minute meeting may not seem like much of an inconvenience. But a 20-minute meeting with 12 people represents four man/hours of time spent -- half a day's work for a single person. And that doesn't include prep time, time getting to and from the meeting or the general disruption of having to set aside other tasks to attend the in-person discussion.

Email and text eliminate these problems. People can read the information at their convenience.

The downside: It doesn't leave a lot of room for conversation. It's difficult to outline nuanced arguments in texts. Emails are better for this, but anything more than a few lines tends toward TL;DR territory. Just because it's in the email stream doesn't mean anyone actually read it.

For these reasons, email and text work best for one-way communications: posting schedules, providing updates. Think of it as the contemporary equivalent to the old-time bulletin board.

Intranet/Portal

Email and text are prone to human error. People get left out of discussion threads. Layouts are often difficult to navigate and become cluttered and unusable after a certain point.

Intranet or office portals solve some these problems. They come with features that minimize the downsides of email or text. Groups are managed more easily and there are often enhanced search and archiving functions.

There are some downsides. Every portal works differently, meaning new employees will have to get used to the operation. That means a transitional period for newbies and a more intense onboarding process. Not a big deal if you have a relatively stable team, but in a situation with higher turnover, it can cause a problem.

Of course, communication becomes easier when you have the right employees. Motivated, engaged, tech-savvy workers can slide right into any information network. United Personnel can help you recruit these kinds of employees. Contact us today to find out what we can do for your operation.