In the previous 12 months, the world of employment has changed significantly. As a result, it's no surprise that we'll need to adjust our working methods to fit. Many elements of the workplace have been brought to light as a result of the pandemic, and internal communications are one of them.
Effective communication has become increasingly obvious as a necessary component of any organization. As a result, a good internal communication strategy is an important part of your day-to-day operations. Most businesses have protocols in place for communicating with clients, stakeholders, and new hires. When you treat your employee communication plan with the same amount of care, you'll notice a significant increase in engagement.
Companies used to take a set-it-and-forget-it attitude to their internal communications planning in the pre-Covid era. The times, however, have changed. With so many workers working remotely, efficient communication both inside and outside the office has become important. It's becoming increasingly evident that refocusing on genuine connections with your staff has numerous advantages for your business.
We'll look at why it's so crucial to focus on internal communication planning in this article. Then we go over how to build a highly effective internal communication strategy that will yield measurable outcomes in today's company climate, the five most important questions to ask, and the five most common internal communication mistakes to avoid.
What exactly is an internal communication plan, and why is it so important in today's business world? An effective strategy will clearly outline your business goals in terms of employee communication, as well as the activities that will be required to attain these goals. In an essence, it's a road map for achieving success in internal communications.
The advantages of effective internal communication are numerous and varied. Employee loyalty, motivation, and productivity are all assured when a robust employee engagement communication plan is in place.
The critical issue of remote working must be addressed in your updated employee communication plan. Employees are craving communication more than ever before, according to Harvard Business Review research. When it comes to the epidemic, over 90 percent of employees desire at least weekly communication from their employer, and 29 percent want daily communication. You'll regain control of your internal communication process by guaranteeing that even the most difficult-to-reach staff are connected.
Internal communication, on the other hand, might have a significant detrimental impact on your company. It can result in low morale, ambiguity, and decreased productivity and profits. Finally, it can have a negative impact on your bottom line. In fact, according to a Towers Watson analysis, organizations that communicate ineffectively are 50 percent more likely to have lower-than-average turnover.
If you want to increase internal communication, you should start by developing a clear internal communication strategy and action plan. Take a step back and ask yourself these five crucial questions before you begin. The answers to these questions will serve as the bedrock of your strategy and position you for success.
What is the overall purpose of your company or project? Have you decided what kind of value you'll bring to the table?
You must establish your end goal in order to get the most out of your internal communication planning. Every firm will be different in this regard. Staff retention will be a priority for certain firms, while productivity will be a priority for others. You may be dealing with the thorny subject of communicating change or interacting with remote workers as a result of the pandemic. If that's the case, this should be a top priority in your plan.
To identify your main target, you may need to discuss various points of view with various stakeholders until you reach a consensus on a single purpose. This isn't usually a stage where you're alone. The remainder of your plan will come into place much more quickly once you have strong, unambiguous objectives in mind.
Key point: There's no purpose in communicating if you can't pinpoint what you want to change as a result of it.
Number: 2 Who?
What is the main audience for this communication? As a result, what do you want people to do differently?
Never lose sight of whom your communications are intended for. What can you do to make it more relevant to your target market? Your employees already have a lot on their minds, from the minutiae of the task at hand to worries about the future of their employment, to personal affairs and concerns. Internal communications' job is to cut through the clutter and get your message heard.
You must first identify your audience and what content they will find fascinating and important in order to capture and maintain their attention. It can be helpful to segment the audience into particular groups, for example:
What exactly are you asking people to participate in? Why should they care, anyway?
Start by ignoring the little details and focusing on the primary concept you want employees to grasp and be inspired by. When putting together your internal communication plans, you must be very clear on the core point.
You must also consider the question of why should I care? Everything you say will be filtered through the eyes of your employees. Consider the following scenario:
1.Will I still be employed at the conclusion of this?
2.Will I have to alter my working style?
3.Is this simply another amazing HQ idea that never materializes?
If you've previously honed down on key outcomes that will pique their attention, your employee communication plan will be more effective. Consider coming up with some creative internal communication ideas to energies them. Their job should, in theory, become easier and more fun. On the other hand, it's critical to acknowledge that certain interactions will be without a silver lining. Expect to be unable to find a silver lining in every situation.
Key point: Try putting the Know-Feel-Do method into action:
Will your timing be overshadowed by other messages or events? Are you adhering to a regular communication schedule?
It's all about the timing. Make sure your time doesn't interfere with any major news events scheduled in the company's calendar. When it comes to delicate announcements like job losses, timing is equally crucial. There's a narrow line to be drawn between declaring too soon with inadequate information and waiting until the rumor mill has gone into overdrive.
Another thing to think about is the speed with which your internal communications are delivered. Maintaining a regular, scheduled, and consistent pace of messaging is an internal communications best practice. This is especially important for distant workers who don't have the opportunity to meet up with their bosses and coworkers on a regular basis. When your communications become sporadic, you'll notice a drop in employee engagement as they feel forgotten and ignored.
Key point: An internal communication application will provide you the tools you need to arrange timely messages and provide your employees with a consistent stream of information.
Which channel is best for the content you're creating and the audience you're targeting?
It's crucial to remember that how a message is delivered is just as essential as the message itself. The channel you choose will be a critical aspect in developing your internal communication strategy and action plan.
When faced with a large number of internal communication channels to choose from, it's important to think about which one will best engage your employees. Will they reply to an email sent to the entire organization, a social media blast, or a daily news feed? Your best bet is to offer a variety of channels to enable a more personalized experience and to break down any barriers that may exist.
When it comes to choosing successful internal communication tools, keep in mind that you're searching for a technique to facilitate crucial two-way communication. Rather than simply giving information, you should provide your employees, both in the office and remotely, the opportunity to engage and respond.
Key point: An employee app provides a variety of channels and tools for optimal involvement, as well as a two-way communication flow.
The five most common mistakes to prevent
Now that you've figured out the answers to those five crucial questions, you're ready to start putting together your internal communication strategy. However, there are five frequent internal communication blunders you should avoid when you plan your strategy.
Don't simply assume that your employee engagement communication strategy is effective. Keep a close eye on it. Internal communication metrics are at the heart of all successful strategies.
Examine whether your internal communication plans are delivering on the priorities you defined by asking, "Why?"
Try this: Internal communication software makes things a whole lot easier. It will continuously evaluate the success of your staff communications thanks to the built-in reporting.
Multiple or complex messages are difficult to absorb, so keep it simple. Employees often have significantly less comprehension than the management team realizes, which is a terrible reality. According to a recent IBM survey, 44 percent of employees believe managers do not convey clear information about the company's vision, and 72 percent believe they do not fully comprehend the company's strategy.
Try this: Make sure your communications are delivered in proper language and through acceptable channels. When creating communications, keep your audience in mind.
Number: 8 Irregularity
One classic mistake is to send all of your messages in one large information blast, then put messaging on hold for a bit. Your employees' engagement will suffer as a result of this stop-start approach. Staff will stay connected and motivated if they receive a regular stream of news, updates, recommendations, and surveys.
Keep a close eye on your workforce's pulse. Senior management can easily become estranged from their staff, resulting in a failure to communicate effectively. With a remote staff, this is even more of a worry. By interacting with and listening to your employees, you may have a better understanding of the day-to-day realities of their jobs.
Try this: Spend time talking to and listening to staff to learn how your company operates from their point of view.
Try to stay away from the dreaded "me, me, me" trap. Undoubtedly, you want internal communications to be a high priority for your employees, but that can't always be the case. When composing your messages, remember to consider their other projects and duties. Look for ways to stand out from the crowd and be heard.
Try this: You may tailor your messaging to your employees' goals and preferences using an employee app.
Why should you utilize a canvas for internal communications?
When creating an internal communications plan, it might be difficult to know where to begin. A canvas can come in handy in this situation. It will assist you in visualizing your strategy and gaining a better understanding of your plans.
What exactly is a canvas? It's a diagram that depicts your present business requirements in broad strokes. It aids in the selection and improvement of internal communication channels, the identification of risks and problems, and the identification of areas for improvement. You'll be able to construct a comprehensive plan that covers all bases with the use of a canvas. It will ensure that you cover all elements of the business, communicate with every employee, fulfill your goals, and assess the effectiveness of your strategy.