Best bottom-up internal communication channels

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I happen to post a question on the “Best bottom-up communication tools” in the popular LinkedIn group “Internal Communications Best Practices” to gain some ideas on the most effective bottom-up internal communications tools.

Although there were few helpful folks, I realized that majority of the good folks were looking for the same answer. This is when I decided to share a list of what I already knew and ask others to share their wisdom and experience as well. So here goes my list:

1. Anonymous physical boxes: This physical boxes could be placed in strategic locations where staff members can drop in their suggestions, concerns, and questions (SCQ) anonymously. The SCQs can then be forwarded to the senior management for their action.

2. Anonymous e-mail boxes: Works similarly like the physical boxes, but in an e-mail format e.g., let’s create an e-mail account with the name “askceo@yourorganization.com”. Staff members can send in their suggestions, concerns, and questions (SCQ) to this e-mail address which will then be sent up the management chain.

Note: Since this format compromises the anonymity factor of the sender, the communications team which will access this account have to maintain the highest level of confidentiality (which of course we do) to maintain staff members’ trust and our credibility.

3. Skip level meetings: Skip-level meetings allow a manager’s manager or supervisor to have a direct interaction with team members without that manager in attendance.

Here is a source for you to read more: http://www.insperity.com/blog/skip-level-meetings-get-truly-honest-feedback-employees/

4. Town halls/All-staff meetings: Town halls usually have a dedicated Q&A session which can be a great platform for staff members to directly interact with senior management members.

5. Blog comment section: Allowing comments (with an option to maintain anonymity) in senior management blogs or write-ups or on organizational news published on the intranet portal. This may be moderated for the first few months and then gradually be made moderation free.

6. Line managers Q&A shared drive or restricted intranet space (Warning: This one just germinated in my mind — so it is unproven and needs refinement): We all know line managers are a powerful two-way communication tool and this idea of mine tries to tap into this huge potential. We can start by creating a shared drive or a common online space which allows the staff members to upload a word document or a PPT explaining their SCQ or their next “EUREKA” idea. This should generate a trigger mail to both the identified line manager and the communications team.

It will then be a responsibility of line managers to reach out to the senior management. If the line manager chooses not to communicate this to the next level, he or she will be required to give a satisfactory explanation to both the concerned employee and the communications team.

I will love to know your experiences as well in the comments section — over to you all!