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Organize Internal Communication Channels for Proper Employee Feedback Management

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Organize Internal Communication Channels for Proper Employee Feedback Management

Whether you have three or 300 team members, internal communications are critical to the success of your company.

Achieving corporate objectives cannot be done without ensuring all of your staff members are on board with what needs to be done and how it should be done; however, conveying pertinent company-wide messages to employees is just one side of the coin.

Employees must know which channels are available to them to relay their opinions, comments, and suggestions to upper management. Likewise, upper management should provide them with consistent support and encouragement in doing so.

Organize your internal communication channels in such a way that they allow for proper management of employee feedback.

Why are Internal Communication Channels Important?

The focal point of your internal communication plan should be your staff. How they get the information they need to do their jobs, as well as the tools they use to communicate with each other should be in direct connection with gathering and analyzing their feedback.

Internal communication best practices are those that give your employees a voice and make them feel as though you value their ideas. Depending on the size of your organization, you may or may not have an internal communication specialist or department in charge of making this communication happen. However, there should always be a unified action plan that includes employee feedback management, and then oversees its execution.

No matter how you choose to go about it, you will need a solid structure in place for your company’s internal communication channels. Apart from simplifying day-to-day tasks, especially for remote or hybrid teams, these channels should be the main touchpoints for employee feedback and its subsequent management.

At the very least, the tools you choose for your team’s internal communications should include a dedicated platform or space for deliverables, timetables and deadlines, project statuses, and a list of all personnel within the company’s hierarchy. Access to these elements is essential for all employees, regardless of the department or type of work they do.

By interlinking these elements in one place (or platform), you can easily direct people to a feedback section where they can refer to those elements as prompts for any comments or suggestions they may have, at any point during the year.

Audit Your Current Internal Communication Channels

The goal of all internal communication channels is to facilitate smooth interaction between your workers and your company. To have these channels work to their full potential, you must design them in such a way that employees want to engage with them.

Doing an audit of your current internal communication channels means taking a look at how your existing channels are doing. Gathering feedback on the channels your workers find useful — or, more markedly, which channels they do not use frequently — is what will inform your internal communication channel audit.

For example, many companies rely on their intranet for the bulk of their internal communication needs. Let’s say your company is one of them — though the following applies to any other channel you may currently use as your main one for internal comms.

The first step is to assess how many workers use the intranet at all. If you discover that only a handful of them do, you’ll need to reconsider how this particular channel fits (or doesn’t fit) into your team’s internal comms environment. Does it feel too outdated to use? Do the people in charge of updating it do so regularly? How easy is it to navigate?

To encourage workers to use the intranet (or your preferred internal comms channel), you may need to take time to redesign it. This redesign cannot happen overnight, so make sure to ask your staff what they would like to see improve.

Emails and newsletters can serve as reminders of where helpful resources can be found on the intranet, how to access personal profiles and give feedback, and other tidbits relevant to your team (more on that later).

Develop a Sound Employee Feedback System

To foster a work culture based on continuous feedback, you should motivate workers to express their opinions throughout the course of their career at your company.

Consider the many milestones and phases that each employee goes through during their “tenure.” Then, make a list of instances where their input provides you with relevant and objective insights into your operations.

The following are some recommended times to request feedback from an employee:

  • At the end of the recruitment and onboarding process — which can easily be done through automation of HR processes
  • At yearly or mid-year performance evaluation sessions
  • During one-on-one meetings on a monthly basis
  • Prior to or following company-wide reforms

Of course, you should inform all employees of when and how you will ask for their feedback. For example, consider the differences between a one-on-one session with a manager and a company-wide employee survey.

While the one-on-one meeting is better suited for more candid conversations between line managers and managees, during which you can implement something like the SBI feedback model, you may not be able to access all information given during these conversations.

However, rolling out occasional employee surveys via your company’s productivity or communication tool such as Slack or Teams may provide you with more specific and relevant inputs.

Proper Tools Lead to Employee Advocacy

Internal communication systems are just one part of a bigger picture. To truly engage, inspire, and motivate your employees, you need to invest in the best possible tools for their type of work. Engaged, inspired, and motivated employees are more likely to leave positive feedback more often, too.

For instance, using a solid internal communication platform like RingCentral App will result in increased productivity and engagement, which is what will drive positive comments across the board.

To capitalize on this effect, you may consider giving employees the opportunity to become company ambassadors, or even advisors on how to properly reap the benefits of company resources. Their role could be to speak about what works, and motivate others within the company to speak out about what doesn’t work.

Organizing your internal comms strategy around an employee advocacy program demonstrates to employees that you trust them to communicate company messaging and to present a favorable and trustworthy image to people outside of their immediate teams.

Work on Your Internal Newsletters

Internal newsletters are possibly the most effective way to disseminate the most recent and pertinent news to your entire workforce. Newsletters enable internal communications to include a variety of assets and updates — ranging from how to create a zip file to where and when to receive and send feedback.

Since people don’t have time to read walls of text, make your corporate newsletter more engaging and memorable by including photographs, infographics, or videos. Try to include topics that are actually relevant for your employees instead of tooting your own horn — they know better than anyone what company they work for, so a genuine approach is key.

Again, you can use newsletters to remind people when and where to leave feedback. For example, if you’ve recently distributed a company-wide survey, but didn’t get as many responses as you’d hoped, your newsletter can gently nudge them in that direction.

During requests for feedback, you can also use the newsletter to highlight staff successes or specific project accomplishments. This approach shows your workers you are aware of their contribution to corporate objectives, you commend them for it, and that you are ready to hear their comments as well.  

Final Thoughts

Internal communications are the backbone of any company; organizing them to drive and manage employee feedback is an excellent approach to increase awareness of what needs to be improved, and where you’re already doing a good job. We hope this article has given you enough material to successfully organize your own internal communication channels for the purposes of proper employee feedback management.

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  1. Carissa

    January 2, 2023 at 10:10 pm

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MARKETING

Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts


Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.

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