Many Pies

Many Pies

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sharing information

I'm working on how we share information inside our organisation. Some information is available on our intranet, but it tends to be information about the IT department that people need to know. Using an intranet is a very "IT" thing to do. It occurred to me that in any given organisation, not necessarily ours, that various departments could use various methods:

  • IT create an intranet
  • Maintenance/Facilities Management put a noticeboard on the wall
  • Personnel hold an information sharing meeting
  • Catering hold a meeting in the dining room with free cake
  • Finance put a message on the bottom of a financial statement
  • Marketing/PR create a glossy leaflet and circulate it
  • Fundraising send an up-beat email
  • Legal send a sternly worded email with lots of bold bits
  • Cleaning leave a note on your desk
Of course, the method of sharing should be appropriate to the audience, not the author of the information. What other methods could other departments use?


Ivan Wainewright said...

I just finished working at charity who had a 9:30am Monday morning "update" for all their staff where everyone gathered in the large meeting room and those departments with updates and information just read it out. Or sometimes a few PowerPoint slides. Could last from 5 to 25 minutes.

This worked really well and was a really good way to get such updates for anything from fundraising to HR. Usually about 50-80 people there so effective for that size org. They also had similar meetings at the same time in their regional offices.

Calvin said...

we talk to each other!!

radical and soooooo 80's

Paul Morriss said...

That's interesting, Ivan. We have a weekly meeting too, but the information shared is not always about what's happening locally, but what's happening in other countries (as we're a part of a family of charities operating in many countries). Not everyone goes though, so we can't rely on it for sharing things that people need to know.

tim bulkeley said...

Most information sharing and idea generation where I work takes place in the staff room over coffee or lunch.

We have formal means, including meetings but they are mainly occasions when the people with clearly defined roles inform others about what they are thinking and doing.

Paul Morriss said...

We have similar informal discussions, but one reason for not relying on those for sharing information is that some people are too busy to take breaks. Do you have that Tim?

tim bulkeley said...

Like so many things the answer is yes and no. A combination of a country so small there is a slower pace of life, and social pressure together with (as you point out) the risk of missing something ;) cures people of the belief that their work will disappear faster if they do not take breaks!

Those breaks are also vital for keeping communication running well between teaching and admin staff...

But I'm sure this only works in smaller groups, for big organisations "meetings" are an unavoidable consequence of size. Big is not always better.