Why You Need an Internal Communications Strategy
An internal communications strategy is essential for any organization looking to achieve its business objectives. Internal communications (IC) planning is also needed to encourage the support of the workforce in attaining these business goals, by fostering employee engagement.
In order to clearly explain business objectives to everyone in the organization and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas between workers and business leaders – essential to meeting those objectives, effective communication channels must be in place.
With a comprehensive internal comms plan, you can define and co-ordinate these channels.
In the post-COVID era of hybrid working, organizations must provide essential resources and communication channels for office staff, field operatives, and remote workers – all in line with their particular communication preferences. This requires internal communication planning, to ensure that the organization is providing a set of IC tools and platforms that empowers all members of a diverse workforce to effectively pursue the business goals of the enterprise. At the same time, the organization must provide IC resources that promote employee engagement and inclusion, so that all stakeholders feel themselves to be a valued and valuable part of the enterprise.
To these ends, an effective IC strategy holds the key to greater productivity and employee engagement.
In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute has discovered that employee productivity increases by 20-25% in organizations where employees are connected via a robust and comprehensive IC system..
However, developing an effective plan is not without its challenges.
In this article, we’ll outline the key elements you need to create your internal communication plan.
Starting an internal communication plan
If you’re building an IC strategy from scratch, you can start by using an internal communications plan template, which several organizations offer as a free download resource online. If however, you already have an IC strategy in place, the following recommendations will serve you well:
Assess the performance of your current IC strategy
Consider fundamental issues such as whether your existing IC strategy has been effective in making employees and stakeholders aware of the business goals of your enterprise firstly, and further, do these communication channels and IC tools facilitate your teams in achieving these business objectives?
Use metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to establish the success level of your current IC plan. These may include indicators such as email opening rates, shares and likes of content and posts, or employee feedback from focus groups. This information will provide ideas on how to improve your future internal communication plan.
Identify your internal communications objectives
An IC plan requires clear goals to guide its architecture and implementation, and to act as a benchmark of internal communications success. These communication goals should be in line with your business goals. They should also be SMART – which is to say, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Identify your target audience
Broadly speaking, a successful internal communication plan must address the needs and interests of all internal stakeholders. However, successful internal communications must be geared towards the communication preferences of each information recipient.
The results of focus groups, surveys, and employee feedback are critical in establishing which IC channels are most appropriate to which group, where internal comms can improve, and how your internal communications strategies will need to be adjusted to accommodate these improvements.
Map out your IC technology needs
A strong internal communication plan requires powerful and appropriate IC tools and technologies to implement it. Identifying your target audience and their preferred communication channels will position you to select the right technology platform to deliver on the objectives of your strategy.
For example, a modern intranet software platform such as Claromentis, comes packed with social, collaborative, and enterprise-level business apps, and mobile device integration with e-learning, e-forms, automated workflows, and project management features, to provide an integrated digital workplace that fosters productivity and employee engagement.
Design your IC messaging
In order to use your internal communication channels effectively, you’ll need to design messaging, knowledge bases, and resources for your target recipients. This messaging should be clear, informative, engaging, actionable – and distributed along the group’s preferred internal communication channels.
Consider your timing
An effective plan relies on appropriate timing for your messages, updates, and announcements. You’ll need to consider both the nature of the internal communication and its content.
For example, the morning, may be a better time for sending out internal communication pertaining to company business or crucial policy matters. Any IC relating to social matters or external news may be better received at the end of the day, or during a break when your team can digest at their own pace,
Measure your progress
Just as KPIs and metrics were useful in assessing the performance of an existing internal communications strategy, they are also important in measuring the success or otherwise of a new IC strategy, or an existing internal communication strategy which has been modified.
You might for example monitor levels of employee engagement through likes, shares, click-through rates and comments. Alternatively, you may observe when people are opening and reading your news and messages, to assess the success of your internal communications timing.
Putting it all together
As we’ve seen, creating a winning internal communication plan involves multiple considerations, including the current state of your IC ecosystem, ways to improve and measure it, and the nature of your messaging.
The right choice of IC technology is also critical to the success of your communication plan.
At Claromentis, we’ve been in the intranet business for over 20 years, supporting internal communications teams. We’ve built company communication platforms and intranets for every industry including financial, education, and healthcare.
All our apps are easy to access from your integrated digital workspace, making it a one-stop-shop for sharing information, collaboration, and internal communications.
Our intranet content management system and design tools make it easy to build an engaging platform, with no need for coding or technical know-how.
We’re constantly improving our software too, with new apps, features, and enhancements added with every release.
To learn more about how Claromentis can help you create and execute a powerful internal communication plan, book a demo with our experts.