Need an Efficient Internal Communication Strategy? Here Is How You Can Do It In 8 Steps
Need an Efficient Internal Communication Strategy? Here Is How You Can Do It In 8 Steps
A well-planned internal communication strategy is vital to the success of your business. If you’ve got your internal communications down you can rest assured that your external communications will follow suit. In this article, we’ll explore how a solid internal communication strategy can build trust, create a strong company culture, and foster a team that succeeds.
1. Start off on the right foot
Run an audit
Set yourself up for success by running a company-wide audit from the beginning. Even if you think you don’t have an internal communication strategy right now, the chances are you do, it’s just not processed or documented. Find out what it is, or isn’t.
Assess your current situation
If you’re looking to implement an internal communication strategy efficiently, you’ll need to take time to consider where your business is now. Assess your current situation, what tools are you using with your team and company-wide? Do you have any workflows documented or internal brand guidelines? Collect it all together so you have the bigger picture.
Identify your key stakeholders within the business that are going to help you push this project forward. Build on this and identify your internal business influencers. Who in your organization influences decisions? This doesn’t mean they have to be a manager. Find who you need to get on board to ensure that this project is welcomed with open arms.
Identify teams’ needs
Perhaps some teams communicate more online whereas others are sat across from each other in an office over a cup of coffee. How can you ensure those team members that are working remotely, be it a different state, country or time-zone, are included just as much as those in the office? Share the coffee.
What does every team need to be included? A great way of getting this information is by releasing a company-wide survey. This survey ensures that not only you hear everyone’s thoughts but you also make sure people know they’ve been heard.
Do your research
Start looking at various tools that are available to you and within your budget. Weigh up free trials, speak with customer success teams and get an idea of what’s available to you right now; as well as what it can do.
Most communication tools come with tiered plans so now’s the time to figure out what tier your size company would fall into.
2. Set “Business as Usual” Processes
There are certain processes that are recurring within any business. Whether that’s daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly… Identify what these processes are and pin down why they are running smoothly.
If they’re not running smoothly then try to map out a production process that you think will help tackle the problems they face. Question stakeholders, write communication flows and approval processes.
These every-day or repetitive tasks are what you’re most comfortable with so they shouldn’t be too difficult to map out a process for. Once you’ve done this, let this strategy be the foundation for your larger internal communication strategy.
3. Look at internal brand
An internal communication strategy involves communication guidelines. These guidelines should emphasize the type of business environment you want to create. You’ll need to go into this process knowing exactly what kind of company culture you’re looking to build.
Work with your HR and marketing team to pin down an internal brand. What are your brand values? What’s your mission and vision? Once you’ve got these in black and white, make sure they’re translated into your communication guidelines.
Having these in place can not only help with improving company culture but will set the terms for how your staff engages with each other. How your team acts internally will affect the outcome of their work and how they enjoy working in your company.
4. Everything starts from within
It’s essential that any external communications are well distributed internally first. There’s nothing worse than a member of staff seeing communications regarding something they know nothing about. It can be frustrating for the staff member as well as jeopardize their work.
When you’re looking to set up an internal communications strategy make sure there’s a stage in any process that informs or updates stakeholders. Everyone inside the company should know what’s going on, before your customers or follower base does.
5. Manage your managers
Great communication needs to be led by example. Focus on your management team throughout this process. It’s essential that you train them to be efficient in the communication tools you’ll be using to be able to train their own team on them.
Managers should have their own guidelines for communication to make sure they are leading the way in how interactions happen between staff. Make sure they lead with respect, clarity and acknowledge achievements not just problems.
Managers need to be flexible and accommodating, within reason, to other people’s work styles. Project management for remote teams should lead the way for project management processes for in-office teams, it will see that processes are better tracked.
It’s important to empower your teams so they are set up for success. A great way of doing this is for each team member to write and lead a “How To” guided session on themselves. Let them discuss their pet peeves, when they’re typically most productive, the reason they need to hear lots of feedback or don’t. This will strengthen your team’s bond, no matter where they are in the world, and they’ll be more empathetic towards each other when problems run their course.
Lastly, make sure you flesh out a cascade strategy for critical company notices. If your company does ever fall into a time of crisis, it can completely break staff morale if they hear rumors of changes, or truths for that matter, from a colleague before they hear it from their manager.
Make sure you’re as prepared as you can be for crisis and there’s an order to cascade information so that the workforce is delivered news efficiently and through the responsible person.
6. Meetings & Necessary Communication
Especially within a remote workforce, you’ll realize the importance of having, or not having, meetings.
Value your face time set up with your teams, keep meetings concise, planned and always make sure to follow up on actions.
Host video meetings
It’s important to utilize video calls when you can. It will enable your teams to better understand each other with body language, make sure employees are engaged, and will often give a talking point for the beginning of the meeting.
Be considerate with emails
Take your necessary communication a step further by minimizing emails between teammates and finding a chat platform that’s a suitable solution. Make sure the platform can do everything you need, as well as is an enjoyable place to be.
Encourage connections between your staff
Give people a reason to connect outside of work-related issues. Just because you’re not in the same office doesn’t mean you can’t come together and connect. Find common ground that you can connect people on, set them up with the platform or the tools and resources they need to connect and let them do it.
7. Company news is important – deliver it
This may seem like a simple one but it’s one of the things that remote workers often miss out on and one of the key factors to help them understand the business and their work better.
Over 50% of remote employees feel disconnected from in-office employees. Things that may be a quick word in the office need to be shared digitally, alongside the larger things. Set up an internal communication method to get company news across.
This could be anything from birthdays, work anniversaries to business pivots or new starters. Make sure you find an engaging way to notify everyone in the company of what’s happening and they’ll thank you for it.
8. Track efforts with data
Lastly, track all of your efforts with data to help you grow, evolve and make informed business decisions to enhance this strategy. Set communication goals and KPIs.
What does success look like for an internal communication strategy that’s working? Is it shown in productivity? Social engagements? Referrals for new roles within the company? Glass Door reviews?
Track the quantitative data alongside the qualitative data that you can collect by sending out an internal staff survey. Combine all of this. See what you can learn from data and how you can improve your strategy to adapt to the world’s ever-changing remote climate.
Wrapping it up
Follow these eight steps to go about introducing a successful internal communication strategy within your company. Remember, just because it’s an internal communication doesn’t mean it should be confined to the walls of an office.
The best communication strategies are those that encompass the entire workforce, inhouse or out.
Don’t rush the process, be ready to reroute along the way and always be adjusting depending on the feedback and data you collect.
Communication is as much of a process as any other business task. Rock it and you’ll rock great work.
Ray Slater Berry has been working in social media and content marketing for eight years. He specializes in the tech, innovation and travel sectors. He is a writer for Typeform and has recently published his first work of fiction, Golden Boy.