Australian Government,  Blog post,  Communications professional,  Leadership,  Team performance

The #1 way to make your communications team more efficient

In communications, we never have enough resources, time, or capacity to deliver everything that is asked of us or to meet our own expectations. It means we need to be efficient in how we operate.

To be efficient, we need. Wait for it. You know what I am going to say….


We all hate them. How boring. Who has time to write processes on a busy day?

We hear it all of the time when we are doing reviews.

  • “We just don’t have time to write them.”
  • “We are too busy doing the doing to write down how to do it.”
  • “It’s on our to do list for January [in March].”

I’ve got bad news. Processes are the number one way our teams can be more efficient. What a boring answer!

To be more efficient, we need to systemise those tasks that take up our time. We don’t need a 20 page SOP for every single thing we do, but we need it for two things:

  1. those repeatable, grindings, everyday tasks
  2. the tasks we do so rarely that it’s like learning a new skill, every single time.

You might be thinking, we have better things to do with our time. We don’t need processes, it’s fine. This blog isn’t for me. But stick with me!

Why do we need processes?

Here are the five reasons you need to move “update our processes” off your to do list and into reality.

  1. Consistency: Processes help you maintain consistency. This means you do things and produce stuff the same way every time. Think about creating social tiles for standard updates, internal newsletter layout, written style guides, or approvals—create processes, guides, and tools that help your team and others in the organisation do things the same way each time.
  2. Time management: Good processes create a better workflow, eliminate procrastination, and ensure everyone is engaged at the right time. This is particularly important in balancing routine or mundane tasks with deadlines and urgent requests.
  3. Support each other: Processes mean your team can better support each other. You know that day when your one media officer calls in sick or the web team has a huge publishing job with a tight deadline? Processes mean others in the team can jump in to help. It also means when a new person starts, you don’t have to sit with them to show them every possible task they may need to undertake.
  4. Less conflict: Processes create clear roles, responsibilities, and expectations, which help prevent misunderstandings and ensures everyone is on the same page.
  5. Efficient: Processes mean that you don’t have to guess every time. You don’t miss a step and have to start again. You don’t have to ask a colleague to show you how to do something or wait until that one person in the team who knows how to do this thing is free. You stop putting off that task because you can’t remember how to do it. You get the picture.

Here is the sneaky trick

We thought we would let you in on a secret to make process development more efficient. We work across many communication teams, and there is one thing that we have seen that would make processes feel less hard and time consuming for everyone.

So, here it is, our sneaky trick. You ready…

Don’t write a process. Someone else has already done it.

If you are in government, I guarantee another department already has a social media monitoring process, an internal newsletter process, and a “no, you can’t have your own logo” process. 

You are not the first one to do this. Your approvals or internal steps might differ slightly but do not reinvent the wheel. That’s when we find it too hard – trying to write a process on a blank sheet of paper.

Beg, borrow and steal.

Here is how you do it:

  • Reach out to others you know in different departments and ask if they have a process that they could share. You will be surprised how generous people will be.
  • Google – there is more available online from organisations like the UK Government Communications Service and NSW Government than you think.
  • Ask an AI tool. While you may not get a perfect process, you will get enough to make it easier to start.
  • Ask a [friendly] consultant – At Elm, we want all communications teams to be able to focus on the work they love and adding value to your organisation, and I know others do too. So find a few consultants that you can trust and ask them what they have or check their websites. Like us, heaps of consultants publish free resources online.

Be efficient in becoming efficient. Go on, do it. Have a process challenge in your team – everyone has to pull together one process by the end of next week—just one. Before you know it, you will have a bank of processes ready to go.

Just make sure you save them somewhere everyone can find them!

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