Internal communications

Subject: Internal communications
From: Alison Bloor <alisonb -at- MMTECH -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Fri, 10 May 1996 16:24:03 GMT

Dear All

I have a request that may not be 100% on-topic, but since it involves
communication and techies, I hope it won't be considered too far off the
mark:

I'm looking for advice/book recommendations/tales of personal triumphs
in the area of 'internal corporate communications', i.e. getting a
company's employees to talk to each other.

The background to this request is that I work for a small company which
has only recently grown beyond the point where people 'just know' what's
going on because everyone works in the same office and overhears other
peoples' discussions. Suddenly there are people who DON'T hear what's
going on in the normal course of their work, and need to be kept informed
explicitly.

I felt we needed to recognise this change and do something about it, and
so I volunteered to be responsible for internal communication and
information. (That's the beauty of small companies: Tech Writer to
Communication Manager overnight!)

I do have some ideas: an 'intranet' as the standard access point for
company info; occasional Friday afternoon seminars if we can find the
time ... We already do fairly well at sharing technical information
(design change forms, bug database, etc.) so I'm not too worried about
that.

Where I'm REALLY stumped is the more psychological side...
How do you persuade people to adopt behaviour that I imagine comes as
second nature to most of us on this list:

- keeping others informed of your plans instead of springing work
on them unexpectedly
- thinking about how your plans will affect others, and getting
their input before going ahead
- realising that if you want someone to know something YOU HAVE TO
TELL THEM. (Pretty fundamental, but sadly often overlooked!)

See my problem? Written down like that they look like common sense
(or one of those horrible notes that up-tight people stick up in shared
kitchens: "This kitchen would be much cleaner if everyone did their
share of the washing up"). Everyone who reads it thinks "That's obvious"
and carries on.

I have worked in places where there was a good team mentality, and
communication just seemed to happen naturally. I don't think the situation
here is too far off, but I think it could use some help.

So can anyone offer any practical advice -- preferably tried and tested
-- or any books that might help? (As I hinted above, most of us are
techies and on the cynical side, so nothing involving group hugs or
spending the night on Dartmoor with a bin-bag and a raw potato, thanks.)

Al
...glad to see that the Digest has gone back to a more managable size
now that the Seattle guys have got their pyjama parties sorted out...
Shh! They're coming back. ;-)

--
***********************************************************************
Alison Bloor (alisonb -at- mmtech -dot- co -dot- uk) Phone: +44 (0)1454 313444
Motion Media Technology Ltd. Fax: +44 (0)1454 313678
http://www.mmtech.co.uk/~mmtech
***********************************************************************

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