What Every HR Department Needs to Know About Internal Communication

Internal communication drives your workforce toward the goals you all share: optimal productivity, collaboration, high morale, and profit.

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What Every HR Department Needs to Know About Internal Communication

When it comes to external communication, many companies get it right. They budget time and money to develop formidable communication strategies that appeal to customers and generate sales. Yet many fall short at the heart of the business: the internal communication that drives the workforce. While the audiences are different, the primary goal is the same: Appeal to the people you want to attract and retain by offering them solutions and support for meeting their goals.

As for your internal audience, remember that their goals are your goals: optimal productivity, collaboration, morale, and end results. It’s time to move internal communication from your wish list into action. Here’s a look at its main elements, how to implement your strategy, and some companies that are doing it right.

Why establish a strong internal communication plan?

It’s hard for any company, no matter its industry, size or talent, to compete if team members don’t communicate effectively. But good internal communication won’t blossom by itself. It requires the use of effective communication channels, tools, and processes. With a plan, HR and business managers can improve project management and collaboration, increase efficiencies, maximize employee engagement, and more.

Elements of an effective workplace communications plan 

A strong internal communications strategy includes a process, a list of desired outcomes, and a way to measure success. Before drafting an organizational communication plan, understand the damaging effects of poor communication. Figure out what is and isn’t working and why. Start by soliciting feedback from management and employees. Once gaps in communications are identified, they can help steer the creation of a solid strategy that everyone can embrace. A workplace communications plan should:

  • Be based on the established company culture.
  • Be consistent in tone and style.
  • Identify which communication channels will be used in which situations.
  • Determine the timing and length of messages.
  • Offer 360-degree support for management, team members, and remote workers.
  • Earn buy-in from everyone involved.

Before drafting an organizational communication plan, understand the damaging effects of poor communication. Figure out what is and isn’t working and why.

Implementing an internal communications strategy that works

Formulating an effective communication strategy that employees will embrace can be a challenge. Some team members are set in their ways and may be reluctant to learn and use new communication tools. Others may have little or no interest in improving their communication skills. Consider these points to get everyone on board with a workable plan:

  • Find new ways to engage employees. Workplace communication doesn’t have to be dry as dirt. Liven it up with video and multimedia content. Redesign the company intranet, making it more appealing and user-friendly. Encourage employees to share knowledge through casual interactions. Be inclusive, focusing on employee engagement for all on-site and remote employees.
  • Choose the right internal communication platforms to improve employee communication. These should be accessible across multiple device types and be customizable. Look for platforms that offer open silos and support rich formats to elevate user experience.
  • Provide group training to mitigate confusion, frustration, time wasted and avoidance by those less quick to adapt. Tools that fit the organization’s goals are pivotal to a strategy’s success.
  • Keep the company mission at the forefront. In your mission to improve communication in your organization, don’t lose sight of the broad company vision. While granular project information is important, so are reminders about the company’s core values and brand promise. Sprinkle a steady diet of big-picture communication into your internal communication strategy.
  • Encourage employee feedback. Embrace open, honest, and frequent feedback, key building blocks to successful two-way communication. Employees want their opinions to matter. Offer multiple communication channels for their input and solicit it through company software, an office whiteboard or anonymous surveys. Typically, organizations benefit from the insights, criticisms and suggestions that spring forth. Plus, the chance to offer feedback will likely boost engagement and overall employee satisfaction.

Examples of companies that get communications right

Navigating how to achieve good internal communication takes work. Many companies have invested the time to build internal comms that are paying off big. Consider these 5 internal communication examples for inspiration:

  • Amazon employees communicate in concise, brief messages of 100 words or fewer. There’s no mountain of long, wordy emails to slog through. This provides team members time to read and reply to almost every communication they receive.
  • Starbucks has driven home the concept that their employees are brand ambassadors. By communicating the mission, the company creates an environment in which everyone is on the same page working toward the overarching company goal.
  • Zappos takes internal comms so seriously that the company addresses open communication among its core values. This builds employee trust, whether team members are on-site or performing remote work. Authenticity and honesty go hand-in-hand, encouraged from the top down.
  • USAA redesigned its internal communication platform. Its thousands of busy employees now receive information and updates without wasting time. Digital communication empowers team members to digest the messages without losing productivity.
  • Hershey has staff around the world. They connect via a central intranet system for internal communication. Increasing team collaboration and making employees feel connected were two of the main goals, and the strategy did both.

Why a workplace communications strategy is crucial

Developing your best workplace communications strategy may seem like a daunting or “luxury” task, but it’s a sound business strategy when it delivers ROI. Those who do it forge company success with seamless workflows, enhanced productivity and higher employee engagement and morale companywide. With a clear plan, everyone can stay focused on the big picture.

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