How to Create an Internal Communications Strategy that Works

In a fast-paced, dispersed working environment business outcomes hinge on a successful internal communications strategy. 

And this isn’t just about choosing the right words, or selecting the best channel. It’s about weaving a narrative that connects everyone in your business. From the c-suite to front line workers. 

In this blog, we’ll show you how to develop a successful internal comms strategy, and then the areas to monitor for continuous improvement.

What is an internal communication strategy?

An internal communication strategy is a comprehensive plan outlining how information is shared within an organisation. It covers the methods, channels and processes you use to enable communication between c-suite to frontline employees, and everyone in between. 

All of this is to ensure that every team member is aligned with the company’s vision, objectives, and core values. 

By allowing information to flow freely, transparently and efficiently your business can:

  • Increase employee engagement. Keeping your workforce in the loop boosts morale, productivity, and job satisfaction. 
  • Enhance alignment across your business. Clear understanding of your strategic goals helps ensure your workforce are all contributing to your business success. 
  • Facilitate and streamline change. Adopting and adapting to new policies, processes and strategies can be a challenge. Effective internal communications eases that transition, ensuring understanding. 
  • Build a strong company culture.  Regular, transparent communication reinforces your values. Creating a positive work environment that bonds your team members and makes them more invested in your success. 

So, you now know why investing in your comms plan is important for a high-performing, resilient organisation. But how do you go about creating one?

4 steps to developing an internal communications strategy

If you don’t have an internal comms strategy, you’ll have to start from scratch. But, typically your strategy development will involve the below steps.

1. Audit your current strategy

What is and isn’t working? Who is involved? Who is/are your audience(s)? Is your strategy aligned with your business objectives? You should also get feedback from employees to discover their pain points and preferences. 

2. Assess your technology requirements

Identify and analyse your current setup. What channels are missing? What technology would be most suitable to put them in place? If you’re not sure, why not partner with an expert to get the help you need?

3. Establish timelines, budget, and buy-in

You now know what you want to achieve, you just have to get approval. Provide stakeholders with your anticipated budgets, timelines and ROI. If you do, they’ll be more than happy for you to execute your plan.

4. Establish KPIs and monitoring mechanisms

To prove ROI, you need to know what to measure. Common KPIs include employee retention and turnover; email open rates, and intranet usage.

Once you have your strategy in place, monitor and improve it over time. And don’t be afraid to make changes if the data is telling you something isn’t working. 

5 strategic tips to achieve your internal communications objectives in 2024

Here are our recommendations if you want to optimise your internal comms strategy for 2024 and beyond.

1. Explore modern communication tools and channels

Email will always have its place. But, there are other options more suited to the modern digital workplace. These include:

  • Instant messaging
  • Online forums
  • Corporate social networks
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Learning management systems
  • And much more….

Plus, if you have an intranet, you can access them on a single centralised platform. Particularly if you have a cloud based intranet which allows remote or hybrid employees to access information anytime, anywhere, on any device via a mobile app. 

With 74% of employees using their smartphone for work tasks, giving them access via an app is likely to help your internal comms plan succeed. 

2. Don’t just give orders – start conversations

Some of your business communication is entirely operational. For example, comms around shifts, working hours, holiday days and company updates. 

This kind of communication with your workforce is vital. But, for long term, sustainable success you need to go further. 

The best internal communication strategies go beyond toolsets and top down communication. They create two-way communication between employees and leadership. 

This helps you create a better culture, share insights and refine best practices via continuous feedback loops. 

A great way to get started with this is to run quick surveys on topics that affect your entire workforce. This helps you quickly identify and act upon issues that make a difference to employees. And if they see their feedback making a difference, they will become more invested in your business, culture and values. 

3. Create a hierarchy for different communication types

Regular announcements about changes may be an internal comms best practice. But, not all announcements are created equal. 

For example, if you publish everything via push notifications employees will suffer from information overload. And they’ll stop checking and reading your communications. 

To avoid this, segment your communications into the below categories.

  • Company-wide information. This should be communications around major company news, values or strategic objectives. For example, announcing an acquisition or changes to a major HR process. 
  • Location-specific information. These are announcements that only affect one workplace in a multi-site company. They cover things like building maintenance, closures or moves. 
  • Department or function-level information. These announcements can include department -level promotions, replacement of department-specific software or new best practices related to a particular area or skill set. 
  • Team-level information. Within teams these communications relate to daily issues like rota changes, cover for sick employees and internal project deadlines. 

From here, you should consider two things:

  1. Who is best placed to deliver the information?
  2. Which internal communications channel would be most effective?

For example, you may find that a major announcement should come from senior management as a pinned announcement. This highlights its importance within your intranet.

Another example might be that you feel that a department head should share new working guidelines. They can deliver the message with full context due to their expertise. Then, team leaders can reinforce the guidelines via instant messaging and in-person training.

Choosing the right communication pathway ensures employees mainly get very specific, relevant messages. This also means that when you make a major announcement it cuts through the noise more effectively

4. Tap into the benefits of peer to peer communication

Remote and hybrid working can lead to valuable operational knowledge being siloed off into singular departments, teams, or individuals. 

Your internal comms strategy should be able to resolve this issue and enable more effective remote and hybrid working. Ensuring that your employees are productive, engaged and collaborative no matter where they are

Ensure you facilitate knowledge sharing through your company directory and dedicated discussion rooms. Removing silos in this way can also increase internal networking. A vital way for employees to build the connections and knowledge they need to progress their career within your organisation.

5. Celebrate as well as inform

If you want to engage employees, celebrate their achievements. Use your internal communications channels to recognise the effort they put in each day.

The best internal communication softwares comes with employee recognition tools. These allow managers to reward employees for great work, making them feel appreciated and visible by their peers and leadership. 

Get more strategic, actionable recommendations in our latest ebook

The perfect internal communications strategy means doing a lot more than we’ve talked about in this blog. So, what’s the next step?

We’ve prepared a free guide that provides actionable, strategic recommendations for internal communicators that want 2024 to be their best year yet. 

Based on the latest data, we show you how to make the most of your available resources, budget and time. All while enabling you to find the ROI that will help you secure increased investment in the future. 

If you want to do that, all while enhancing employee engagement and collaboration, increasing productivity and cultivating the ideal company culture, download our ebook today

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