Looking for new ways to increase workplace productivity and efficiency as well as employee satisfaction? Well, an effective internal communications strategy puts everyone on the same page, working towards the same goal.  The result? Less confusion and a more cohesive, efficient workforce. Internal communications also helps with employee engagement; when employees know what is expected of them and what is happening in the organization, they tend to give their best in working towards the achievement of business objectives. And that of course, leads to better customer service.

Whether your law firm is small and local or large and multi-national, you shouldn’t ignore the significance of internal communications. Here’s our take on the communication trends for 2018:

Implement video.
The global trend towards more flexible working is expected to continue this year. A recent Gallup survey found that 43 percent of employed Americans spend at least some time working remotely. In addition, those who work off-site are spending more time doing so: In 2016, the number of employees spending 80% or more of their time working remotely jumped from 24% in 2012 to 31%.

So how do you ensure engagement and productivity with this growing segment of your workforce? Deploying video enables companies to include remote participants at every meeting, thereby removing that sense of being disconnected. And, for teams working together across geographies, video enables better collaboration. A Forbes Insight survey found that 93% of executives agree that video conferencing improves the effectiveness of teams.

Video can also be used for firm updates, replacing lengthy emails. A quick video clip from a company spokesperson is more engaging and more personal, as it puts a face to the news.

Leverage collaborative spaces.
Company chat software are often considered one of the best business communications tools to keep teams working together. For example, Communicator, which is an integral part of the Rocket Matter platform, lets you share files, host video conferences, and associate your conversations with cases so you can see your correspondence on your Matter Dashboards. Other options include Slack and HipChat.  Instant messaging makes updates on projects and general team discussion much easier. Plus, it cuts down on email.

This is especially important—and effective—when employees are spread across multiple time zones. Organize conversations by subject so they are searchable later saves time.

Launch an internal blog.
Most of us read multiple blogs on a daily basis, whether they be about law, technology, or other issues. Blogs are a great way to not only share information but to drive conversation, one in which multiple readers can weigh in and contribute content.

An internal blog resides behind the law firm’s firewall and therefore is not available to the general public. Instead, it serves as a vehicle for lawyers and staff to share knowledge and keep up with firm news—such as case successes, trial wins, and significant settlements—while building a repository of important information. You can also use an internal blog  to “crowd source” opinions of expert witnesses, mediators, and vendors.

Most importantly, because a blog inherently encourages two-way communication, authors and readers can discuss and debate issues and get to know each other better. It’s a great way to help instill a sense of community and create a shared vision for the firm.

Keep the door open to all employees.
This phrase has been around forever, but over time it has remained incredibly important. Whether virtual or actual, a true open-door policy—where all employees are encouraged to share opinions, discussissues, and brainstorm solutions— fosters trust between employees and leadership and strengthens connection to the organization.

 

Kristin Johnson is an executive and corporate communications professional, and founder of KSJ Communications, a communications and public relations firm. She consults with a diverse roster of clients spanning the technology, professional services, financial services, public sector, consumer, and healthcare industries. In addition to Rocket Matter, Johnson writes for various other publications as well.