While informal communications can be helpful, the most effective communications are done in formal channels, consistently over time, and in a way that creates transparency in the organization.
Effective communications includes top down communications through meetings - informing leaders of key news who then communicate that information down to their teams. It also includes grassroots communications that conveys timely and consistent messages out to the entire organization through mediums such as newsletters, email blasts, and intranet updates. When employees of organizations receive key messages it is important that leaders have a bit more information than their staff so that they can answer questions as they arise.
Effective communications also includes feedback mechanisms where employees and leaders can provide their input to the organization. It is important for employees to feel heard and part of the process of effecting the organization. Feedback mechanisms can include email boxes, customer service phone numbers, anonymous mail boxes for suggestions, and openness in meetings to allow for suggestions and thoughts.
If formal communications channels are not used effectively or information is not open and transparent, gossip and “filling the void” occur. This means that employees will make up information to fill the “vacuum.”
Does your organization have some of these key elements of effective communications? If not what can you implement in order to increase the transparency in your organization and “fill the void?”