How to write an internal communications strategy
How to write an internal communications strategy
Effective communication with employees is an all-important part of business operations. A good internal communications strategy keep teams and individuals engaged and motivated, which is essential for staff productivity and retention.
Having a well thought out strategy will help your internal communications run smoothly, avoiding confusion and the spread of misinformation. Developing an internal communications strategy should be a priority for novices and veterans alike – even those with well-established internal communications in place should review and plan ahead every year.
Read on for expert internal communications strategy advice from 20/20 Productions.
What’s going on?
Take a look at your current communications activity. What are you already doing to keep your team up to date with important information? Write a list and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. You might for example already be sending out regular email updates, but not seeing a high open rate. Are there alternative methods of communication that might be better suited to your team?
Even if you’re starting out entirely from scratch, evaluating current practices is a step you can take, as you almost definitely communicate with those inside your organisation, even if the process has yet to be formalised. Do you send out sporadic emails, use a memo board or even rely on word of mouth? Think about your current internal communications strategy, and consider which parts work, and which don’t.
Know your audience
Who are you speaking to? When it comes to your internal communications strategy, make sure you have a good understanding of who your employees are and which methods of communication would work best for them. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in terms of age, although you may find similarity in preferences within certain age demographics.
If you don’t know this already, ask them how they want to be communicated.
Knowing your audience and how best to communicate to them is an important part of internal communications planning.
Set goals and indicators
Decide what is going to determine whether your internal communications are successful before you forge ahead with your strategy. There is no one right way of doing internal communications – each company has different needs, so what will indicate whether things are going well or not?
A good idea is to set goals to measure results. For example, if there is a low click rate on email newsletters, a good goal would be to increase the click rate by 30% by the end of the year. If you set a target, you’ll have a much clearer indication of how your communication methods are performing. If you meet your target or close, that shows that something’s working. If you fail to reach your goal, this is useful information too, as it shows that something in the way you communicate is amiss, and will need to be re-examined.
Get dates in the diary
Generally, you’ll be aware of important dates in advance, or know generally when significant changes or events will occur within your company. You should plan the messaging around these key dates well in advance. Do you have a new client, a new process or an upcoming merger on the horizon? Plan how you will pass this information on to your employees with plenty of notice.
For significant changes, you may even want to stagger the information you’re communicating to employees in stages to avoid undue shock or panic. You’ll need to have thought this through in advance to do this effectively. During periods of change, the worst kind of communication is no communication, so make sure you’ve planned, to avoid causing a wave of misinformation.
Set your budget
How much money do you have at your disposal for putting your internal communications strategy in to place? Big ideas don’t always need big budgets, but you do need to be realistic with what you’re proposing.
Whatever the budget, spend it wisely. Don’t throw money at an idea that you’re not sure will work or your employees aren’t interested in. Internal communications doesn’t have to cost the earth, and often it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
Create the plan
How to put together the plan is entirely up to you. Some companies will compile a word document outlining their plans, others will design a presentation to then present to the team.
As long as it has all the required information to implement the great ideas, it really doesn’t matter what the internal communications strategy looks like!
Show it off!
Start as you mean to go on. Communicate your internal communications strategy! Tell your team how you plan on communication going forward. Listen to feedback about your plans, but have confidence in them unless you feel your team have identified issues that are immediate causes for concern. Commit to your strategy – changes can be made to your plan after you’ve had enough time to monitor results. Read more about how to measure the success of your internal communications strategy.
Time spent planning your internal communications is one of the most important stages. Inconsistency can cause frustration, making teams feel disengaged and demotivated – exactly what good internal communications are supposed to avoid. For this reason, you should never proceed without proper preparation. Whatever communication methods you decide upon, keep them consistent, and embrace the opportunity to learn from the outcomes, positive and negative. That way, when it comes to the next round of planning for the year ahead, you’ll have a solid foundation to build upon.
If you’d like to work with a team who can help you deliver effective, creative and engaging internal communications solutions, get in touch with 20/20 Productions.