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The role for internal communications has shot up the corporate agenda over the course of the pandemic, with so many of us now running businesses with hybrid teams. Whilst most marketing teams have traditionally placed emphasis on communicating externally with customers, clients and stakeholders, we all now realise the importance of internal communications to effectively run our businesses. If you haven’t yet got around to upping your internal comms game, now’s the perfect time. Our podcast this week is all about creating an internal communications strategy, you can stream it here or read on for more tips!
According to research by Accenture, businesses that invest in stellar internal communications attract more talent, have higher levels of workforce engagement, productivity and retention. This in turn directly improves a business’ financial performance, with companies with effective internal communication strategies and highly engaged workforces being 21 percent more profitable than those with poor engagement.
So where to start? Below are some of our tips to help make your internal communications successful:
- Create an internal communications plan that supports your overall business objectives so you can be sure your internal communications is focusing on what matters.
- Overlay both your internal and external communications plans so that announcements can be timed and information tailored for different audiences.
- Be clear about the reason for every piece of communication and what you want it to achieve. Think about the outcome rather than the output.
- Discuss any approvals needed with HR, lawyers or senior managers, so enough time is built in for smooth and swift sign off.
- Recognise the backdrop to your communications activity may change and be prepared to adjust the communication approach, pace and tone.
- Be clear who is communicating what to who, when and check any caveats are understood.
- To help tailor communications, know your audience by regularly conducting stakeholder analysis, pulse surveys, focus groups and channel audits.
- Keep core communications messages simple, transparent, and honest.
- Deliver messages in a timely way and preferably internally before going external.
- Create compelling content and use plain English that focuses on your audience – what does this mean for them?
- Let the content drive the communications channel selection, rather than the other way around!
- Recognise that people respond in different ways and even though the communication is delivered effectively, the message still might not be liked or understood. Use a range of different communication methods for key messages to ensure you are reaching as many of your potential audience as possible.
- Get others involved by sharing draft content for input. This can really help with getting the tone right and eliciting what employees might be worried about.
- If you ask for ideas and involvement then be prepared to listen, allow time for discussion, and give regular updates on what is happening as a result of the input. Show how you’ve listened!
- Just because information has been published don’t assume that it has been read or understood. Monitor, measure, evaluate and don’t forget to share the results!
Good internal communication will improve all areas of your business. Check out our blog on how to improve engagement with your staff here for more insights.