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Internal Communications Part 1: Diving into Strategy

When you think of internal communications, what comes to mind? A memo from the CEO or a town-hall style meeting?

Or do you think of double-digit profit growth?

Memos and meetings are good examples of internal communications, but an internal communications strategy encompasses far more than simple tactics. Plus, it can have a significant impact on your business, including a major boost to your profits.

Did you know a healthy internal communications strategy can empower employees, which in turn increases productivity by 36 percent and customer satisfaction by 40 percent? Those numbers translate directly into profit hikes of almost 30 percent.

While focusing on internal communications often takes a back seat in the day-to-day of putting out fires and meeting client needs, making it a priority can have enormous ripple effects that include:

• Increase employee’s understanding of the company’s core values and strategic plan
• Help maintain a connection with employees at all levels
• Empower middle management as they engage with their groups and share information with all company tiers
• Promote transparency, a top factor in worker happiness
• Open opportunities for two-way communication for employees to provide regular and as-needed feedback, changing the structure from top-down to a web of communication
• Reduce rumors as employees are given the correct information and help to interpret it
• Lessen turnover as employees feel more connected and valued
• Tear down silos that limit communication between groups or company segments
• Help you to be prepared if a crisis occurs, as internal communications are a foundational piece of crisis management
• Create a culture of openness and empowerment
• And more!

While it may feel overwhelming to know where to start, the GRIT team has the following tips to help you formulate a plan to execute.

Internal Communications Strategy Planning

Begin by identifying your end goal. Is it to better cascade messaging? Create two-way communication? Build awareness of the company strategy? Find your goal, and then build out your strategy and toolbox to get there. Consider the following:

• Who you will be communicating with (who is the audience)?
• What messages you need to communicate?
• What action(s) you want your internal audiences to take?
• What channels you will use?
• What team or individuals will be the communication managers?
• How you will measure outcomes?
• How you will take messages from the idea to execution (process)?

Be sure to align every level of the strategy with your overarching business goals. These steps involve senior leadership, communications professionals, human resources and your employee base.

Plus, ask your staff how they’d like to be communicated with, what times are best for them to receive information, and what information about the company they find most important to know. A successful internal communications strategy includes both what leadership wants to share with employees, and also what employees want to know and how they like to be engaged.

Once you have your strategy formulated, it’s time to start working on tactics. Plan on testing and piloting your ideas to get feedback before you reach full launch. You can also launch in phases to continue to build out the strategy over time. And be sure to evaluate and adjust your approach as time goes on and you gather feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

Tackling internal communications is a top priority for companies looking to improve employee engagement, customer satisfaction and productivity. If you’re looking to create an internal communications strategy or need help executing tactics, reach out to us at [email protected] or (717) 885-0014 to start a conversation!