Do you know the key elements of internal communication?
When thinking about your employee communications, you need to think much more than just sending out a quick note to your people.
You need to think about the big picture. How your communication could impact your business activities, projects, stakeholder response, brand, and business reputation.
Are your communications going out close to any awareness and national day (International Women’s Day, Pancake Day, National Book Day). Should your messages help promote these, do they help to promote your key strategic messages?
Now all this can seem pretty daunting, especially when you think about it as a whole. So, let’s break it down.
You need to understand how your communications can be aligned to your business strategy and business objectives. What do you need to achieve in the next year, two years, five years.
Understand your focus areas. Then look at how your people may be affected by your business objectives, what do they need to know, do they need to take any action, what changes are happening?
All these need to be fed into your communication strategy, because it is only with comms that you’ll be able to actively impact what your people do, when, where and how.
- Key messages
To make sure that your communication is clear and focused you need to devise a series of key messages. These form the backbone of your communications.
They will guide what you say, who you say it to, and how. They are the core pieces of information you need to tell to deliver the programme, project, campaign, or event in your business.
So, say you have a change programme. You can focus on what’s changing, the reasons for the change, the benefits of the change and when it will be complete. With these clear messages you can create a whole host of content for your people to digest.
- Communication channels
When communicating with your people it’s important to think about how you should communicate with them.
Does demographic have any impact on how they communicate? Which technology do they use?
Do they use laptops, smart phones, has the business invested in communication technology? Do they have an intranet? An enterprise social network?
Analyse which channels are used most and use these to put out your communications.
Reach your people where they are most likely to engage.
- Responsibilities and processes
Communication is not one way. It relies on two-way interaction. First to tell the message, then to receive feedback, start discussion, innovation, and growth.
Remember, internal communication is about facilitating the sharing of communication and information with a business. It connects its people, from leaders to volunteers, to line managers and employees.
You can communicate, but it does rely on people acting following on from communication.
If not, action takes place, then nothing changes, develops, or grows.
- Communication plan
Now, there’s a saying which I hear a lot. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
This is very true with internal communication.
You can’t just go off on the fly and do things without a plan.
Do your research, understand what you’re communicating. Think about what reaction people will have to these messages. Do you have the right framework and support in place? Where can people find more information? Who else can they speak to? Is there a help line?
It’s not only about sending out messages, but also about getting your infrastructure in place before you send out your messages.
Set out your plan. Set out your framework and infrastructure. Then when you’re ready, press go and send out your messages and make your impact.
With all the planning in the world, there are things which just happen out of your control. That is why it is important to keep tabs on PESTLE – political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors.
They affect how businesses behave, react, and develop. Take this pandemic as an example.
Most businesses overnight changed their ways of working to allow remote working, they had to bring in new technology. Push out training to get people up to speed on how to use digital platforms, to follow new processes. Clients had to interact with businesses differently.
All decisions were now based on the updates from the Government. From how other countries were reacting.
Keep all of this in mind when developing your comms. They are all factors when putting together the key elements of internal communication.