You’ve landed a new client. A team member resigns. A change to your product or service line is about to be announced publicly. Every day something happens around your business that should be shared with the people in your company.
We recently wrote about the benefits of internal communications. If you are in the process of developing a strategic plan for your company but are struggling with how to implement it, here are eight ideas for you to consider. Lawrence & Schiller has developed and successfully used these tactics over the past decade. Hopefully they provide inspiration as you brainstorm ideas for your company.
1. Boot UpEvery Monday morning the entire L&S staff comes together for a 15-minute kick-off to the new week. CEO Scott Lawrence shares company updates, each team delivers a quick report, new campaigns are previewed, birthdays and anniversaries are recognized, and shout-outs are given to individuals who’ve delivered 5280 efforts during the previous week. Teammates who work remotely join via Go To Meeting. A video recording is saved on our local network for employees who miss the meeting.
2. Status MeetingsOnce or twice a week, each client team meets for 30 minutes or less to discuss the week’s projects. Requirements, progress and timelines are reviewed. If anyone has questions, needs help or has capacity to share, this is the time to let it be known.
3. Team MeetingsEvery week our client teams meet to discuss progress toward annual goals. Industry and financial updates are shared along with ideas on improving internal operations and client relationships. In the words of the late, great business consultant Jack Lee, “…status meetings are hygiene, like brushing your teeth every day. Team meetings are about health, like going to the doctor for a check-up.”
4. Discipline MeetingsAt Lawrence & Schiller, “discipline” refers to individual areas of expertise: creative, consumer insights, media, digital, public relations, video production, account service and finance. Most disciplines meet every week for ongoing professional development, sharing updates and best practices in their specific areas of expertise.
5. Function ForumsOngoing education is a top priority at Lawrence & Schiller. Once a month most disciplines will hold hour-long sessions (sometimes over lunch) that dive deep into a particular topic. If the content is relevant across multiple disciplines, the entire agency is invited. Other times, when the information is more technical, only that particular discipline will attend.
6. Team Leader MeetingsEach team has an appointed leader who directs status and team meetings, facilitates team communications and guides annual planning. They also meet with members of senior leadership on a regular basis. The purpose of these meetings is posted at the top of each month’s agenda: “Share Best Practices and Anticipate Issues That Could Hinder Team Performance.” Enough said.
7. Quarterly Staff MeetingsFour times a year, L&S closes the office and gathers everyone together for a time of education, inspiration and recognition. John Pohlman, executive vice president and creative director, leads the way with a light-hearted call to action. New employees are introduced through a game we call “Two Truths and a Lie.” Each team showcases a key project (along with the lessons learned from it). Awards are presented to an employee who’s been voted the Marketing and Advertising Professional (MAP) of the quarter and one team that has gone the Extra Mile on a client’s campaign. The meeting wraps with an update from Scott Lawrence.
8. Annual Team PresentationsEach September, the agency shares its strategic plan and overall financial goals for the coming year with our staff. Based on those guidelines, teams prepare their own annual plans and present them in November to the Executive Team. Ideas for professional development, increased operational efficiency and improved client relationships are detailed. Teams outline needs for additional resources and staffing at this time and make the business case to support the requests. The annual team presentations take a lot of time and energy. We expect them to be informative, entertaining and the quality of a pitch we’d make to a client or prospect. In the end, teams and agency leadership are on the same page as we move into a new year.
Based on your strategy and goals, the number of employees involved and where they’re located, some of these tactics will be more applicable than others. At the very least, we hope they spark ideas as you work to put your company’s internal communication plan into action.
If you have a tactic or tool that’s been especially effective, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below or email it to PR@l-s.com.