Internal Communication Plan: Strategy & Steps For Success

10.10.2022
Read time: 13 min
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Internal Communication Plan: Strategies & Best Practices
Try Publicate For Free Today
02.03.2022
Read time: 13 min

Whether you’re operating your business in-person or remotely, communication with your employees and stakeholders is a top priority. With an internal communication plan, you can ensure that every person on your team feels involved and included. With these feelings, employees are more likely to remain motivated and engaged in their jobs. 

In this article, we will share internal communications skills and also look at how incorporating an email newsletter can be a great solution to support strategic communication. 

Employees communicating during meeting

Picture source Unsplash

What Is an Internal Communication Strategy?   

An internal communication strategy is a blueprint or roadmap for how to execute your internal communications plan. 

With an internal communication strategy, you can improve employee engagement and outline the type of key messages you wish to share across your organization. A robust internal communication strategy also provides insight as to how teams and departments can communicate with one another to achieve business objectives. 

What is an Internal Communication Plan?       

An internal communication plan is a tool for leadership to document and outline communications. The living document defines:

  • Who: your audiences 
  • What: the information you wish to share
  • How: the channels you’ll use to do so 
  • When: the frequency at which you’ll communicate 

It also can describe how you’ll measure the success of your communications, such as using key performance indicators (KPIs) for open rates of emails, for example. 

The plan should be shared with those who will be executing upon it, such as marketing teams or HR personnel. 

Why is an Internal Communication Strategy Important?   

An internal communication strategy has a direct impact on how your business functions. It is a link between the company’s mission, employers and employees. 

When employees understand the bigger picture and can see how their job role impacts the company’s goals, they are more in tune with their work. As you could guess, an engaged workforce is a more productive and satisfied workforce. Beyond greater productivity, satisfied employees are less likely to turnover. 

What are the Benefits of an Internal Communication Strategy?   

The benefits of implementing an internal communication plan are undeniable. As an organization, you can improve the communication between employer and employees, as well as employees themselves. This leads to stronger employee morale and collaboration. 

Additionally, you can:

  • Ensure everyone is on the same page about company goals
  • Boost productivity 
  • Monitor employee reactions with real insights 

At this point, you may be wondering what the best internal communication platforms are and how you can achieve stellar results. 

You can blend different tools together, such as instant messaging platforms, internal communication newsletters, in-person meetings, and more. 

When it comes to developing internal communication newsletters, you can make use of web-based email builders that allow you to build upon existing templates. Using drag-and-drop functionality, you can customize the newsletters however you see fit. 

Then, you get to reap the advantage of having metrics readily available to gauge how your newsletter performed with your employees such as readership and engagement. Using drag-and-drop functionality, you can customize the newsletters however you see fit. 

Who Writes an Internal Communication Plan?     

Different people are typically involved in the creation of an internal communication plan. In most instances, the strategy comes from the top of the organization with leadership sharing their goals. Then, most HR teams accept the responsibility of executing the internal communication plan. 

Since they have a lot on their plate already, it’s recommended to make use of technology (i.e. email builders) to aid in such efforts. 

What are the Steps to Create an Internal Communication Plan?   

When you’re ready to create your own internal communication plan, keep in mind the following steps that can help to streamline and organize the process. 

1. Define Goals 

If you have an existing internal communication plan, analyze it to ensure you have set objectives. A great rule of thumb is to make use of SMART objectives. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Constrained. 

When considering your internal communication plan, some questions worthwhile to ask include:

  • Is employee productivity at its maximum? 
  • Is employee retention as high as it could be? 
  • Do our employees enjoy their work environment? 
  • How is our company culture? 

2. Measure and Monitor Communication 

Whenever you’re initiating something new in your organization, it pays to know if it’s working in your favor. The only way to do that is to track metrics and monitor it over time. When it comes to communication, how do you know if it's working? The most obvious consideration is how people are reacting and engaging with content. 

For example, if you’re sending email newsletters, you can track email open rates and click-through rates. With an email builder, you’ll receive these metrics automatically upon sending your newsletter. You can also conduct employee focus groups or send out surveys to get a pulse on how your employees are reacting to internal communication methods. 

3. Choose Your Target Audience 

Who you are talking to is as important as what you are saying (some would even argue it’s the most important aspect of communication). The final internal communication plan should be made available to everyone in your organization. However, there will be times when you want to share information that only pertains to a certain department or team. Refer back to your SMART objectives, and this is what is meant by relevance. 

You can always tailor messages to those who are receiving it. To illustrate, if you’re sending out an email newsletter about updated accounting standards, then your IT team probably won’t need to be privy to that information. Your accounting team will, of course. So, you can segment your audience list to just the departments that need the update, and press send! 

4. Pick Your Technology 

The market for internal communication tools is exploding, especially as businesses support remote working practices. Think about your marketing plan for customers– when you try to engage with customers, you consider the tools they are already using and where you are most likely to grab their attention. 

The same should be done for your employees. Think about how you can reach employees at various levels, the type of content they already enjoy, and the messages that you are sending. It’s highly likely that your internal communication plan will consist of various tools for different purposes. 

You can use email builders to create newsletters for company updates, event promotion, new hire introductions, and so many more purposes. If you have sensitive information, it may be better shared in-person or face-to-face using video calling technology. 

5. Craft Your Message

Once you have the technology by your side, it’s time to get to work! The way you write your message will depend on what you want to say and who you are talking to. It’s best to be concise and to-the-point, as well as engaging and inspiring. 

What are Mistakes to Avoid in Building an Internal Communication Plan?   

Knowing the common pitfalls when building an internal communication plan can help you avoid them. 

Some of these include:

  1. Information Overload: Employees are already taking in a lot from their environment and day-to-day tasks. When you overload messages or add unnecessary complexity, it can get lost in translation. That’s why it is best to be direct and concise. 
  2. Irregularity: Try to keep your communications consistent and at set frequencies. This way, your team will know when to anticipate and look out for messages. 
  3. Context: When crafting messages, keep in mind the other projects and responsibilities that your team is dealing with. This way, you are better able to engage with employees and prioritize when to send messages. 
Employees using technology to communicate

Photo from Unsplash

What are Best Practices for an Internal Communication Plan?   

As you recognize the benefits of initiating an internal communication strategy, you’ll want to make it as successful as possible. 

Keep in mind the following best practices: to create beautifully designed email newsletters without knowing even a line of code. 

1. Be Conversational 

Communication goes both ways, so employees should feel that they can respond back or ask questions. By making communication a conversation, you can boost engagement. You can do so with Q&A sessions, company meetings, suggestion boxes, surveys and polls, and even user-generated content for newsletters and such. , Thanksgiving, and more). 

2. Inform Management

Provide managers with the opportunity to be involved. Managers work alongside employees in their day-to-day activities, so they have ears and hands on the ground to help voice employee concerns and questions. When you involve them in the internal communication plan, you can gain insights as to what employees want to know more about. 

3. Empower Employees

Along with involving management, you can empower employees to be brand advocates. Brands that are viewed as authentic have higher levels of customer engagement. When employees are aligned with brand goals and values, they’ll be able to amplify brand messages outwardly. 

Closing Thoughts

By having an internal communication plan in place, you can take your internal communications skills to the next level! An internal communication plan helps to outline and define how people within your organization communicate with one another, as well as what they expect from the organization itself. 

Having a strategy helps to increase engagement and keep everyone on pace and on the path to accomplish business goals. 

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