These days, internal communications is about much more than just a dry company newsletter. Rather, it’s a tool to connect and align the goals of employees — as teams, departments and individuals — with those of the business as a whole. It facilitates inter-employee communication, collaboration and connections, driving engagement and fostering dialogues.
The benefits of this approach are simple: boosting engagement inevitably boosts productivity. When your staff feel appreciated, heard, trusted and a valuable part of a whole, they’re much more likely to put in the effort to get things done. And if your internal communications articulate a clear message about business goals and direction, then that effort is more likely to be channeled towards the right end.
Identifying your audience
The foundation of a strong internal communications programme is a unified, comprehensive strategy, and the first step towards this is understanding your audience. Knowing your employees, their desires, their goals and how they fit into the business is key to building lasting engagement. While you might not get it quite right the first time, if your internal communications programme encourages conversation, you’re likely to gain enough feedback and insight over time to tweak your strategy accordingly. If you need more detail on your audience, focus groups, in-depth consultation and employee surveys are all powerful means of gathering greater insight.
Getting management on board
Another thing to consider during this phase is senior management buy-in, and convincing the leadership team to get on-board has a number of benefits. Enthusiastic early adoption means the strategy can be well-integrated across the business and senior management can act as exemplars and role models to reinforce the messaging.
Hitting the target
A key factor in driving engagement through internal communications is communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time. Inundating your employees with constant, potentially irrelevant email updates will detract from the other, more valuable messages you need to get across.
This means you need to take the time to think about your different audiences, what they need to know, and how best to inform them. If you’re following a plan — which you should be — it’s much easier to avoid missteps and risk undoing your good work.
Choosing the right channel
For effective, engaging internal communications, it’s not just about then when — it’s about the how too.
Social platforms such as Yammer, Slack and Hipchat let employees share articles, discuss new ideas, canvas opinion and keep in touch with the wider business. Online collaboration tools such as Google Docs allow multiple users to work together in the same document, streamlining the way teams work together. These tools cut down on the need for extraneous internal communications while also helping employees connect with each other: any smart strategy should include them where possible.
Dialling up that dialogue
It might sound glib but everyone values their own opinions and wants them to be heard. Allowing employees to express their thoughts openly and having senior leaders reply honestly builds a collaborative and motivating workplace
An essential aspect of developing an internal communications programme that encourages useful dialogue is transparency. This means that as much as possible, messaging should be genuine, establishing a culture of trust. Not only will this help to engage employees and boost loyalty and mutual respect across departments and levels of the business, it will also make it more likely that employees will share useful, thought-out feedback.
Breaking down barriers
It is increasingly important is the increasing need for businesses to communicate with a wide range of employees who may not have equal access to various technologies. Warehouse workers for instance may not be able to check emails regularly; remote workers could be unavailable for otherwise compulsory meetings.
In these situations, social media can be a powerful tool. The flexibility of such platforms — enabling staff to engage on their own terms, simply and conveniently — can drive huge boosts in engagement as a result.
Inject some personality for inspiring comms
It’s important that your internal communications aren’t just informative — for greatest effect, they should be inspirational as well. That doesn’t mean you always need to be doling out praise — though you definitely should when warranted — but it does mean that you should try to align your messaging with the business’s mission statement and values.
Speaking of alignment, your internal communications programme should also harness the personality traits your business embodies. Injecting a bit of personality into your communications make them less of a chore to read and more engaging too.
How Rocksalt can help you
Having read all of this, you may be left with the feeling that your internal communications programme could do with some tweaks, a new focus or maybe even a complete reboot. Fortunately, there’s no time like the present.
We’re experienced in developing and delivering internal communications content for a range of corporate clients, and we know how to engage and inspire employees at every level. We’ll take the time to get to know your organisation, how it works, what it needs, and its tone of voice, so when you bring us on board, you can be sure that we’re speaking with you — not for you.
We can help whatever stage your business is at: whether you need to develop a strategy, hone your tone of voice, or leverage different platforms to engage with your teams. And, of course, we'll power your internal comms with the finest writers and editors - our people helping you to really connect with your people.
Take the first step and get in touch.