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Internal Communication Strategy: Benefits, Best Practices and How to Do It

Internal Communication Strategy: Benefits, Best Practices and How to Do It
Internal Communication Strategy: Benefits, Best Practices and How to Do It
Now, in this blog post, we're gonna dive deep into implementing an internal communication strategy in the workplace.

Posted in: Internal communications
Internal Communication Strategy: Benefits, Best Practices and How to Do It
Internal Communication Strategy: Benefits, Best Practices and How to Do It

So, you want to know the secret to successful internal communications, huh? Well, here's the deal: it's all about planning ahead. When it comes to this aspect of business, you can't just wing it. If you don't invest some serious time and thought into your communications, your messages won't hit the mark. That's why every organization needs a carefully crafted strategy to connect with its employees.

Now, pay close attention because this is crucial. Your internal comms strategy becomes even more vital when times get tough. When you're facing challenges and need every employee on board, effective internal communication is key. 

And let's not forget about the impact of change on office staff. The new hybrid work patterns have turned the traditional office upside down. Adjusting to this new way of working requires careful navigation. If you mess it up, morale will take a nosedive.

Your internal communications strategy can either make or break your company. If it's working well, your employees will be ready to roll with the punches and adapt to shifting goals and requirements. But if it's ineffective, you'll face resistance and fear. That's why you need strategic internal communications to overcome resistance to change and new ways of working.

Now, in this blog post, we're gonna dive deep into implementing an internal communication strategy template. 

We'll explore the structure and objectives of a successful strategy, and we'll give you the lowdown on what to do and what to avoid when putting your plans into action. We'll also break down the essential elements of Internal communication strategy model to ensure you're on the right track for success.

Developing an internal communication strategy

Internal Communication Strategy

The key to a top-notch internal communications strategy is ensuring that your organization speaks with a consistent voice. It's crucial that every single employee has a clear understanding of the following:

  1. The overarching vision and specific business goals to grasp the big picture and comprehend the specific objectives that the organization aims to achieve.
  2. Their individual role in achieving those goals should have a well-defined understanding of how their contributions fit into the larger scheme of things.

In times of change or difficulty, it's particularly important that your internal communications strategy aligns with external messages, such as those found in the press or on social media. Internal and external communication must work hand in hand during these situations. 

To effectively communicate change, your strategy must be resilient and unwavering.

To achieve these objectives, focus on the following core principles:

  1. Tailor every communication to align with specific business goals, that means each message should directly contribute to the overall objectives of the organization.
  2. Provide employees with "line of sight" method, so ensure that employees fully comprehend the company's overarching vision and how their individual roles contribute to it.
  3. And drive action and change is funderment to ensure that every communication leads to tangible outcomes and meaningful transformations.

A valuable resource for shaping your internal communications plan is Quirke's model, which assesses the level of employee interest in a message against its impact on them. 

You can use this model to determine the appropriate format for your communications.

Remember, an effective internal communications strategy is vital for fostering a unified voice within your organization and achieving your business objectives. 

​Internal Communication Strategy Fundermentals

​Internal Communication Strategy Fundermentals

The first step in the recommended process is to define your needs and then adjust them according to your budgetary constraints. 

By taking the time to clearly identify your core purpose, processes, and communication channels from the outset, you'll be able to fine-tune your team to meet your specific requirements.

It is crucial to establish a consensus on how you will measure the effectiveness of your team. 

Tracking internal communication metrics is a vital component of any strategy implementation. Since communication is a two-way process, you also need to assess how your audience is responding. This allows you to make necessary adjustments, repeat successful approaches, or build upon your messages as needed. An internal communications app typically includes dashboards and reporting features to help you stay up to date and informed.

One common question that arises is where the internal communication team should be situated within the organization. 

This dilemma arises because:

  • Human Resources (HR) believes internal communication naturally aligns with their core mission of people management, so they advocate for incorporating it into the HR department.
  • Public Relations (PR) professionals want ownership of internal communication to ensure alignment with external messaging.
  • Marketing departments want to ensure their staff deliver the right messages when interacting with customers.

However, the physical location of desks and chairs matters much less than understanding what you aim to change and where you can add value to the business. Internal communication will occur regardless of the central team's physical placement. 

Your priority should be making it impactful. The key lies in focusing on your internal communication strategy and action plan.

Remember, a well-defined strategy, tailored to your organization's needs, along with consistent evaluation and adaptation, will contribute to effective internal communication that adds value to your business. 

Internal communication strategy Benefits

Implementing an effective internal communication strategy offers numerous benefits for organizations, including:

  • A well-executed internal communication strategy promotes higher levels of employee engagement. When employees feel informed, valued, and connected to the organization, they are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed to their work.
  • Effective internal communication fosters collaboration and teamwork among employees. It facilitates the sharing of ideas, knowledge, and best practices, leading to increased innovation, problem-solving, and efficiency in work processes.
  • Transparent communication within the organization builds trust and credibility. When employees have access to relevant information, understand organizational goals, and are kept informed about important decisions and changes, it fosters a culture of transparency and openness.
  • An internal communication strategy helps align employees with the organization's mission, vision, and goals. By effectively communicating the strategic direction and priorities, employees can understand how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization.
  • Regular and meaningful internal communication helps nurture a positive company culture. It enables the sharing of values, celebrates achievements, and reinforces the organization's identity, fostering a sense of belonging and pride among employees.
  • During periods of change, an internal communication strategy plays a crucial role in managing transitions smoothly. It helps to address concerns, clarify expectations, and provide support to employees, resulting in a smoother change implementation process.
  • Open and effective communication channels create opportunities for employees to provide feedback, voice concerns, and contribute to decision-making processes. This helps build stronger employee relations, promotes a sense of inclusion, and creates a supportive work environment.
  • When employees feel well-informed, engaged, and valued, it contributes to higher job satisfaction and increased employee retention. Effective internal communication helps create a positive employee experience and reduces turnover rates.

Overall, a strategic approach to internal communication brings numerous benefits that positively impact employee morale, productivity, collaboration, and organizational success.   Now we dig into the examples of internal communication strattegy.

Internal communications strategy examples

Here are a few examples of internal communications strategies:

  • Foster a culture of openness and transparency by regularly sharing important updates, company news, and changes in policies. Utilize channels such as email newsletters, internal blogs, or dedicated communication platforms to ensure employees stay informed.
  • Implement initiatives that actively engage employees and encourage their participation. This can include employee recognition programs, surveys to gather feedback, virtual town hall meetings, or interactive workshops to foster collaboration and teamwork.
  • Establish a strong connection between leadership and employees by providing regular updates from top executives. This can involve sharing their vision, goals, and insights through channels such as webinars, video messages, or in-person meetings.
  • Create an internal social networking platform where employees can connect, collaborate, and share knowledge across departments and teams. This can facilitate cross-functional communication, idea sharing, and community building.
  • Implement a comprehensive internal communications training program to enhance communication skills and promote effective messaging within the organization. This can include workshops, webinars, or online courses focused on improving written and verbal communication, active listening, and interpersonal skills.
  • During times of organizational change, develop a targeted communication plan to address concerns, clarify expectations, and outline the benefits of the change. This can involve regular updates, dedicated change management workshops, and opportunities for employees to ask questions and provide feedback.

Remember, these are just a few examples, and an effective internal communications strategy should be tailored to the specific needs and culture of your organization. It's important to continuously evaluate the strategy's impact, gather feedback from employees, and make adjustments as necessary to ensure its effectiveness.  So lets going into the form a ICS.

How to form your internal communications strategy

Developing an internal communications program is a continuous effort that relies on collaboration. It necessitates prioritization and support from leadership, along with regular updates and coordination with managers throughout the organization.

Now, let's dive into the seven-step roadmap for launching a fruitful internal communications program: 

1.Evaluate your existing internal communications strategy.

When revamping your internal communication strategy, it is crucial to address the following aspects promptly:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your current strategy. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and key individuals involved in shaping and executing the plan. Consider adding new team members to enhance its effectiveness.
  • Determine the objectives for your internal communications program. Identify your target audience, whether it's the entire organization or specific business units. These goals will guide the design of your strategy.
  • Identify the necessary resources, budget, and tools required to achieve your objectives. Consider what type of content will resonate best with your staff to engage them effectively.
  • Differentiate between the ideal timeframe for accomplishing your goals and a practical timeline for your team. Strive for a balance that ensures feasible implementation.
  • Assess the composition of your current team. Determine if it requires expansion or if there are too many decision-makers involved. Streamline and optimize your internal communication team accordingly.

By addressing these considerations and formulating appropriate responses or plans, you can thoroughly reevaluate your internal communication strategy. These answers will provide a clearer vision of the bigger picture, enabling you to delve into the tactical details with confidence. 

2.Establish Goals and Timelines for Executing Your Strategy

Don't expect your new internal communications strategy to work miracles overnight. 

Transforming employee experiences takes time, so it's crucial to set realistic goals.

So to establish smarter goals, consider internal benchmarks and identify areas where you can make an immediate impact. more importantly, conducting a survey can provide valuable insights into employees' expectations from your program.

Here are some initial questions to initiate this discussion:

  1. What specific outcomes do you want to achieve through your internal communications strategy?
  2. Which aspects of your current approach are performing well, and why? Where do improvements need to be made?
  3. What timeline do you envision for reaching your goals?
  4. Considering factors such as company size, priorities, and employee expectations, what communication tools or platforms are available to support your strategy?

These questions, you will gain a clearer understanding of what you aim to accomplish with your internal communications strategy. These goals will serve as the foundation for developing, expanding, and sustaining your strategy over time. 

You can use the SMART framework to create your ICS goals:

When setting goals for your internal communications strategy, follow these principles:

  • Specific -  Clearly define what you want to achieve using clear and concise language that everyone in your team can understand.
  • Measurable - Establish milestones and targets that allow you to track your progress and determine the level of success in each aspect of your goal.
  • Attainable - While it's good to aspire to great things, ensure that your goals are realistically achievable and manageable within your available resources and constraints.
  • Relevant - Create goals that are directly linked to the development of your team and seamlessly aligned with your business model and objectives.
  • Time-based - Set a specific timeframe for accomplishing your goals to foster accountability and create opportunities for reflection and performance evaluation.

By adhering to these principles, you can establish well-defined and effective goals for your internal communications strategy, enabling your team to work towards tangible outcomes that contribute to the success of your organization.

Setting goals in your internal communications strategy is essential for providing direction and measuring success. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to effectively set goals which will in itself lead to improving internal communication:

  • Define your overall vision for internal communications. Consider how it aligns with your organization's mission and values. This will serve as a guiding principle for setting specific goals.
  • IDetermine the specific objectives you want to achieve through your internal communications efforts. These objectives should be aligned with your organization's goals and focus on improving communication, engagement, and overall employee experience.
  • Ensure your goals are clear, specific, and measurable. Instead of a vague goal like "improve internal communication," make it more specific, such as "increase employee engagement through regular town hall meetings by 20% within six months."
  • Consider the resources, budget, and capabilities of your internal communications team. Set goals that are challenging yet realistic and attainable within a given timeframe. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and demotivation.
  • Determine the order of priority for your goals based on their importance and impact. This helps focus your efforts and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Identify specific metrics and KPIs that will track progress towards your goals. This can include employee survey results, engagement levels, communication reach, feedback received, or any other relevant data points.
  • Continuously monitor and measure your progress towards achieving your goals. Regularly review the data and assess if adjustments or refinements are needed to stay on track.
  • As you gain insights and feedback, be open to adjusting your goals if necessary. Adapt your strategy based on what works best for your organization and the evolving needs of your employees.

Remember, setting goals in your internal communications strategy provides a roadmap for success and ensures that your efforts are purposeful and measurable.

3.Determine the Key Metrics for Tracking Success

To identify the key metrics for tracking success in your internal communications strategy, follow these steps:

  • Clearly articulate your objectives and what you aim to achieve through your internal communications efforts. This will provide a foundation for selecting relevant metrics.
  • Match each goal with specific metrics that directly measure progress and success in that area. For example, if your goal is to improve employee engagement, relevant metrics could include survey response rates, participation in internal events, or feedback received.
  • Focus on metrics that provide meaningful insights and align with your goals. Avoid being overwhelmed by collecting excessive data. Choose a set of key metrics that truly reflect the effectiveness and impact of your internal communications initiatives.
  • Consider quantitative and qualitative measures: Balance quantitative metrics (such as engagement scores, click-through rates, or reach) with qualitative measures (such as employee feedback, sentiment analysis, or anecdotal evidence). This holistic approach provides a comprehensive view of your strategy's success.
  • LAssess the data you already have access to, such as employee surveys, communication platform analytics, or feedback channels. Identify relevant data points that can be used as metrics to track progress.
  • Establish benchmarks and targets for each metric to provide context and measure improvement. This allows you to track performance over time and compare results against predefined standards.
  • Continuously review and analyze your metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your internal communications strategy. Adjust your metrics if needed to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with evolving goals.

Remember, selecting the right metrics is crucial for monitoring the success of your internal communications strategy. By aligning metrics with goals, prioritizing meaningful measures, and regularly reviewing your progress, you can effectively track and evaluate the impact of your efforts. 

4. Identify your internal communications tools

Different messages require different channels for effective communication. When it comes to internal process changes, an email update may be more suitable, while a quick announcement could garner more attention on an internal messaging platform.

Communication tools such as AgilityPortal is an excellent internal communications tool and chat service that seamlessly integrates with your existing tools, enhancing your work experience. Whether you need to share internal documents or coordinate specific events without getting entangled in lengthy email threads, AgilityPortal can be your go-to solution.

However, internal communications encompasses more than just updates and announcements. It encompasses the flow of information throughout the company, whether it originates from the C-suite, department managers, or project managers.

If your organization lacks the necessary technology infrastructure to support your internal communications initiatives, now is the time to take action. A recent study revealed that 77% of remote workers feel they are treated fairly in companies with best-in-class technology solutions, whereas only 32% believe they are treated fairly in companies with inadequate technology solutions.

The technology you employ can be instrumental in creating equitable experiences for both remote and in-office employees. If you aim to uphold employee satisfaction, investing in the right technology is essential. 

Internal Communication Strategy Template

 Are you prepared to move forward? Access our internal comms plan template to kickstart your planning process. This user-friendly template is designed to provide a solid foundation for your strategy.

Click here to download the template in PDF.

File Name: Internal-Communication-Strategy-Template
File Size: 114 kb
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Wrapping up

Now is the perfect moment to prioritize an often neglected audience. A robust internal communications strategy is instrumental in boosting employee engagement, resulting in enhanced productivity, profitability, and lower turnover rates. These outcomes play a crucial role in ensuring the success of your business, especially in the context of remote and hybrid work environments.

As you embark on revitalizing your internal communications program, it is essential to revisit the fundamentals of employee advocacy and employer branding. 

These valuable resources will assist you in developing a strategy that not only informs but also captivates your colleagues, from new hires to your esteemed leadership team. 

By leveraging these insights, you can create an internal communications approach that resonates and inspires at all levels of your organization.

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Friday, 19 July 2024
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