What an Internal Communication Strategy Is — Plus How to Build One

With the right internal communication strategy, a business can create the standards for optimal team engagement and productivity.

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Build an Internal Communication Strategy

Internal communications is a key area every organization should emphasize and continuously improve upon. At first glance, it may appear that your leadership and their teams have it down pat. But a deeper dive into your company culture may reveal people struggling to juggle emails, chats, and texts every day.

Developing an internal communication strategy can help resolve potential problems with messages being lost, misinterpreted, or ignored. A whopping 97% of employees surveyed on behalf of RingCentral said better communication tools would impact their daily productivity. Other widespread reports indicate that poor communication causes missed deadlines, which equate to lost revenue and frustrated customers.

A formal, written internal communication plan can resolve these and related problems and offer other organizational benefits. You might be wondering what an internal communications strategy plan is and what it entails. Essentially, it’s a strategic plan for optimizing employee communications, outlining how employees communicate internally and externally. This article will outline why you should establish one and where to begin.

Assess the current state of communications

Poor communication can damage employee engagement and upset other key stakeholders, such as vendors and customers. Alternatively, striving to improve internal communication efforts goes a long way to correcting these and other issues that can arise.

Start by assessing the current state of communications — step one of internal communications planning. Plan to address things like the strengths and weaknesses of your communications channels and the frequency of messaging. To create an internal communications plan you expect your teams to follow, it’s wise to get employee feedback and suggestions. A company survey, whether respondents are identifiable or anonymous, is a smart way to collect it. Employees may point out problematic issues that affect them every day that your business leaders may not know about.

To create an internal communications plan you expect your teams to follow, it’s wise to get employee feedback and suggestions. A company survey, whether respondents are identifiable or anonymous, is a smart way to collect it.

What are the components of a strong internal communication strategy?

Typically, the development of an effective communications strategy involves the following components:

  • Clearly define company vision, mission, goals and objectives.
  • Consider communication goals that align with business objectives.
  • Examine current performance.
  • Promote a feeling of personal connection.
  • Decide on internal comms goals and how they’ll be measured.
  • Select robust yet user-friendly communication platforms.
  • Determine a reasonable communications strategy timeline.
  • Adopt a rough plan of how often communications occur.
  • Decide who will serve as the internal communications team.
  • Outline key metrics, or measurements, for success.
  • Decide how you’ll measure success.

You might have different audiences to reach, so one aligned set of expectations may not be suitable for all addressees. In that case, you might need to develop more than one set of communications guidance for:

  • Identifying both internal and external audiences associated with the organization, including remote workers.
  • Appealing to visual and auditory senses when possible.
  • Outlining how managers disseminate information to employees.
  • Setting the organization’s tone, writing style, and content preferences.
  • Deciding what communication methods and/or communication tools will be used for internal comms and external messaging.

Set a specified timeline for circling back to reassess how your newly established plan is working. And follow up on your goals and examine performance metrics to gauge success after your communication strategy implementation. Depending on what you find, you may have to revisit issues and rethink your strategies to correct any shortfalls. Also, address any workplace underperformances and see if they’re linked to poor employee communication.

Lastly, explore HR and leadership communication. If these key stakeholders aren’t leading by example, it will be difficult to create a successful program. This may be the root of your problems and will need immediate correction.

No one-size-fits-all solution, but worth the effort

Performing change management to an internal communications strategy isn’t always an easy task. It involves research, planning, and effort, and it’s important to understand there is no one-size-fits-all effective internal communication solution.

However, organizations that successfully create one find the benefits immense. A good plan empowers your organization to problem solve, and attain better customer satisfaction and overall better internal messaging. It also results in increased collaboration, improved working relationships, greater trust, better transparency, stronger productivity, fewer mistakes, and lower turnover.

In short, achieving these benefits that are naturally derived from a carefully constructed internal comms strategy can eliminate costly problems and enable companies to meet vital business goals. Achieving great internal communication success on all levels takes time, attention and work — but it’s worth it. As you streamline, you’ll begin to eliminate mishaps and misunderstandings, strengthen company culture, improve employee engagement, and watch productivity soar. Your organization will be positioned to present as a fully functioning and united workplace that delivers.

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Take your internal communications strategy to the next level

If you’re looking to take your organization to the next level of internal communication processes and plans, Zenefits can help. Our team is fully equipped to help HR professionals and leadership teams develop successful internal communications strategies that boost employee engagement and overall performance.

Contact us today to learn more about our services. Have us demonstrate an optimal internal communications strategy so you can visualize what to expect.

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