A well-crafted internal communication strategy keeps employees engaged and informed. It ensures transparency and helps build a solid and inclusive corporate culture. However, many businesses don’t have a defined internal communication strategy. Instead, they disseminate messages in an unorganized fashion, leading to miscommunication and confusion. With that, what are the solutions that companies can look into to improve internal communication?
What Is Internal Communication?
Internal communication is an organized and defined flow of communication within an organization. It involves formulating messages and delivering them to the right people through the most effective channels, whether on behalf of the management, departments, or individuals. A good internal communication strategy ensures operational stability, regardless of external factors that may negatively affect the company.
How an organization manages its internal communication directly impacts employee engagement, productivity, company culture, teamwork, and crisis response.
Creating an Effective Internal Communications Strategy
In a distributed workforce with a growing number of external partners involved in company operations (e.g., freelancers, suppliers), traditional top-down communication ceases to be effective. There needs to be more transparency and inclusion in communication to increase involvement and information distribution among staff and beyond.
The key elements of a good internal communication strategy are:
- Treat internal communication as a conversation with your employees
- When crafting messages, take into account the multi-generational preferences of communication styles.
- Give your employees easy access to different communication channels.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial on creating an effective internal communication strategy.
Analyze Existing Communication Strategy
By objectively assessing your current internal communication, you’ll create a new strategy that builds on what’s already working and eliminates any weak spots.
Answer these questions:
- How is your current strategy performing? What’s the feedback you’re receiving from your employees?
- How do you think your internal communication contributes to your company culture? Does it reflect your company’s core values?
- How do you connect with your employees? Do you have designated software and channels for communication?
- Are there any metrics you’re analyzing to check the performance? What is the effectiveness and reach of various communication channels?
- Who manages your internal communication? Is it possible the team is too small?
If you’re struggling with answering these questions, you can send a survey to your employees asking for honest feedback and suggestions on what they think could be improved. Remember, asking employees for their insight is the foundation of good internal communication.
Define Your Objectives, Goals, and Timelines
This step focuses on the goals and objectives you want to achieve through your internal communication strategy.
- Do you want to shape and nurture company culture?
- Want your employees to be more engaged?
- Would you like to disseminate valuable information to specific departments to facilitate their work?
After defining your goals and objectives, you’ll be able to narrow down what should be improved to achieve them. With goals written down, it’s easier to plan a realistic timeline outlining which processes should be changed and what new to add.
Segment Your Audience
Naturally, to create an inclusive communication environment, you want to reach all of your employees. However, to keep information relevant and prevent information overflow, you have to segment your audiences.
Remember, a good internal communication strategy involves sending the right information to the right audiences. That information has to play two parts: nurture company culture and provide useful information to the receiving team or department.
Choose Communication Tools and Channels
To increase content consumption among employees, use multiple communication channels to immerse employees in internal communication.
Email, so popular among many companies, is only one channel that doesn’t give employees much in terms of interactivity and engagement.
The choice of channels ultimately depends on your goals and company culture. Every tool should have a justified use case. You want to avoid a situation where there are too many tools, and employees are confused about seeking a particular type of information.
Communication channels to consider:
- Social media
- Discussion boards
- Instant messaging apps (e.g., Facebook or Slack)
- Videoconferencing tools (especially to boost engagement among remote staff)
Learn How to Measure the Success of the Strategy
When you’re reaching your audience via numerous channels, you should be tracking the effectiveness of these channels.
Here are some useful metrics to keep an eye on:
- Engagement metrics (i.e., how many people read corporate messages)
- Social shares of company updates
- Social mentions
- Intranet usage
Come Up with a Team
Build a team that controls and manages your internal communication strategy. The team should be responsible for reviewing the content as well as writing and approving it.
It’s good practice to include both the marketing and HR departments in charge of internal communication. A designated internal communication team undoubtedly streamlines the process of disseminating internal messages and decreases bottlenecks.
Regularly Review Your Internal Communication and Its Effectiveness
Send out surveys and actively monitor success metrics to learn which areas can be further improved. Regular evaluation of the internal communication strategy will help you align it better with your employees, letting you achieve your goals.
Improve Internal Communication and Build a Successful Company
Having an internal communication strategy is one of the key elements of successful companies. Build a mindset where employees can voice their concerns while letting them know that they are being heard. Then, identify the most effective channels for simple and complex messages to reduce bottlenecks, create a cohesive company culture, and reach your goals. Remember, building an internal communication strategy is an ongoing process where you refine it based on direct stakeholder feedback.