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Robert McWhirter

Internal Communications Strategy: What You Can Learn From Small Businesses

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Small businesses can make big businesses jealous. They are fast, nimble and can turn ideas into action before big businesses have even managed to arrange a meeting. It’s all down to great internal communication; meetings involving several different departments can be done on an ad hoc basis and this kind of fluid, continuous communication between employees is what big organisations dream of.

This got us thinking, what are the things that make our business great, and how can they be applied to larger businesses? Of course, some things don’t translate but we’ve come up with a few things that bigger businesses can learn from. Read on…

Regular Communication

Every morning our different teams stand up and talk to one another. We call it the ‘stand-up’: we stand up because it keeps us alert and the meetings quick. During the session, each team member talks through what they did the day before and what they plan to do today. These quick daily meetings ensure that every member of the team is kept up to date on the progress of co-workers. Our stand-ups highlight any hitches early and allow us to iron out problems quickly.

In a larger workplace where you might have lots of projects going on at once, stand-ups can give a chance for everybody involved to get together, monitor progress and build relationships. There’s some good further reading on this in this Forbes article.

Easy Communication

Because we’re a relatively small company, our teams are never very far away from each other, and this is great for communication between different departments and types of people. The commercial team can easily contact the production team for queries, ideas and, hey, even invites to lunch. Having such easy communication means that everyone has a good understanding and respect for what others do, and means that we work better together and ultimately produce better work.

Of course, in a large business, it’s not so easy to achieve this. Teams are dispersed over floors, buildings and even continents, so it’s not just a case of shouting over the top of your computer screen to get somebody’s attention. However good internal comms can do a good job at replicating this atmosphere and there are a number of digital tools that exist for this very reason. They’re designed to make dispersed workplaces more connected by being accessible on the go from mobiles and tablets – replicating the kind of impromptu communication that small businesses excel at.

Ideas based on merit, not job title

We work with the attitude that ideas should be judged on their own merit, not on the job title of the person who said them.

There’s no doubt that hierarchy has an important place in the workplace – it means that organisations have decision-makers, leaders and mentors. But in some situations the hierarchy is counterproductive. When it comes to coming up with new ideas it’s important to make sure that ideas come before job titles. Ideas should be judged on their merit, not on who said them, something that big businesses can be guilty of ignoring.

With good communication, business decisions can be made quickly and teams can work more collaboratively. At Browser we’re in the lucky position that we’re pretty small, but that doesn’t mean that nimble communication can’t be achieved in big organisations. In fact, it’s imperative:

“The organization that can’t communicate can’t change, and the corporation that can’t change is dead.”

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