Having an effective internal communications plan is crucial to ensuring the smooth running of a company’s day-to-day operations.
An internal communications plan can include information such as your organisation’s vision and mission, objectives, strategy values, key messages, employee responsibilities and a marketing plan as well as information on what channels will be used internally (which can range from company portals to newsletters to online message tools such as Slack.
Why is it important?
A business cannot facilitate successful growth if employees have no idea what they are advocating and working for. Communications should capture and interest your workers and make them feel important towards the wider picture. Here are the 3 main pointers for the impact of a communications plan:
Organisational alignment is making sure everyone within the organisation is on the same page, no matter where you are in the business. Communicating your core business values to your team will ensure that everyone is confident in the goals and message, enabling employees to collaborate and work more confidently.
Boost employee engagement
Organisational alignment goes hand in hand with employee engagement. The more confident and aligned your employees are with their services to the business; the more connected they are emotionally and mentally to the organisation, their team and what they do individually.
Boost productivity and efficiency
This is the big one. Now that your employees are engaged, the chances of individual employee success, in terms of their performance, wellbeing, productivity and efficiency, is bound to improve.
So, now that we’ve established why a communications strategy is so important, how do we go about creating one?
Audit your current strategy
Before we jump ahead and start changing things, it’s important to evaluate your current strategy. Take the time to identify the strengths and weaknesses of what is already being done.
Think about what has already been implemented, what channels or software you might be using, how effective they are, if there are any complaints that have been raised, does it have an impact on the workplace culture, etc? These are all useful things you can use to shape a more effective strategy.
Who is responsible for the strategy
Who is currently executing the communications within your organisation? Is there too little or too many people in your internal communications team? You can assess this and determine whether you need to streamline or add to your team.
Set clear goals and priorities
It is important to work out the main goals you want your communications to achieve and when you want to achieve them.
You could set out realistic timelines to plan and execute ideas, as well as identify an order of how important they are in achieving.
Map out your internal audiences
No matter how big or small your organisation is, it is important to remember that every employee is different. They will all have slightly different jobs, therefore their priorities will not be the same. For example, your sales team and IT/software team will have very different communication methods and needs.
Where you have resources it can be beneficial to communicate with different teams in different ways based on what is most relevant to them.
Get buy in from top leadership – these are usually the game changers
For internal communications to be successful, there should be commitment to it from the top down. Your business leaders have a crucial role in ensuring an internal communications strategy is being implemented consistently.
Select your channels of choice
There are countless channels which can facilitate communication, but they may not all be effective in getting your message out.
Beyond a trusty email, there are fantastic ways to reach people through video conferencing, chat forums, internal newsletters, face to face meetings and so much more. If we take working from home as an example, regular face to face meetings are not possible, so platforms such as Zoom or Teams are a great tool.
You can work out what is going to reach employees most successfully by tracking existing comms content or alternatively holding a survey to receive direct feedback.
Track and measure progress
Once you have implemented your new strategy within your organisation, you can start to establish whether it has been effective or not. Depending on what channels you have communicated with, you can use analytics which could be available such as engagement and referrals. You can also send out a feedback form to see how employees feel and continue implementing and their suggestions and needs.
Reflection and measuring results can be an intimidating idea, but when broken down into simple steps it is a very simple and effective part in tracking your new progress.
- Determine what is being measured (recruitment, retention, employee engagement, new clients…)
- Work out how you can measure communication content (financial, numerical, survey…)
- Track engagement through analytics (likes, shares, click-through rates and comments)
- Communication reach – is the plan reaching the right people and are they interacting?
- Ask for regular feedback once a new internal communications plan has been in place for a while
- Look at peak engagement times – when are people opening and reading your news and messages? Is it in work time/after work, morning or afternoon?
A successful communications strategy will be constantly evolving in order to ensure your messages are being heard by employees. Don’t take offencek to feedback about your new strategy, learn from it and find a way to incorporate methods for everyone.
Astley Media’s Communication Strategy Top Tips:
- Keep your message clear Ensuring a simple and concise comms style 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.
To help kick start your new communications strategy, we have put together a simple planning checklist to get you started, log and keep you on track with your communications.
Putting communication at the heart of the day-to-day operations is key to success in the workplace.
Using the advice we have laid out to cook up a solid communications strategy will ensure that workers at all levels of the organisation will be consistently putting their best foot forward.
We have a team of experts experienced in crafting internal communication plans having previously worked for some of the UK’s biggest companies.
Email email@example.com to find out how we could help with your internal communication strategy or check out what we have to offer at: https://astleymedia.co.uk/brand-strategy-development