Opening a new office interstate or even international office is an exciting move that opens up even more opportunities for your company. It was only recently we took this step at wattsnext, opening our first interstate office in Sydney.
This is an exciting time for your company, but it comes with its own set of problems, a big one being communication. How can you ensure all of your team is properly engaged when you are spread across several offices? After all, we all know communication plays a huge part in determining company culture, engagement and ultimately your bottom line.
Here are my six tips for communicating across offices.
1. Create a company intranet
I am not suggesting the boring kind; set up an intranet that includes the policies, etc, but also ensure you update it weekly, if not daily, with what’s going on around the company, important announcements or wins – make it a social hub not a barren wasteland. An intranet is a great way to keep the entire company updated without having to write a thousand emails a day.
2. Establish a central drive
This should go without saying but ensure everyone has access to all documents regardless of where they are based. With cloud-based technology becoming more popular and cheaper this is now easier then ever. This will encourage creativity and sharing across all your worksites, it also stops a lot of unnecessary phone calls and emails.
3. Make your team talk to each other
Set up a monthly meeting with all of the admin or sales teams and have a department meeting. Set this up over Skype (or something similar) so they can talk about what they are doing, what is working, what’s not. It is not just up to the senior management team to talk to each other, your entire workforce needs to be engaged with each other, your bottom line depends on it.
4. Have weekly staff meetings
Dedicate 20-30 minutes every week for all staff and offices to join in with a weekly staff meeting to give a general update and provide the senior team a chance to address everyone. You can use this to make announcements, give updates, celebrate wins, introduce new team members, etc. Get the team to connect to the meeting via a video-sharing service so they can see each other and create a personal connection. Don’t forget to have a dedicated time slot for each office so they can provide their own updates.
5. Set up a company social media network
There are loads of ‘business’ social media networks out there that allow your team to instantly communicate with each other. Consider investing in something that will allow your team to instantly chat and collaborate with each other. As your company continues to grow, the chances are you will have teams doing the same job across multiple offices. By having this in place, you are giving them the chance to instantly connect and share content to make everyone’s lives easier.
6. Consider employing a communications manager
Many people think both HR and communications managers are a waste of money, but they aren’t. If you invest in a high performing communications manager they will be able to work hand in hand with the senior management team and each department to effectively communicate and sell the company messages internally.
When you don’t take the time to invest money and resources into internal communications you run the risk of dissatisfaction, disengagement, high employee turnover and loss of revenue due to miscommunication.
Sue-Ellen Watts is the founder and director of wattsnext, specialists in HR, recruitment, compliance and people performance.