How to Create Internal Communication Strategies for Your Organization
Communication is key to any successful relationship. Often organizations focus a lot of time, energy, and money on improving external communication because consumer relations are paramount to a successful business. However, internal communication is essential to being a success too.
The same level of care given to communicating with customers, shareholders, potential new hires, and the public should be given to the organization’s employees to create and build engagement. Customer loyalty keeps consumers buying your product, and employee loyalty keeps your organization staffed with people who care to do a good job.
Internal communication in an organization is the communication between top-level management, management, and employees. Open and transparent communication is essential to ensuring that employees understand your organization’s mission and values.
Employee engagement and empowerment improves an organization’s environment and employees who know what is going on trust their organization more and are more adaptable to changes as they come without fear of the unknown. Establishing or improving internal communications requires an internal communication strategy.
An internal communication strategy is your organization’s goals regarding communication with employees and the plan to achieve those goals. Some examples of goals to set within your organization:
- Brand Strengthening
Get Everyone On Board
Avoid Workplace Confusion
Best Practices And Safety Awareness
Create an effective internal communication strategy
Having an effective internal communications strategy is crucial to achieving your internal communication goals. Good internal communication makes an organization more appealing to customers as well. When there is employee engagement, cultural alignment, and employees feel like some is advocating for them, the organization appears polished to consumers and puts them at ease.
Creating an internal communication strategy can seem overwhelming if your organization has never had one or needs to rethink its strategy. However, you can avoid typical pitfalls and create a successful program if you know how.
Employees spend a surprising amount of time on the clock gossiping and worrying about what’s going on at work. Time wasted has an incredibly negative impact on productivity.
Confusion at work among employees can also lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. Frustrated and dissatisfied employees lead to higher turnover. High turnover is expensive, so in reality, improving internal communication can save your company money.
Conversely, employees that feel connected to their organization and understand expectations are more productive. In other words, improving internal communication can positively affect productivity, which leads to making more money.
Employees, whether they realize it or not, are brand ambassadors. It’s the organization’s responsibility to recognize this. Employees are on the front lines for your organization. Employees engage with your customers directly, and they do a lot to help your organization grow. All of this makes it invaluable to have employees that understand your brand and its messaging.
Internal communication is critical to your success
One of the main focuses of internal communication is to get everyone on board. Getting employees on board and on the same page is one of the biggest hurdles businesses face, no matter how big or small they are.
A vast majority of employees often do not understand their company’s strategy. According to the State of the American Workplace by Gallup, nearly three-quarters of employees don’t understand their company’s strategy.
Employees are human capital. They are one of your company’s most significant assets. So, to outperform your organization’s competition in the market, it’s necessary to educate employees on the company’s goals and get everyone on board.
One way to empower employees is to let them know how important they are to their success. Make sure they know that they affect the bottom line of your business. In the same way that they often don’t understand their company’s strategy, they can miss how they directly contribute. Knowing that you’re needed is a powerful feeling, and it promotes a sense of pride in what you’re doing.
An employee who’s proud to contribute and understands their own impact on the process of a company’s growth and development will be more productive than an employee who has missed out on that knowledge. Additionally, employees who understand the company’s brand identity are better aligned with the company.
Defining an internal communication strategy
As you come to appreciate the role of internal communication for your organization, you may realize that you want to improve your internal communications. However, achieving what we want involves a lot more than just realizing we want something.
When we want to achieve something for our business, we need to strategize, plan, implement, analyze, and all that good stuff. As with your business plan, your marketing strategies, and logistical plans, you need an internal communications strategy.
When you work to define your internal communications strategy, you promote a stronger understanding of best practices and strengthen your internal network to work towards the organization’s common goals. So, what are the steps to creating an internal communication strategy?
How to form an internal communication strategy
Evaluate the current internal communication strategy
You likely have an internal communication strategy already in practice. Even if this is the first time you’re clearly defining your strategy, it is still possible to evaluate your current internal communication skills to identify where you’re having success and where improvements are needed.
Evaluate how your current strategy is working within your organization. Identify weaknesses, but don’t forget to identify your strengths. Knowing your organization’s organic strengths will help you develop a plan that you can follow through on.
Take note of who is already involved with your plan and who should be added to improve it. A more diverse group of strengths within your plan will help you achieve a plan that works on different levels within the organization. Examples here would be an employee liaison or incorporating management from other departments.
Determine your goals
As with other business strategies, it is important to set goals. Remember not to be vague here. You don’t want to simply set a goal of “better internal communication”. Get specific.
Think about the who, what, when, where, and how. When you set your communication goals, who do you want to apply them to? Your communication goals on your management teams might be different from the goals that pertain to all employees.
Once you have determined your communication goals, it’s important to identify a set period of time to reach your goals. Applying a time parameter to your goals will motivate you to achieve them, and it allows you a set point in time to evaluate if your new strategies are working or need adjustments.
Make it measurable
When you set your goals, keep in mind that you also want to measure your success. Measurability is imperative when it comes to goal setting. If you can’t measure it, how do you know if it worked?
As in all areas of strategic business planning, you need to analyze it to gauge success. Before implementing your strategy, decide what core metrics you will be using for analysis of success.
Technology makes it easier to track metrics than ever before. A text messaging service can instantly reach employees with surveys, schedule announcements and important information, links to training remotely, and employee referrals to bring in new hires.
Social sharing of company achievements and job offers can increase your reach when you can rely on your employees to advocate for the company. Empowered and engaged employees can impact your online presence and social messaging in a big way.
Employee referrals are another metric to consider. If you need to do some hiring, looking at the increase in your employee referrals can quickly answer whether a communication strategy was effective or not.
Implement or improve internal communication tools. Give employees opportunities to be updated on additional company news and information the same way you might ask a customer to opt-in to an SMS marketing campaign or email list. Click-through rates can be measured on these to tell you if your employees are engaging with the communication.
Know your audience
You wouldn’t begin to market to consumers without knowing your audience and planning your communications to tailor to that audience. Internal communications operate similarly.
Before you hit send on that internal message, think about who you’re sending it to. Remember that communication is at the core of any relationship. The delivery of information is just as important as the information itself.
When you view your employees as brand ambassadors, it becomes more evident that communication with employees should convey the same intent and branding that you want consumers to see. Trickle-down brand messaging can help you or hurt you, so start with an intentional message at the top.
Creating an internal communication strategy may be a new experience for your organization, but don’t be shy about getting started. Empowering your brand’s ambassadors to deliver your brand’s identity to consumers confidently will give you happier and more productive employees while growing your business at the same time.