6. 10 Tips to Share Information More Effectively
In this age of hybrid, remote and desk less working, sharing information effectively is key to internal communication and employee engagement. So here are our top 10 tips!
- Define your communication “stack”
Ways to communicate online in a company
- Instant messaging – for quick communication.
- Email – for official notices.
- Company wiki – for shared knowledge.
- Google docs – for information sharing.
- Yammer – for “water cooler” chat.
Ways to communicate offline in a company
- Daily stand-ups.
- Weekly team meetings.
- Monthly all-company meetings.
- Quarterly all hands meetings.
- Annual company retreats.
- Determine transparency
When it comes to sharing information, transparency is incredibly important; it’s one of the foundation stones of employee engagement. In some start-ups like Buffer, everything from company salaries to equity and even company revenue is shared transparently on a series of dashboards. Whether you’re that transparent, completely private or somewhere in between, it’ll have an effect on how you share information.
- Information to share vs information to capture
The instant nature tools like Slack, Yammer and Skype invite you to decide what information you want to share and what you need to capture. Here’s an example: you may WhatsApp your thoughts on a presentation to a colleague on your way to the office. Is this information just to share or information that needs to be captured? Helping to build a culture and structure for managing knowledge is an important part of sharing information more effectively.
- New-age methods of sharing information
Depending on the age and experience of your team, some will have been born into an era where information sharing was firmly entrenched in email.
Now it’s much more common to receive a company memo by message. It’s instantaneous, more likely to be seen and gets the information to where it needs to be more quickly. At the same time, that information becomes soloed to just the sender and recipient. It’s not even on “digital company property”. But what about if that message were an important presentation, or some key figures? Working out how new methods of information sharing fit with your organization, and your team, is key to deciding what you share and where.
- Share where employees already are
Finding gaps where your employees are already and using them to communicate is a great way to share information more holistically.
- Tell people how to communicate
Everyone knows how to communicate, but not everyone knows how to communicate effectively. Effective communication refers to the process of sharing information between two or more entities which leads to the desired outcome. The information shared is conveyed and received efficiently without the intended meaning being distorted or changed. It includes skills like non-verbal communication, attentive listening, ability to understand and to control one’s own emotions and managing stress. These skills need to be developed and honed.
- Foster two-way dialogue
Most modern companies know that sharing information isn’t solely a company-to-employee interaction. Two-way dialogue and increasing the feedback loop is essential to sharing and understanding information.
Feedback loops, like the example shown above, foster authentic communication and lead to a positive relationship where everyone feels heard and responded to.
- Look for blind spots
If you have a hybrid, remote or desk less team, there will be “blind spots” around how and where information is shared. For example, if an employee misses a meeting how will they gain access to what was shared? Or, how will you share important announcements to desk less workers?
Having a process for documenting, recording and sharing missed information and making this accessible to all employees is a good way to circumvent blind spots.
For example, each month when we hold our monthly All Hands, we record the session and share it via tools like Wistia, Loom or Crowdcast so that employees can catch up. This is especially useful for offices based in different time zones.
- Give the power to employees
Some employees will thrive on being asked to document their knowledge and company processes. It’s a fact. Bringing in specific “information evangelists” from your company can help keep internal Wikis, documents and user bases up to date without being a huge strain on resources. Employees are often best placed to moderate and look after the sections of information they know best.
- Measure success
When it comes to sharing information, it’s a good idea to measure how successful your methods are. This could be running an employee survey to locate information gaps, blocks and bind spots. It could also be finding out where information isn’t being shared and the causes. If you use a web-based wiki or knowledge system you could even use analytics to see the most clicked on or searched terms, plus a voting system for employees to feedback how useful they find the information.
Source: Ten Tips to Share Information More Effectively