> The important considerations for an internal communication strategy are:
- What is the purpose of the communication
- What is to be communicated
- Who owns the communication process
- What are the barriers
- What tools should be used
- When to evaluate and adjust
Let’s review each consideration in a bit more detail.
> Purpose of communication
Every employee has a desire to be in the know. It’s important for them to understand the company direction and how it potentially impacts their role. Communication aligns expectation and manages their perceptions. Communication also establishes a single point of truth, it prevents undue “passage talk”, “broken telephone”, and “heard via the grapevine”.
> What to communicate
A highly valued purpose is recognition. A company can recognize a department, a team, or individual for their results achieved. It gives visibility and appreciation of their success, which inspires similar performances in other areas.
Humanizing the business is another important consideration. A company is more than just its brand and core values, there are people centric matters too. This varies from employee wellbeing to coordinated social activities and peer noteworthy events.
Employee experiences (EX) and the overall workforce mood is a worthy bidirectional effort. This gives employees the impression that their happiness is important while uncovering internal touchpoints that may need attention.
Some companies provide rich content (viz. html pages on portals and mobile) designed to brand inwardly and give employees a broad perspective of what’s happening around them.
Lastly, an impactful function that is often overlooked is “managed awareness”. Awareness may include physical workplace changes, wellbeing initiatives, safety alerts, security alerts, cybersecurity warnings, transportation updates, and notifications if there’s a change in policy.
> Communication process owners
There are typically 4 stakeholders to consider:
- HR addresses company matters directly impacting employees.
- Internal Communications (IC) may provide updates on all company centric matters. This may include financial performances, customer feedback, favourable market reviews, and the CEO’s perspective on a hot topic.
- Heads of Ops may create awareness on business processes, reducing wastage and preserving the environment, and giving general instructions for different groups to follow.
- Department Influencers help to humanize the business. They typically “localize” events, departmental recognition, community volunteering, welcomes and farewells.
Not every company has these roles segregated, meaning that one or two of these stakeholders may cover all the communications identified in their strategy. Importantly, your strategy does not need to address all the examples in this post, only the ones you believe will have the best impact on your workforce while also achieving the company goals. With future evaluations, your strategy can be optimized or adjusted to achieve better results.
> Barriers to success
Communication should be regular and easy to consume. There’s no point starting a process that’s not going to be maintained. If a company believes in connecting with its workforce, it’s a long term commitment. The more everyone becomes accustomed to getting insider communications delivered in a certain way, the better the buy-in for all employees to remain connected. As with social media, if the content platform ceases to provide value, it will lose traction.
> Digital tools
It’s important to understand the tools available. Some best lend themselves to project collaboration, but planned communications may get lost in the channels of chatter. Email is ideal for attaching documents and every employee may already be active on the company email system. However, emails do compete for attention in busy inboxes, while content overload is another potential concern. Some companies communicate via social media, but this can quickly become a distraction when employees also view other content on their feeds. Our Virtual Notice Board is another option, but is limited if sending formatted rich content is key to your strategy.
Use a technology that’s easy to manage, can target different groups for communications relevant to each, and is easy for employees at all levels to use (on PC or Mobile, or both).
> When to evaluate and adjust
The answer is: as often as possible. Ultimately, the tool you pick should provide analytics on the reach and impact of your digital communications. This means that your communication stakeholders can focus on what is most valued, even if that’s a moving target. Scheduling communications means that you have a pipeline of intention, which if automated, makes your life easier. Find a way to evaluate the important metrics and adjust your strategy accordingly.
In summary, the right internal communication strategy can help you achieve big wins for your company.