Management

Creating An Internal Communications Strategy: The Blueprint to Success

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Creating An Internal Communications Strategy: The Blueprint to Success
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Creating An Internal Communications Strategy: The Blueprint to Success

In order to achieve success in any field, one must have a plan. The same is true for internal communications – without a strategy, your organization will flounder and fail to reach its full potential.

So, what is an internal communication strategy?

In short, it is a blueprint for success that defines your business goals and outlines the specific activities needed to achieve them. Your communication tactics are vitally important for organizations of all sizes. They can benefit everyone, from the CEO down to the newest employee.

What many companies don’t realize is that effective internal communication is just as important – if not more so – than external communication. After all, it’s the internal communications strategy that ensures all employees are on the same page and working towards the same goals.

In this article, we will discuss why an internal communication strategy is essential, who benefits from it, and how you can go about creating one for your own business.

Why An Internal Communications Strategy Is Important

Why An Internal Communications Strategy Is Important

Internal communication is a vital part of any organization, yet it’s often overlooked. A good internal communication strategy ensures that all employees are aware of the company’s goals and objectives. It helps build morale by fostering a sense of teamwork.

Additionally, effective internal communications can improve employee productivity and reduce staff turnover. Your people need to be able to talk to each other effectively if there is going to be good synergy between teams.

Different departments often don’t have the benefit of being right next to each other in the office, especially if you include remote working in your company culture. People can’t just pop over and get a quick answer to a question.

They need to rely on technology to facilitate communication, but this can come with some issues if it’s not managed correctly. Creating standard processes and expectations ensures that internal communication remains fluid, accessible, and valuable to everyone.

Who Benefits From Better Internal Corporate Communication Strategies?

Simply put, everyone in an organization benefits from better internal corporate communication strategies. This includes the CEO, managers, frontline employees – everyone!

When employees feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves and that their voices are heard, they are more likely to be productive and loyal to the company. On the other hand, when communication is poor or nonexistent, employees can feel isolated and unimportant, leading to high turnover rates.

Good internal communication is also essential for building a strong company culture. Your employees need to feel like they are part of something special – that they are valued members of the team. If they don’t, they will quickly become disengaged and look for opportunities elsewhere.

What Happens Without A Communication Strategy?

What Happens Without A Communication Strategy?

The consequences of not having an internal communication strategy can be dire. Inefficient or nonexistent communication leads to confusion, frustration, and ultimately, a loss of productivity. Additionally, without clear lines of communication, it can be difficult to resolve conflicts or address problems in a timely manner.

In an era where speed is essential, and the competition is only a click away, dysfunctional internal communication can be the death of your business. When you consider how quickly customers or clients expect answers, you begin to understand why your internal systems need to be up to the task.

This is also important for any business’s bottom line. Time is money, and the more time is wasted due to poor internal communication, the bigger bill you are racking up. Your cash is being wasted on things like reworking tasks, wages, inefficient software, and repairing damaged relationships.

What Is Your Current Strategy?

If you’re unsure where to start, the first step is to evaluate your current communication strategy. First things first, you need to be able to answer the questions below, which will give you a good baseline to work with.

  • How do your team currently talk to each other?
  • What software, if any, do you use to facilitate communication?
  • How long does it typically take for an email to be answered?
  • Do requests need to go through different departments and people?
  • What are the current strengths and weaknesses?
  • How does it compare with the goals of your organization?
  • How does formal and informal communication differ?
  • How many meetings take place in your office?

Once you have a better understanding of what’s working and what needs improvement, you can begin to develop specific tactics that will address those areas. It’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution – your strategy needs to be tailored to fit your company’s unique needs.

Developing An Internal Communication Strategy

Once you’ve taken stock of how things are currently operating, you can make a plan to target those weak areas and build them up. There are plenty of resources available online that will help you with your internal communication strategy and overall productivity.

There are several key steps in developing an effective internal communications strategy:

Define Your Goals

Define Your Goals

Before you can start planning, you need to define what it is you want to achieve with your internal communication strategy. What are your business goals? Do you want to improve employee retention rates, increase productivity, or build a better company culture?

Once you have a good understanding of what you’re aiming for, you can begin to develop specific tactics that will help get you there.

Create A Communication Plan

This is where the rubber hits the road – once you have defined your goals, it’s time to put together a plan on how to achieve them. This should include timelines and specific steps that will be taken along the way. It’s important to be realistic in setting expectations and make sure everyone involved knows what they need to do and when.

Make sure to also identify who will be responsible for each step of the process so there is clear accountability. Implementing a communication plan can be tricky, but it can be a great success with careful planning and execution.

Draft Company Expectations for Communication

Draft Company Expectations for Communication

It’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to communication. This means setting clear expectations for how employees should communicate with each other, customers, and clients.

Some things you may want to consider are:

How often should team members check-in?

Ideally, team members should check in with their managers on a regular basis – perhaps daily or every other day. This allows both manager and employee to stay on top of tasks and priorities. It helps to keep everyone involved on the same level of understanding.

Checking in frequently also helps to build better working relationships and keeps communication open.

What is the acceptable response time for emails and other messages?

In general, it’s best to aim for a response within 24 hours. However, this may vary depending on the situation and urgency of the request. If sending emails, label them as important to the receiving party knows to get back to you ASAP.

It’s essential to set realistic expectations for response times so that employees are not left feeling frustrated or ignored.

How do you handle confidential information?

This is an important one – especially in the age of data breaches and cyber-attacks. Make sure you have a clear policy in place for handling confidential information and ensure that all employees are aware of it.

What is the preferred method of communication – email, phone, in person?

Some people prefer to communicate by email. Others prefer a phone call. And then there are those who would rather talk in person. It’s important to find out what your employees prefer and make accommodations accordingly.

Keep in mind that some methods of communication are better suited for certain situations than others. Email may be the best option for sending a document or requesting information. At the same time, a phone call might be better for getting instant advice.

When is it appropriate to escalate a problem?

No one likes to be constantly bombarded with problems. Still, at the same time, it’s important to have a clear understanding of when an issue should be escalated. Perhaps a problem is not getting resolved after several attempts, or it’s becoming clear that the original solution will not work.

In these cases, it’s crucial to have a process in place for escalating issues. This could involve reaching out to a supervisor or manager or contacting customer service.

Make sure employees know who to contact and what the process is for escalating a problem. This will help ensure that issues are dealt with in a timely matter, and there are no delays.

What is the company policy on social media?

In the age of social media, it’s necessary to have a clear policy in place for how employees should interact with clients and customers. This could include guidelines for what is and is not acceptable to post or how to handle negative comments.

It’s also a good idea to have a plan in place for responding to a social media crisis.

Employees should be aware of the company policy on social media and be sure to follow it when interacting with clients and customers.

What can be answered by the knowledge base?

What can be answered by the knowledge base?

The knowledge base is an excellent resource for employees who have questions or need information. It can be used to find answers to frequently asked questions or to find out how to do something specific.

The knowledge base should be updated regularly, and employees should be encouraged to contribute articles or suggestions.

When in doubt, the knowledge base should be the first place employees look for answers. It plays a key role in your internal communication strategies and tactics and removes the need for many unnecessary questions.

How often should meetings be held?

This will depend on the size of your company and the type of business you’re in. However, it’s generally a good idea to hold regular meetings so that employees can stay up to date on what’s going on.

Be careful not to go overboard. However, too many meetings can be detrimental to productivity. Meetings should always be necessary, only involve vital people, and not overrun.

Meetings can be used to update employees on company news, discuss new products or services, or provide training. They can also be used to give employees a chance to voice their concerns or ask questions.

How do informal and formal communication channels differ?

Formal communication channels are those that are officially recognized by the company, such as email, memos, or company newsletters. If you use messaging software, you’ll need to designate professional workspaces for things like news, communication between teams, and announcements.

Informal communication channels are the ones that are not officially recognized by the company, such as social media, chat rooms, or face-to-face conversations. They are often used for more personal interactions or for sharing information that doesn’t need to be highly formalized.

Creating social workspaces within your messaging software is a good idea, particularly when you have remote employees. It helps to foster a healthy and necessary social aspect to the job.

Make the Business Hierarchy Known

Make the Business Hierarchy Known

Communication needs to happen fluidly up and down the chain. What can easily gunk up the works is when employees aren’t sure who they’re supposed to be reporting to. If a member of staff has an issue, should they take it to their supervisor, manager, or HR?

What if the person they usually report to is away from the office? Do they speak with a different manager or their boss’ boss?

Everyone in the company must know who they’re supposed to be reporting to. As well as what the process is for when that person is unavailable. This will help to ensure that communication flows smoothly and no one falls through the cracks.

Be transparent with the hierarchy, and document how communication should flow through the chain. This should be included within your employee handbook, during onboarding, and reinforced with yearly training.

Create A Communication Continuity Plan

In the event of an emergency, it’s important to have a communication continuity plan in place. This will ensure that everyone knows what to do and who to contact.

Your plan should include things like who will be responsible for updating employees on the situation, how the information will be disseminated, and what resources are available.

It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case your primary method of communication fails. For example, suppose you typically use email to communicate with employees. In that case, you should have a text messaging system in place as well.

Communication is key during times of crisis, and your continuity plan will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you have multiple offices, make sure they know how to contact each other when one office goes dark.

Measure Results & Adjust Accordingly

Measure Results & Adjust Accordingly

The only way to know if your internal communication strategy is working is to track progress and measure results. This allows you to course-correct as needed and make necessary adjustments along the way.

It’s essential to have open lines of communication within your organization. Hence, everyone knows what’s going on and feels like they are part of the process. If you’re unsure where to start, consider conducting a survey or holding focus groups.

An easy way to get advice from your employees about communication is to send out an anonymous survey. Give them the freedom to speak openly and make suggestions on how things can be improved. The first people to know when something isn’t working are the boots on the ground.

Consider asking them questions such as:

  • How do you feel about the current state of communication within the company?
  • Do you feel like you have the information you need to do your job effectively?
  • What type of communication do you prefer (email, text, face-to-face)?
  • How often would you like to receive updates?
  • What methods do you find most effective for communicating with co-workers?

Be prepared to make changes based on the feedback you receive.

Internal Communication Plan Examples

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of creating an internal communication strategy, let’s look at a few examples.

Example 1: Corporate merger

Your company is going through a merger, and you need to communicate the changes to your employees.

You’ll want to start by defining your goals and objectives. What do you hope to achieve by communicating with employees? You’ll need to make sure staff know what to expect in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Will there be any disruptions to payroll? Are there likely to be layoffs? Who can your people go to if they have any questions?

You’ll want to develop a communication plan that can anticipate these kinds of questions. A merger is an exciting but unsettling time. Staff is bound to want answers, and if they aren’t forthcoming, it can affect productivity.

Example 2: The Company is Shutting Down

In this example, your goal might be to provide employees with information about their severance package and help them transition into their next job.

Your communication plan would include employee FAQs, contact information for outplacement services, and a timeline of events.

Your messaging would need to be clear and concise yet compassionate. Make sure you distribute this information through the appropriate channels, such as company email, company website, or an employee intranet site.

Example 3: Newsletter

Your goal might be to keep employees up-to-date on company news and events.

Your communication plan would include developing an editorial calendar, writing articles, and gathering photos. You’ll also want to decide how often the newsletter will be distributed (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) and what format it will take (email, PDF, intranet).

Your messaging should be informative and engaging. You’ll want to make sure you include a mix of company news, employee profiles, and upcoming events.

Example 4: New Job Openings

Your goal might be to increase retention by letting them know about new job opportunities within the company. If you hire internally, you need to make sure that your people know what opportunities are available.

The communication strategy would include things like developing a process for posting job openings, writing job descriptions, and gathering applications. The person in charge of this role will need to decide how to distribute this information (email, intranet, bulletin board).

Example 5: Employee Recognition

Your goal might be to increase employee morale by recognizing their achievements.

Your communication plan would include:

  • Developing a process for nominating employees.
  • Writing recognition articles.
  • Asking for photos of the employees being featured.

Post these articles in a way that can be easily found by the rest of the business.

Recognizing employees is a great way to show your appreciation and let them know that their hard work is noticed. To make this an extra mile, arrange for a member of the C-Suite to get in touch and personally thank exemplary employees.

Example 6: Corporate Social Responsibility

Your goal might be to increase employee engagement by letting them know about its social responsibility initiatives.

The tactics for internal communication would include:

  • Developing a process for announcing new initiatives.
  • Writing articles about the projects the business is involved in.
  • Take photos of employees in action.

Give staff something to be proud of and talk to their family and friends about. When you share this information internally, make sure everyone can see how your actions are benefiting the local community.

Ask your staff to get involved and suggest new initiatives that the business can get involved with.

Internal Communication Software You Need

Internal Communication Software You Need

Internal communication software makes things a lot easier. It helps to keep everyone on the same page and allows for open communication between employees. This type of software can help prevent miscommunication and ensure that everyone has the information to do their job effectively.

There are a variety of different internal communication software programs available, and it’s essential to find one that fits your company’s needs. Some programs allow for file sharing, while others are more geared towards messaging.

It’s important to find programs that are easy to use and that employees will actually use. If the program is too complicated or employees feel like they don’t need it, it will likely go unused.

The best way to determine if a program is right for your company is to try it out. Many software programs offer free trials, so you can test them out before making a commitment.

Here are some types of communication you may need for your business:

Email Client

A program like Microsoft Outlook or Gmail can be used for internal communication. This type of software is suitable for sending messages to individual employees or groups of employees.

File Sharing

If you need to share files internally, you’ll need a file-sharing program like Google Drive or Dropbox. This type of software makes it easy to share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with employees.

Messaging

If you need to send messages to a large number of employees, or if you want employees to be able to have a conversation with each other, you’ll need a messaging program like Slack or Microsoft Teams. These programs make it easy for employees to communicate with each other and can be used for both personal and work-related conversations.

Video Messaging

If you need to have a video meeting with employees, you’ll need a program like Skype or Zoom. These programs make it easy to have face-to-face meetings with employees, no matter where they are located. Some instant messaging applications have this built-in, so consider the best option for you.

Email Campaigns

If you want to send a message to all of your employees, or if you’re going to announce a new policy, you’ll need an email campaign tool like MailChimp. This type of software makes it easy to create beautiful emails that will grab employees’ attention.

Knowledge Base

If you want to create a knowledge base for your employees, you’ll need a program like Confluence or Notion. This type of software makes it easy to create a central location for all your company’s information. Employees can easily search for the information they need and add their own knowledge to the database.

Project Management Tool

The lifeblood of your internal communication strategy should be a good project management tool. This is where your team can come together to work, even remotely. For this, you should use the Teamly tool, which has been designed to make managing projects as simple as possible.

Your team will be able to check-in with each other, monitor progress, and collaborate.

Internal Communication Strategy Best Practices

Internal Communication Strategy Best Practices

Some general best practices should be followed when developing an internal communications strategy:

Assign key individuals to head up your internal corporate communication strategy

When creating your internal communication strategy, it’s crucial to assign key individuals to head up different parts of communication. This helps ensure that all aspects of communication are covered and that everyone knows who is responsible for what.

Some of the key positions you’ll want to fill include:

Job Postings: The individual responsible for posting jobs and managing the recruitment process should have a clear understanding of the company’s communication strategy to ensure those job ads reflect this.

Newsletters: The person in charge of creating and sending out company newsletters should have a good understanding of the target audience and what type of content will be most relevant and engaging.

Events: The person organizing company events should have a clear vision for the event and communicate this effectively to employees.

Company Knowledge Base: The person in charge of the company knowledge base should ensure that all content is up-to-date and accurately reflects the company’s communication strategy.

Make sure the tone of your communication is consistent and positive

One of the most critical aspects of internal communication is maintaining a consistent and positive tone. This helps create a positive work environment and lets employees know that they are valued.

It also helps to build trust between employees and management. Maintaining a positive tone also shows that you’re open to communication and willing to listen to feedback.

Be timely in your delivery

One way to ensure timely communication is to use internal communication software. This allows you to quickly and easily send out messages to all employees or specific groups. Internal communication software also archives all messages, so you can track progress and measure results.

Just like you would want to make sure you return customer queries quickly, you should make sure that internal communication works just as efficiently. When changes are being introduced to the business, everyone should be informed about this.

Use a variety of channels to reach employees

Not everyone learns the same way or likes the same type of communication. Utilize a variety of methods to communicate with employees, such as memos, newsletters, emails, intranet articles, social media posts, group meetings, and one-on-one conversations.

Be sensitive to cultural differences

When communicating with employees who come from different cultures, be aware of the potential differences in how they prefer to receive information. For example, some cultures might place a high value on face-to-face communication, while others might like written communication.

Encourage feedback and two-way dialogue

Employees should feel comfortable giving feedback, and two-way dialogue should be encouraged. This helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the communication strategy is working well.

Respect professional and personal boundaries

When developing an internal communication strategy, it’s important to respect employees’ personal boundaries. This means that employees’ personal contact details should not be used for business matters.

This can be a tricky line to walk. Still, it’s important to remember that employees are not just resources to be used for the company. They are people with families and lives outside of work, and they should be treated with respect.

If there is a need to contact employees outside of work hours, the best way to do this is through email or an internal messaging system. This ensures that all communication is documented and that employees have a record of the message.

Regularly evaluate your internal communication strategy

Like any other business process, your internal corporate communication strategy should be regularly evaluated to ensure it’s still meeting your needs. Adjustments should be made as needed to ensure that communication within the organization is efficient and effective.

Conclusion

An internal communications strategy is essential for any company looking to improve employee productivity, retention rates, and overall morale. It’s easy to believe that your external process is the most important, but any well-oiled machine needs an internal system that can’t be beaten.

There are many factors to consider when developing a strategy, but following these key steps will help you create a plan that works for your business.

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