Creating an internal communications strategy for your organisation needn't be strenuous. Mix together a healthy dose of common sense, a sprinkling of empathy and a smattering of logical thinking and you'll be well on your way.
Whether you're managing a team of 15 freelancers all working remotely, or an organisation of thousands based on one site, the end goal is still the same – equip your staff with the information they need to do their jobs properly and make them feel like their voices are being heard.
A good internal communications strategy will keep an organisation informed and empowered. There's a good chance that if you care for your business and understand your staff you'll already be communicating effectively with them.
Creating an internal communications plan will help ensure that your employees get the right messages at the right time, in a tone of voice that they can relate to, whilst also building in contingency plans if something changes. Always ensure though there are accessible routes so that questions and suggestions can come from the bottom up.
A simple and effective method to deploy when planning any internal communications strategy is to ask yourself all of the following questions:
Is this message vital for every employee or is it only relevant to a small proportion of your workforce? If it's not a message that's vital for all, it may still be useful for other staff to be informed of the change so they understand its wider context.
Is this a message that needs to come from your leader or is it best that it is anonymous and from the company as a whole? This decision will depend on how you like to operate. It can be useful for staff to begin to identify with a particular individual sending messages that relate to a specific communication.
No seriously, what is the point in your message? Do your team need to do something differently, do they have to complete a survey, are they being made redundant? Make sure you have a clear goal defined otherwise your staff will be left asking themselves 'what were they trying to achieve there?'.
Do you have access to an intranet? Is this a message that needs to be communicated in meetings? Again, understanding your organisation is key to this element of planning. If you have a workforce who are largely on the road, there's no point in putting a poster in the office toilets. Likewise, if your team have limited access to emails there no point in sending round a weekly e-bulletin.
When does you message need to be delivered and are there key landmarks on your timeline? Understand when your messages need to be delivered and when they're likely to be accessed. Do you want to deliver hard-hitting news at the end of the week when your audience will have the whole weekend to dwell on the news and no one to answer their questions or reassure them?
Is it best to use your intranet, email, a poster, or should your employees hear the information from the horse's mouth so to speak? This decision is vital and will probably be the difference between your message being a success or quietly sinking.
Ensure that your communications are reviewed. What worked and what didn't? Did your communications strategy achieve what it set out to do? If you're sending a weekly email, how do your open rates look, is anyone paying attention?
It's hard to make a hash of this simple recipe, but for further advice and a little guidance why not speak to us?
Article written by James P Searle
James is an internal communications professional with experience in the education, local government and private sectors. His a competent copywriter and has experience in e-PR. James is educated to degree level in journalism and is currently part of the SKY internal comms team.