Does your organization have multiple locations? Have some of your team members expressed feeling disconnected or left out of company announcements and events? Is there a lack of understanding from the team on company goals, updates, and milestones?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, have you asked yourself, “how effective is my organization’s internal communications strategy?”
First and foremost, what’s an internal communications strategy? An internal communications strategy (ICS) is the processes within a company that help to promote effective communication between its employees and leadership. It’s also how information is shared between different departments and team members. Essentially, an ICS establishes who goes to who for answers or information and what the communication process looks like – either through email, in-person, or virtual meetings.
A successful internal communications strategy can create happy, healthy, and productive employees who will positively contribute to the company’s mission and workplace culture. In contrast, an ineffective internal communications strategy can leave employees feeling confused, disconnected, and unproductive.
Before you consider implementing a new or updated internal communications strategy, let’s dive into some of the benefits.
Boosts employee engagement – According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, “…organizations with a high level of engagement do report 22% higher productivity, according to a new meta-analysis of 1.4 million employees conducted by the Gallup Organization.”
Employees feel valued and heard when there is an open line of communication between all levels at a company. A well-planned ICS brings all employees together to work towards the company’s goals and values. By ensuring an open line of communication, you create the opportunity to have more engagement from your employees. This can be done by encouraging employees to share their ideas and opinions on projects, current practices, or benefit changes.
Provides focus and drives action – The goal with an ICS is to help align your team’s focus. Having clearly defined goals and expectations helps eliminate confusion on important matters, like deadlines and project objectives. When employees feel included through an effective ICS, they become more focused and driven, responding more effectively and enthusiastically to new projects and goals.
Improves employee experience – People want to work for a company that invests in their emotional well-being and promotes a positive culture. By creating a successful ICS that promotes open communication and encouragement for your employees, you can create the work environment that people seek out.
In an article by government communication and digital strategy expert Amanda Dennet, SCMP, she shares, “A U.S. study conducted in 2020 found that both symmetrical internal communication and leaders’ use of motivating language (including meaning making, empathetic and direction-giving languages) induced employees’ perception of a positive emotional culture within the organization.”
One way to promote a positive employee experience is to implement an internal company-wide newsletter. Internal newsletters can promote:
- Company events
- New employee programs
- Employee work anniversaries/birthdays
- Employee recognition
- Changes or updates in benefits plans
- Updates on large projects
Check out our other blog on email marketing to learn how to implement newsletters into your company’s communication strategy!
Now that we have explored why an ICS is important, let’s take a look into how to create a successful strategy for your own business. It’s important to remember that your ICS should align both your business goals and the employee experience. Your ICS should focus on streamlining internal communications so that your goals can be achieved efficiently.
- Company Goals – In order to direct your approach, you will need to establish what your business goals are. Are you trying to decrease employee turnover? Do you want to establish a better workflow for projects? Are you wanting to increase employee engagement with company events? Your goals should be based on your company’s unique needs.
- Target Audience – Whether your company is small or large, every department should be addressed, and each team and person on that team has a unique communication style. For example, your HR team may respond better to direct communication, or a straightforward approach, whereas your marketing team might prefer collaborative communication, where each team member is an integral part of the conversation. Check out our other blog to learn more about the importance of understanding your team’s different communication styles to guide your ICS.
- Messaging – Establishing your company’s core messaging should be at the center of any ICS. If you are trying to figure out the “so what” behind your company, you might need to revisit your initial goals.
Ask yourself this question – “Why is this my goal and what do my employees want/need to work efficiently and be engaged?” Use this to guide yourself as you craft your messaging.
- Communication Channels – Communication channels can be broken down into three different types: verbal, written, and non-verbal. You can use all these channels in your ICS, but you should consider how your employees respond to each.
Does your team prefer face-to-face communication, email or messaging, or Zoom meetings? Does your team respond better to regular meetings or do they respond better to memo emails? Are you a company that is 100% remote, hybrid, or in-person? These factors are important to know because they will help you determine the best communication channel or channels to use.
- Flow of Communication – Lastly, you want to establish your flow of communication. Essentially, this provides your employees with a roadmap of who the point of contact for certain issues or topics would be. To start, you’ll need to establish:
- What is the chain of command?
- Who is the main POC for each department?
- Who is the final POC for projects?
- Who do employees go to for certain issues or subject matter expertise?
Answering these questions will streamline your communication process and ensure your team has a clear path moving forward.
Every aspect of your ICS, from setting goals and establishing expectations to maintaining communication channels, will contribute to a positive work environment. At Flourish, we’re all about promoting positivity and efficiency with our employees and our internal communications strategy has helped us do just that!
Now that you have an understanding of the role internal communications has in your company, you can start planting the seeds for growth and success on your own.