Manager hosting video meeting

Communicators work hard to create a variety of communication channels. But too often, these channels simply push information and lack opportunities for meaningful interaction.

Pushing information—sending an email, putting up a poster or distributing a weekly newsletter—does a good job of building awareness of key topics. But it doesn’t build deep knowledge and inspire action or new behaviors. That’s when dialogue and interaction are required.

Ensure your communication system (your collection of communication channels) does both: provides useful information and empowers employees to participate.

Follow these three steps to foster two-way communication:


Refresh existing channels
Take time to evaluate your current communication system by listing each channel and identifying which offers two-way communication. Next, brainstorm ways to incorporate interactive elements into existing channels.

Here’s how:
  • Add a poll to social media platforms, portals and meeting agendas  
  • Include an email address in your newsletter or on your intranet to solicit feedback or questions
  • Add tools to gather questions and ask for feedback—from customized intranet pages to off-the-shelf apps (for example, Pigeonhole) 

Launch new channels
Look for gaps in your communication system and develop ways to close those gaps. Answer the following questions:

  • Can employees interact with leaders?
  • Can employees ask questions?
  • Can employees share ideas and input?
  • Can employees collaborate/solve a challenge together?
Here’s how:
  • Host virtual coffee chats that provide opportunities for employees to discuss topics with leaders
  • Coordinate open door/office hours with managers or departments such as HR, so employees can get questions answered
  • Facilitate breakout sessions at meetings: Ask employees to solve a problem 

Act on feedback
What you do with the questions, ideas and input speaks volumes to employees. As you launch channels that encourage dialogue, incorporate methods to respond to feedback. 

Here’s how:
  • Track questions, ideas and input for each channel; analyze the data and develop recommendations
  • Share results and actions in existing channels, such as Town Halls, leader messages and newsletters