Without a Plan Your Internal Communication Efforts May Be Falling Flat

I gave a presentation on employee communications recently to a group of about 80 HR people representing about 60 different organizations. I asked the group, through a show of hands, to indicate how many had an internal communication plan. None. Wow. Conversely, a majority of the group hadexternal, or marketing plans in place. What a missed opportunity.

For Effective Marketing Efforts, Focus on Employees First

In my experience, the first step in creating an effective external communication or marketing plan is ensuring that your internal ducks are in a row, so to speak. If your internal constituents—managers and employees—aren’t aligned with your core messages and aren’t serving as ambassadors for your organization, all of your external efforts will be less effective.

Don’t Just Communicate—Communicate Strategically!

Just as with external communication efforts, it’s not enough to simply “do things.” Most organizations have an employee newsletter (print and/or online) and many have a corporate intranet or Slack channel. There are innumerable other communication “tools” that organizations may use to spread messages. But tools aren’t enough. Tools, absent a strategy, are simply items on a “to do” list, representing processes, but not necessarily achieving measurable—or desired—outcomes.

The First Steps in Effective Employee Communication

In developing an internal communication strategy, the key questions—just as with external communications—are:

  • Who, specifically do you want to communicate with? While many companies send the same messages to everyone (that’s easy and efficient after all) some recognize the value of segmenting their employee audience to deliver more specific and more impactful messages). For example, new employees versus seasoned employees, employees with an external customer-facing job versus those serving internal audiences, employees with advancement or leadership potential, etc.
  • What do you want to communicate? What you communicate with any audience should be determined based on your communication objectives and your audience’s attributes.
  • Why are you communicating? What’s your end goal? With employees, chances are you want to change attitudes; strengthen competencies; or improve their understanding and support of company products, services, or initiatives.
  • What will “success” look like? How will you know when you’ve achieved access. Develop metrics to help you monitor, manage, and gauge success. For instance: “By the end of the fiscal year we want 80% of employees to understand and feel confident about communicating our ESG goals.”

Without these answers, you’re simply engaging in activities. And activities, absent some overall plan or focus, represent wasted resources—time and money.

Better Communication Builds Engagement

Aside from the impact on overall brand support and consistency, solid employee communications serve additional purposes—surveys from analyst organizations like Gartner continue to indicate that companies that communicate well, do well. They have the data to prove it. Employees who know what’s going on, know how they impact what’s going on, and have a sense of trust in their management and organization, are more engaged—and productive. That sense of trust will serve you well during difficult times when you may need, for instance, to cut budgets, cut salaries, or cut staff.

Employees are a key organizational resource regardless of company size, industry, or geography. Don’t overlook the value employees can provide for your organization by missing out on the power of internal communication.

(If you’re interested in a white paper that offers a step-by-step process for developing, implementing, and managing an internal communication plan, request it here!)


About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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