Effective Internal Communication: Best Practices & Tips

Developing an Internal Communications Strategy: Expert Tips
Industry
Internal Comms
26.07.2022
Read time: 13 min

There is no type of relationship that doesn’t rely on solid communication. Within an organization, communication sets the foundation for how everyone and everything operates, which is why having an effective internal communication plan is so valuable. 

In this article, we will review what there is to know about an internal communication strategy, as well as look at some internal communication examples to help you forge your own. 

What is Internal Communication?

Internal communication is how an organization shares information with its employees. Companies use  external communication plans for marketing and sales promotion, which often become a main focus. 

At the same time, companies should also give a lot of attention to their internal communication plan because it can end up being even more important. 

This is because an effective internal communication plan is what allows for information to flow properly between departments and people. As a result, operations run smoothly, employees are more engaged and invested in organizational goals, and companies can nurture a positive company culture. 

What are the Benefits of Internal Communication?          

The trend within workplaces continues to be one where employees seek more transparency and feedback than ever before. 

As a result, an internal communication strategy is making its way into the spotlight so that organizations can attract and retain employees who are engaged and genuinely care about the output of their labor. 

With effective internal communication, organizations can breed a company culture that benefits from:

1. Increased Employee Engagement 

Employee engagement happens when organizations are able to align an employee’s personal goals and efforts with the company’s goals and objectives. This hinges on communication as employees must understand how and why their work is of great value to the bigger picture. 

2. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction 

When employees are more engaged and clear of what’s going on internally, they are able to do their job better and satisfy customers more efficiently and effectively. Clear lines of communication have a positive effect on everyone. 

3. Agility and Resilience 

Internal communication also sets the guidelines for how to deal with crises and issues. This way, employees are equipped to react with agility and invite changes rather than run from challenges. 

4. Improved Transparency 

Effective internal communication makes transparency a reality within a company. A clear and direct communication plan can reduce the chance of misinterpretation and misunderstanding that often occurs as a result of word-of-mouth communication. 

Why Does Poor Internal Communication Matter?       

Just like the upsides of having effective internal communication can make a major difference in how a business and its people work, the lack of good communication can make for detrimental consequences. 

With poor internal communication, employees may lose morale and their desire to work toward company goals. If they feel misunderstood or like they don’t know what is happening in the business, it could cause them to lose their amount of care and effort. 

Additionally, poor communication leads to less collaboration between departments as everyone feels stuck in their silo. 

Ultimately, poor communication can stifle innovation and good ideas from becoming known and being heard. Instead, companies can leverage their internal communication plan to keep everyone involved, engaged, and looped in. An email newsletter can be a great way to keep departments and employees connected.

Whether its department-specific or organization-wide newsletter, an easy-to-use email builder can make it seamless to create, share, and track messages to employees. 

What is Effective Communication?       

Effective communication boils down to a few traits. When achieved, you can develop an internal communication plan that is able to promote these characteristics, which involve:

  • Clear and concise language 
  • Consistent communication 
  • A two-way dialogue 
  • Objective language 
  • An understanding of your audience 
  • Utilization of an accessible medium for communication 
  • Nonverbal behavior that reinforces verbal communication 

Keeping these key factors in mind, let’s look at how you can develop an internal communication strategy. Then, we will touch on how you can put your plan into action. 

What are the Steps for Internal Communication Strategy?       

Follow this list of steps to create an effective internal communication strategy:

1. Assess Your Current Strategy 

Start by reviewing your current internal communication strategy. Ask questions like: How is our plan performing currently? Who is involved? What tools are we using or can we use? 

The research phase can help to discover what gaps exist between where you are and where you want to be. It may also help to include your employees to receive feedback from them. 

2. Plan a New Strategy

As you continue on your effective internal communication journey, you’ll then want to define your goals and objectives. What you’ve completed in the prior step will help to gauge how you will plan a new strategy. 

During this step, don’t forget to define a timeline for your strategy because this is what will make it come to fruition. Additionally, determine what key metrics you will use to measure the success of your new strategy once it’s been implemented. 

3. Define and Segment Your Audience

With your strategy ready, you’ll need to consider your audience. While an effective internal communication plan can be used for different audience groups, you’ll need to develop these groups so you can tailor your content accordingly. 

For example, you may want to send out an internal communications newsletter that only is relevant to your finance department. By segmenting your audience, you can deliver a specific newsletter about finance regulation updates as opposed to blasting your entire organization with information they may not need to receive. 

4. Get Approval and Involvement 

Internal communication plans require everyone to be on board. Be sure to involve different teams and departments so that they know what is to be expected of them when it comes to sharing and receiving updates and information. 

5. Choose Communication Tools

There are a variety of tools you can use in isolation or combination with one another. Most companies leverage social media, intranet, video conferencing platforms, instant messaging tools, and email newsletters to share internal communication. 

Internal communications newsletters prove to be highly effective because they can be tailored and analyzed. For example, with an email builder tool, you can select a professional pre-built template, customize your content, and send your newsletter to your desired audience or your existing email provider quickly and effectively. 

6. Evaluate Progress

Given that you defined your metrics for success a few steps prior, be sure to evaluate and monitor your new internal communication plan to ensure its effectiveness. You can ask questions like: Should we increase communication frequency? Are people receiving our communication? How can we improve? 

Group of people working with laptop

Picture source Pexels

What are Best Practices for Internal Communication?       

To make the most out of your internal communication strategy, try out these recommendations and best practices. 

1. Enable Two-Way Communication 

Workplace communication shouldn’t always be top-down. Provide employees with the opportunity to communicate bottom-up and to one another. You can do so by implementing tools designed for this, such as instant messaging tools, an interactive email newsletter with the option to reply back or respond to surveys. 

It also involves the creation of employee engagement programs, which are campaigns to promote employee participation in communication plans. 

2. Stay Up-to-Date 

Keep up with your employees by remaining consistent and reaching them via a variety of touchpoints. This may include joining Teams or Slack channels, developing an internal communications committee in which members provide updates about initiatives, or even through a virtual suggestion box (especially as the trend of remote work is on the rise). 

3. Involve Managers

Allow managers to take responsibility for communication plans as they are often the go-to for employees. When rolling out new company-wide initiatives or updates, managers can spearhead the communication effort and streamline questions and feedback to higher-ups. 

How to Develop an Internal Communication Content Strategy?     

You know how the saying goes, “Content is king.” At the heart of your effective internal communication plan sits the content, or the message you aim to convey and disseminate. 

To build a great content strategy for you communication plan: 

1. Choose High Value Content

Consider what content is of utmost importance to share. If you flood your employees with messages and updates constantly, the items of high value will get lost. 

2. Shake Up What You Share

Keep it fun and exciting by sharing different types of content over time. For example, you can share company updates, job listings, events, recognition and awards, or brand content. 

3. Create a Company Newsletter

Make use of a company newsletter for your internal communications. Internal communication newsletters can be beautifully and professionally designed using web-based email builders so you can focus your time on the content while the design is essentially already taken care of for you. 

With easy drag and drop design and simple export to your existing email service provider there is no need for designer or coders. Additionally, with an email newsletter builder you gain access to analytics that can help you monitor the success and engagement levels of your content. 

The Bottom Line 

An effective internal communication plan has three main elements: what you share, when you share, and how you share. By crafting your internal messages with your audience in mind, you can create and deliver compelling and necessary content consistently. 

This way, your employees feel engaged and tapped into what’s happening within the organization. 

When developing your internal communication plan, take a look at how internal communication newsletters can help to achieve your goals and enhance employee engagement. 

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