5 ways to keep employees in the loop

Business leaders and communications experts discuss how companies can ensure that employees stay informed.

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Today, organizations have dozens of options when it comes to employee communication. To find out which communication solution work best, and when, we queried dozens of executives and communication experts. Here are their top five picks for how to keep workers up to date on what’s going on within their team, department or the company as a whole.

1. In-person weekly (or daily) meetings. Despite the proliferation of communication tools, sometimes you just need to meet with your team or department face to face, in a group.

“As an agile office, we have a daily standup meeting each day,” says Mark Tuchscherer, cofounder and president, Geeks Chicago, a website development and design firm. “This meeting is very short and everyone attends, even people [who] work remotely. We use it to discuss anything that needs to be communicated between all teams. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and has the same information,” he explains. “It's the best way for me to get information to everyone very easily.”

“We hold weekly town halls with our staff,” says Pieter Van Iperen, CTO, Sports Media 101. “We discuss strategy changes, business updates, methods, answer questions and set plans. We actually hold an a.m. and p.m. session to make sure everyone can attend one, and we do them via WebEx so everyone can shout out a question or discuss a topic,” he adds. “Nothing beats face time, even if it’s virtual.”

2. Virtual meetings/videoconferencing. “Having regular meetings with remote team members is almost more important than making sure to carve out time with those who are in-house,” says Chris Battles, vice president and general manager, Citrix.

[ Related: How to build a high performing team when you work virtually ]

“In order to enable a connected and mobile workforce, Ford IT has invested considerable time into making it easy for people to participate in meetings via a variety of mobile devices,” says Sara Tatchio, manager, Global Employee Communications, Ford Motor Company. “In particular, using a corporate or personal iPad to run WebEx is a popular solution, although phones work equally well.  Advancements in Web cameras and audio solutions allow this to work well for all levels of employees.”

[ Related: Ford draws on Pivotal to reshape developer culture ]

3. Instant messaging/private group chat apps. “The modern way to communicate with teams of employees is with a group chat app,” says Toshi Yamamoto, founder & CEO, ChatWork, a group chat service provider. “The best group chat apps for business on the market today combine chat, video chat, task management and file sharing in one place to keep teams productive, engaged and communicating in real time,” he says.

“Use instant messaging services like Slack or Google Hangouts for conversations that don't garner long, drawn out explanations and avoid the need for cumbersome email communication,” advises Kyle Olson, senior content manager, Digital Third Coast, a digital marketing agency. “This works best when answers are needed for quick questions or you need to start a conversation with a group of people for a discussion. I've found that I've reduced my inbox overload and encouraged collaboration on projects as a result of real-time communications.”

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