5 best practices for devising a winning internal comms strategy

Leaders recognize the value of internal communications in organizational success more now than ever. What used to be a non-stop flow of unopened emails and unread memos has now become a mash-up of new and intuitive forms of communication. But, is your organization communicating in the best way it can?

Internal communications best practices should be your communications lifeboat. Internal communications are responsible for both the message AND how well that message is conveyed. Knowing that there are practices put in place to support your communication goals is integral to effectively sharing your core messages with your organization.

How executives relate to and engage with their employees directly correlates to how committed staff will be to their roles. The best internal communications aren’t just trapped in a top-down relationship. They move in all directions across the company, from bottom to top and even peer to peer.

With this, employees will understand the management goals, the roles of their colleagues, as well as any organizational concerns or plans. This, in turn, fosters collaboration and increased productivity.

What people want out of IC is an employee-focused plan that highlights important information while introducing a social aspect. Below are five internal communications best practices that will help you do just that.

1. Go mobile

While focusing on the quality of content is essential to your internal communications, it’s important to consider the reach of your message. When it comes to communications, the greater the reach, the better.

Trying to include even the most remote employees means you should be looking for the most creative digital solutions. Introducing mobile applications can be the best way to deliver your internal communications and ensure employee engagement from all your staff.

Future of work survey go mobile

Mobile communications aren’t just limited to text messages and email applications. Consider bringing your intranet on the go with responsive native mobile apps that give employees the power to communicate from anywhere.

There are lots of channels to pick from such as business social applications like Slack or Yammer. Interact technology integrates with many major instant messaging platforms to allow employees to collaborate in real time from within the mobile intranet.

The end goal is to include and engage ALL of your employees. If you are limited by the restrictions of distance, time zone and area, your IC isn’t fulfilling its purpose.

2. No more over-communication

Introducing mobile technology and social applications is a great way to upgrade your internal communications, but don’t get carried away. When it comes to your staff, this best practice principal emphasizes the rule – less is more.

Every piece of corporate comms feels urgent, so it can be tempting to want to make sure it spreads to your audience in every way possible. But when you’re engaging employees who already have no time to spare when receiving your comms, the strategy must change.

Keep things simple. Whether it be controlling the frequency of communication or controlling the means by which it will reach your staff, the key to making your messages widely accessible is prioritizing.

Internal communications best practices overcommunication

Too many mediums? Condense. Find out what communication methods your team prefers and stick to them.

Too much to say? Crop your message. 35% of Millennials and 27% of Boomers say they only engage with content they feel has a great story or theme. Pick out the information that will most benefit your employees. Easily digestible means that employees will absorb your message.

It is almost impossible to total up the many modes of communication available to us in this digital age. Focus on subtly delivering content on a few select mediums instead of sending the same messages on every device.

3. Storytelling

Storytelling is not just best practice for interacting for children. Framing your message in the style of a story can reach even the most resistant of employees.

Storytelling has existed as a major mode of communication for thousands of years, and the benefits have never been stronger. Today’s research shows that we remember stories up to a staggering 22x more than straight-up facts.

Using tools like stories and visuals have proven to engage employees intellectually, and most importantly, emotionally. When used, stories do more than tell; they show employees real-life situations that they can relate to and demonstrate in their daily roles.

Storytelling gets results that other communication methods cannot. Nearly 9 in 10 respondents said a strong narrative (88%) or the story (87%) behind what’s being presented is critical in maintaining the engagement of their audience (2018 State of Attention Report).

Research on the neuroscience of the human mind shows that stories have the power to get our brains working and even release dopamine that makes it easier to remember the message accurately.

storytelling effects

Ultimately, storytelling platforms allow communicators to create content that employees can look forward to. Rather than distributing memos and PowerPoint decks, organizations should focus on cultivating and sharing stories with their employees.

People are more likely to remember and rally behind something that inspires emotion. You just need to pinpoint the most inspiring elements of your organization and create a tale worth telling.

4. Keep track with measurements

You can’t fully understand the impact of your marketing unless you fully understand how your employees view your internal communication efforts.

Yet knowing this, as of this year up to 12% of internal communicators are not conducting any measurements at all. This lack of quantitative or qualitative indicators leaves communicators at a disadvantage.

More than half of organizations have no idea whether or not their IC is positively or negatively influencing their employees. This not only hinders your productivity but also puts at risk your entire organizational success.

To defeat these obstacles, add measuring to your best practice checklist. Your findings will reveal exactly which methods best resonate with your employees so you can get your messages across correctly the first time.

Improved productivity and reports on what actually works for your staff are just a few rewards linked to measuring IC.

internal communications best practice measurement

Ready to get started yet? Your intranet is a great place to begin collecting this data. With a number of features and collaboration tools compatible with your workforce dynamics, your intranet can easily create and track measurable results.

Set key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure which of your internal communications efforts are hitting the mark. You’ll want to know — how many people use the intranet? How often? How are they accessing it? And much more.

Your KPIs can measure everything from email open rates to page click-throughs. But be sure to check them regularly. Keeping a close eye on your results will help establish a balance between your effective comms campaigns and your letdowns.

5. Open up a dialogue

Numbers don’t lie, but they may not always tell the entire story. When it really comes down to it, the best way to find out how effective your comms efforts are is to ask. Unlike quantitative methods, qualitative methods like surveys and discussion forums can give you a direct understanding of your employees’ engagement.

This best practice is all about giving your employees the floor. Your staff are your most important resource. Not because you depend on them to carry out our goals, but because you can depend on them to tell you when you’re off track.

Each and every staff member has a voice. One filled with requests, comments, and insight on how their company can better serve their needs. When those are neglected, the way that employees will respond to future communication attempts can be undesirable.

Counteract these possibilities by opening up a two-way conversation. Whether it be via the intranet, polls or surveys, open communication is a must-have in any organization. These features allow ideas to be expressed in a way that management can quickly receive and tackle.

Not sold on the effectiveness of long polls and surveys? Try out pulse surveys. Adding these short windows to feedback is an efficient way to make sure your organization is continuously learning from your staff and growing.

pulse survey questions interact intranet
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Today, 22% of companies survey employees quarterly or more often, 79% survey employees annually or less, and 14% never survey employees at all (Deloitte).

Listen to the feedback given freely by your staff. You won’t need to guess at where your internal communications are winning or failing. Taking it even further, employee feedback can also teach you how to avoid making mistakes in the future.

Feedback as an internal communications best practice is precisely what’s needed to stay ahead of the curve.

Conclusion

Internal communications best practices have progressed and evolved from its outdated ways. Now, creating a connected and collaborative workspace is even easier thanks to the many tools available.

Prioritizing and listening to your staff is critical in creating a well-planned communications strategy. Once you develop your winning blueprint and utilize these internal communications best practices, you’ll be well on your way to a united and prosperous workplace.