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How does communication work in smaller companies?
Master of Operations | Personik
At the beginning of the year our team wondered: «How does communication work in smaller companies?»
We mainly work with large corporations, and we were wondering how employees adapt, interact with HR-services and receive corporate news in companies with 100 to 1000 staff members. We decided to carry out our own research and asked current HR specialists to share their experience in establishing corporate communication. Based on these interviews, we’ve compiled the top 6 most common ways to convey information to employees in smaller companies.
This is the oldest way of communication, which is still used in many non-IT companies. “Information portals” are set in the most visited places of the enterprise — usually in the canteens or by the entrance. Companies use them for conveying important, but non-urgent information: the dates of the next meeting, congratulations and staff shuttle service schedules.
Although bulletin boards are a classic tool for top-down communication between the company and the employees, they have only one significant advantage: their implementation and maintenance require minimal effort. At the same time, their disadvantages are evident: it is impossible to predict audience coverage, they have low efficiency and provide no option for the readers to give feedback.
1. Bulletin boards
Compared to message boards, planning meetings are more modern and advanced means of communication. They are efficient, allow to deliver more information and, most importantly, provide the opportunity for down-top communication from employees to company. However, there might be no competent managers who can respond to an appeal, and many employees don't feel comfortable to ask personal questions during meetings.
2. Planning meetings
3. Vertical communication
To distribute information and collect feedback, a lot of companies use vertical communication. Important news is sent down to the heads of departments by email or phone, and then they pass it to their department members during planning meetings or one-on-one. Feedback is gathered in the same way: an employee asks a manager a question, and the manager addresses it to the relevant company department.
Even though this method of communication helps to exchange information quickly, it often results in misinterpretation, and overworked managers don’t have time to pay enough attention to all requests.
4. Corporate portals
Now it has become very easy to create simple websites, enabling most companies to have their own corporate portals. They are used to deliver corporate news and provide digital HR services for employees.
The advantages of corporate portals are obvious, but they still have a significant drawback: they are inaccessible to workers who are away from computers and do not have constant access to the Internet.
5. Mobile apps and HRMS
The next step in the evolution of communication with employees is HRM systems for recruiting, education, development and other management functions. Mobile and web applications enable employees to have constant access to all the necessary services and new information.
However, it is difficult to distribute the software among the employees, and that is the main flaw of this option. From our experience, employees tend to refuse to install corporate applications on their personal smartphones, and companies aren’t willing to provide them with corporate devices.
6. Public and corporate messengers, social networks
Many companies are starting to use messengers and social networks as their main channel of communication with the employees. Different features of messengers — direct messages, group chats, communities and channels — allow quick and effective communication. However messengers are not equipped for corporate communication tasks: membership management, content moderation and the ability to connect messengers to employee self-services.
There is usually no perfect solution suitable for everyone. Each company solves its own communication tasks taking into account its own specifics, financial capabilities and level of automation.
At the same time, we can confidently say that nowadays companies can’t keep up with modern requirements and challenges without digital ways of communication, however technologically unsophisticated they might be.
In fact, there already are some IT-solutions that combine obvious advantages of digital communication channels and the necessary administration tools. Beekeeper and Speakap startups provide mobile apps for internal corporate communication. Companies use them to interact with their employees via mobile applications.
Personik offers such internal corporate communication, but our solution is based on messengers. This is much more familiar and convenient for employees, and allows companies to get all the information instantly.
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