Effective internal communications are crucial to any company’s day-to-day operations. Keeping your team in the loop improves employee engagement and advocacy, which in turn boosts overall productivity.
With this in mind, we’ve picked out the best practices for crafting an internal communications strategy.
Meet with your team weekly
In an ideal world your team will meet at least weekly to be briefed, share information and ask questions. However, despite the best intentions, that doesn’t always happen. There are benefits to weekly meetings, these are:
- Ensures that any goals either you as a company or as an individual are being met
- Talking in person through any issues helps align the right solution with the problem
- Improves employee morale
- It gets the the team thinking creatively and allows everyone to bounce ideas off each other
- If you haven’t caught up with your team for a while, then this is a good opportunity to put something in place
What is your story?
This is one of the first things we ask clients but often there is no consistent message. Discover and define your story, write it down and communicate it. This includes your mission and vision, your core values and your higher purpose because purpose-driven companies evolve faster than others.
Get your team’s feedback
Feedback is one of the utmost fundamental parts of any successful internal communications plan. Not only does it boost productivity but it also helps to avoid any potential major errors that could ensue. Having feedback in place helps reduce the time spent on fixing those mistakes. In a crisis, time isn’t your best friend so why waste it?
Communications have historically been top down but they shouldn’t be. Before working up your plan, ask your team what they would like to see in the plan and how they would like to be communicated with. Make sure they have the ability to give feedback, there are various NPS platforms that you could adapt to your plan and these can be used both internally and externally.
Identify your ‘Plan Champions’
These don’t necessarily have to be senior staff or managers but your best communicators. These will be your Mavens Malcolm Gladwell – Mavens and the Tipping Point (or connectors). Keep them in the loop, seek their advice, ask what you do differently and refine, refine and refine your plan.
Keep your internal communication plan simple
If you overload people with information it doesn’t only affect productivity and wellbeing, it can make any important decision become clouded and misinformed. When writing a story journalists use what they call the ‘Inverted Pyramid’ to prioritise what and where information needs to be. Start with the key facts (the need to know) followed by any supplementary information (the nice to know). Take this approach with all of your internal communications and you should never have a problem. Of course, if problems do arise, you know where to turn.
Make people responsible
Similar to how journalists use the inverted pyramid to write a story, every organisation should be using a hierarchy pyramid. This is important, especially within internal communications but as an organisation having the right people in the right place will not hurt your business, it might even save it.
Keeping people accountable and responsible for decisions will make clearer results. Not only will this keep employees happy, it will keep your business transparent. Make someone responsible for overseeing, updating and owning the plan. Make it an agenda item at your board meetings. It’s important!
8 internal communication tips you must do
- Keep your message clear. Any crisis whether it’s internal or external is going to be stressful, so why add to it? Ensuring a clear message lets everyone know what they’re supposed to do.
- Reach out to all employees. Depending on the size of your organisation this might not be physically possible, however there are fantastic ways to reach people through video conferencing and sometimes you cannot go wrong with a simple feedback form.
- Employees should be engaged with. By keeping them in the loop of changes within the organisation or new tasks to be given will ensure employees are being valued.
- Create a strategy that’s understood by all. Creating a strategy will ensure everyone can focus and know what to do or where they can turn to should a problem arise.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As the saying goes, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Not everybody has the answer, no matter how far up the organisation’s hierarchy you are. Everyone plays a vital role and some will have knowledge in areas that might necessarily not have.
- Adopt best practice. Search around to see what other companies are doing and, if you like them, steal their ideas.
- Check that people are really okay. If your team is small enough to allow, check in with individuals.
- Remember everyone is different. Some have different lives, therefore their priorities will not be the same. Don’t treat everyone the same.
We have a team of experts experienced in crafting internal communication plans having previously worked for some of the UK’s biggest companies. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we could help with your internal communication strategy.