Are you about to create your internal communication strategy but don’t know how to begin? Check out these employee communication best practices to learn how to do it.
Internal communication can get boring, unimportant, or impersonal pretty fast, especially when you’re working with remote or hybrid teams.
But not if you have an internal communication strategy that’s tailored to your team’s needs and your business culture.
Most companies overlook the importance of internal communications, and creating a strong strategy can be challenging, but doing it properly will improve your team’s focus and morale. Curious to know how?
In this guide, we’ll share how to implement your internal communication plan and amplify your company culture through different digital channels. Let’s dive in!
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An internal communication strategy is a plan for communicating with internal stakeholders at your company. A good strategy will set out guidelines for effectively sharing information and enhancing your company culture via dedicated communication channels.
Internal communication planning includes defining all corporate communications: one-to-one, one-to-many, from the top down, department announcements, or communication from the juniors to C-level executives.
In this internal communication plan, you should define how to effectively communicate:
Here’s why you should incorporate an internal communications framework in your business:
Pro tip: Your employees are also brand promoters and spokespeople, so you should ensure internal and external communications are aligned with the way the brand communicates.
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Creating a culture that has strong internal communication guidelines and is aligned with the strategy can be harder than you may think. In fact, HR managers usually face at least one of these six challenges:
The top-down approach to corporate communications is outdated. Horizontal communication enables everyone to share news without silos. A good way of implementing it is by segmenting the tools you use for different types of internal communication. For example, you can encourage Slack for immediate company-wide, one-to-one, and one-to-many communication, and use emails for corporate, top-down communication.
If your team isn’t ever asked for their opinion, and if their suggestions are never taken onboard or considered by leadership, that can have a poor effect on morale. Ultimately, feeling ignored will make those team members feel less invested in the success of the business. Make sure you’re open to making changes like incorporating internal communications tools to your tech stack.
Leverage tools that make it easier for you to come up with those idea to break the ice. Livestorm, for example, offers different interactive features like live polls and surveys to improve participation during video conferences. Get some ideas to break the ice in meetings this video.
It can be tough to find the balance between informing your team members without oversharing topics that might cause anxiety or uncertainty. For example, if you’re a startup on a budget and are trying to find investors to keep the operation running, the outcome of every investor meeting is probably not relevant to your employees. Instead, you can let everyone know that you'll communicate once there is an update.
There’s an app for everything, and while those tools might simplify parts of your work, you should avoid using too many different communication channels and causing notification fatigue. If you get too many tools, you’ll confuse people, and your internal communication strategy will likely fail due to its complexity.
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Whether or not you already have a corporate internal communication strategy, you should gather feedback from your employees to spot areas of improvement and gather communication ideas.
You can collect feedback in any way that you want:
Make sure you find out how people feel about the tools you already use in-house and whether there’s anything missing from your tech stack.
Review the collected data to come up with insights and draft the new strategy. In the strategy, you should come up with a document that states your internal communication guidelines. They should clearly explain:
You can share these guidelines in an all-hands meeting or in an HR webinar.
Define your internal communication goals and set the KPIs that you’ll measure this strategy against. Some good examples of internal communication goals include: employee appreciation, employee engagement with internal communications (e.g. corporate newsletter, and internal metrics that came up in the feedback round.
Communication tools in the workplace are crucial for team engagement. Deep dive into the tools you use or will incorporate and make it clear what you’ll be using them for. A good way is to define a tool for each purpose, but aim for multipurpose tools whenever you can to avoid notification fatigue. You’ll need to define a tool for:
Livestorm is a great video conferencing tool that allows you to send invites, have interactive meetings and analyze metrics all in one place. Remember to create a run of show to make sure your internal communication is streamlined.
Make a chart with all the key roles that need to be involved in the execution of the internal communications plan, but also the ones who need to be notified if anything happens. That means you should list the responsible people for approvals, sending the communication, and contacting guest speakers for quarterly webinars.
Internal communications planning can be lengthy. During this stage, you should list all the formats in which you’ll reach your employees, like in a company all-hands meeting, and how many times you’ll do it. Make an SOP for each one of these touchpoints. For example, if you’re sending a monthly newsletter, you should define:
An internal communication strategy can be as expensive as you want. When budgeting, you need to include the price of each tool and activities you’ve planned to implement.
For example, if you’re changing your video conferencing tool, you’ll need to add the price difference to the budget, or if you’re planning on having one webinar with a guest speaker each quarter, you should include an estimated price.
Setting deadlines is as important as budgeting because it helps you plan and commit to those activities and to the success of your internal communications strategy.
Repeat step one, but this time, measure it against KPIs. Adjust and repeat as needed. Don’t be scared to pull the plug on some internal communication tools or activities.
Good internal communication strategies are easy to follow, especially if your employees are aligned with the company’s values and culture. If you avoid these mistakes, you’ll be on the right track:
One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to creating and implementing a strategy is ignoring the feedback from the people who’ll be impacted by it. That leads to people not following your communications plan, sticking to old ways, and feeling frustrated and unheard.
A very common mistake in internal communication plans is to choose either too many tools or ones that are cheaper but difficult to use and unhelpful. For example, if your sales team needs their project management tool to connect to their CRM but you choose to get two different tools they didn’t ask for, they’ll probably ignore your tool selection and come up with a different solution.
K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) is a widely known marketing strategy that you should apply to your internal communication as well. A typical example of overcomplicating simple things is by adding too many Slack channels. Channels are an amazing feature to segment topics and keep a historical record of them, but when you start to change or create one for each specific topic, people get confused, and your strategy ends up failing.
Internal and external communication are always going to be different in tone and length from one another, but not in values.
When having informal chats, coworkers make jokes, talk about responsibilities, and communicate about random topics daily. That makes informal internal communication more frequent and extensive. External and corporate internal communication can be more precise and topical.
While the topics and the tone might be different from internal and external communication, they need to be aligned to work. Some ways in which your formal internal and external communication plan should be similar:
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Internal and external communication should always be aligned, especially when sharing messages with your customers, you need to make sure your internal team is aware of them. Here’s how to align your internal and external communication plan:
You’ve now learned how to create an internal communication strategy for your business to boost your team’s morale and empower them to make decisions aligned with business goals.