We all know that effective internal communications are fundamental to business success. However, getting started on an internal communications plan can be a challenge, right? Maybe you have been staring at a blank screen for several hours now and, despite that strong coffee designed to kick-start your creative energies, you are still struggling for inspiration. If that sounds like you, then help is at hand. Here, we share five tips to help you plan an effective internal communications strategy.
Conduct an employee feedback survey
The starting point for your internal communications plan has to be employees. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming you know all the answers. The only way to find out what employees think about your internal communications is to ask them.
An employee feedback survey will give you insights into what’s important for employees. Discover what communications channels work best for them. Find out how they like to receive information and what they need to know to get the job done more effectively.
Furthermore, repeating the survey every 12 months means you can measure your progress over time.
Identify key issues from the feedback
Feedback from the survey will help you identify the plan’s priorities. The survey could highlight peer-to-peer communications as an issue. Or, maybe with employees working remotely during lockdown, digital communication channels have become a top priority.
Whatever the case, the employee feedback survey provides a firm steer on the priorities.
Appoint company champions to implement the strategy
Getting employees involved in implementing the strategy is a great way to enhance its effectiveness. Appoint departmental company champions to act as a link between management and the workforce.
Good practice tells us that two-way conversations are vital to creating a culture of employee engagement. Traditional top-down models no longer cut it in the modern workplace. Alongside helping with implementation at the coal face, company champions will also be essential in setting up ongoing dialogue with staff.
Identify appropriate internal communications methods
Armed with a clear set of priorities and company champions, it’s time to identify communications methods.
Face-to-face communication channels are usually the preference but may not be practical in the current pandemic. Explore other options such as videos, virtual coffee clubs, internal social media posts, blogs, live-streamed all-hands meetings, and instant messaging alongside more traditional printed newsletters or emails. It’s essential to use a variety of internal communications methods so you reach as many workers as possible.
Record progress, review and adapt
Make sure you track the progress of your plan. Collect data on click-through and open rates; invite feedback through social intranets, snap polls and focus groups; and use the feedback data to review your plan and ensure it remains fit for purpose. Things can and do change – just look at the impact of COVID-19 – so be flexible and willing to adapt to changing circumstances.
Developing an effective communications plan doesn’t have to end up in the too hard basket. Use these tips to get started.