Step-by-step guide: internal communication strategy for the most engaged workforce – part II
- Posted by: Ali Ayaz
- Category: Recruitment
In the first part of our guide on internal communication strategy, we focused on tailoring the message to meet employees’ needs. Now it’s time to bring that message to life through effective channel selection. Join us in this next stage as we guide you in selecting channels that align with our goal and effectively engage employees across the organisation. Learn how to assess available internal communication channels, balance consistency with individual employee preferences, and create a seamless and impactful internal communication strategy. Be sure to check out the first part of this guide to fully understand the steps leading up to this detailed process.
7- Determine The Channels
To determine the best channels to use for our internal communication strategy, we should first consider the tactics. Specifically, tactics that will be most effective in delivering our plan and meeting our organisation’s objectives. This process includes the steps below.
- Assessing what various internal communication channels we have available
- Analysing how frequently they have been used in the past
- Considering the potential for experimentation with new channels or combinations of channels
We also need to ensure that all channels are aligned with our overall goal and are not overwhelming or disconnected. If we fail to do so, we would hinder employee engagement. By using a range of channels that cater to individual communication preferences, we can effectively engage and capture the attention of employees across the organisation.
When developing our tactics, it is helpful to create a timeline. Later, we will use this timeline to ensure that all tactics work together seamlessly by including all relevant details. The best channel mix in our strategy will check all or most of the following.
- Creates the most positive awareness of our employer brand
- Engages the most employees and stakeholders with reciprocal communication
- Enables other activities such as pulse surveys
- Includes additional content or material that provides information
- Presents a platform for people to provide feedback and ideas
If we have many KPIs to keep track of or to learn from our first trials, we should categorise them. We can apply categorisation depending on how many creative deliverables and operational man hours they would need. Please bear in mind digital channels are often easier to monitor for KPIs and operational tasks!
7A- Internal emails
This is a widely used internal communication channel for its flexibility. They are often used for invitations, announcements, alerts, top management messages, HR updates, and more. The foremost benefit of emails is that they can be easily stored and searched for within employees’ inboxes. This benefit allows employees to review important information whenever needed.
Many companies use standard email service providers for their internal emails. However, third-party software can provide additional functionalities and tracking capabilities to enhance the effectiveness of this channel. It’s important to regularly review and assess the usage and effectiveness of internal emails. Otherwise, if we rely too heavily on this channel, it can lead to information overload. As a result, we would potentially decrease the overall impact of our internal communication efforts. Additionally, it’s important to consider the needs and preferences of our employee base, as some may prefer alternative methods of communication such as in-person meetings or online chat platforms.
Employee newsletters are a useful tool for internal communication. They provide a regular opportunity for companies to share important updates and news with their employees. These updates mostly include the points below, but are not limited to them.
- Changes to policies or procedures
- Announcements about new projects or initiatives
- Highlights of achievements and successes within the organization
By keeping employees informed and engaged through a newsletter, companies can foster & improve a sense of community. Additionally, we can use newsletters to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of individual employees. As a result, we would help build recognition and morale within the company.
We can realize the newsletter projects in any of the or the combination of the following.
- Printed as magazines or booklets where onsite employees are abundant,
- Distributed as downloadable / online-readable files on internal platforms.
- Shared as internal emails to employees/employee groups.
An intranet is a private, secure network that is only accessible by a company’s employees. It is a powerful internal communication channel that allows companies many functions, like the ones below.
- Post corporate and HR updates
- Publish blogs and videos
- Store and share files & important resources
- High level of customisation that enables companies to structure their intranet to the specific needs of their employees
One of the main challenges of using an intranet is adoption. Many employees may not be in the habit of regularly accessing their company’s intranet. Thus, it may be necessary to drive traffic to the site and highlight its value. Specifically, we can ensure that it becomes an integral part of our internal communication strategy by two main methods below.
- Including links to the intranet in internal emails & other digital channels
- Reminding employees of the resources and information available on the site on other channels.
7D- Mobile apps
Internal mobile apps are an effective internal communication channel for organisations whose most employees are on the field or work remotely. We can use these apps to provide employees the following, and more.
- Access to important information and resources (such as company news, policies, and employee directories)
- Facilitate real-time communication and notifications (such as alerts for important updates or changes in schedules)
- Access to tools for collaboration and communication with colleagues.
Additionally, internal mobile apps can be customised to meet the specific needs of an organisation. For example, these needs may be providing access to company documents or tracking employee progress on projects. Overall, internal mobile apps can improve employee engagement and productivity by providing a convenient and accessible way for employees to stay connected and informed about the happenings of their organisation.
7E- Project management tools
Project management tools can serve as a central hub for internal communication within a team or organization. We can help streamline communication and reduce the risk of miscommunication or confusion by providing a platform for the following.
- Collaborate on tasks and projects
- Track progress
- Post updates & notifications
- Share documents
Additionally, the ability to leave comments and feedback within the tool allows for more inclusive and interactive communication within the team. This can be particularly useful for inclusion-focused projects or events. Finally, we centralise all communication related to a specific project or task in one place. Thus, we can prevent overwhelming employees with information and help them focus better.
Internal blogs are a great way to engage and inform our employees about various topics in more detail than is possible through emails or newsletters. They provide a platform for employees to generate content, share their experiences, and offer their insights on relevant topics. By consistently providing know-how and information to our employees, they will be more likely to visit our internal blog. As a result, we generate the feeling of helping them perform their jobs better to reap the rewards.
Blogs can also be used to realize many communications efficiently. These may include the topics below, and more.
- Recognise the achievements of employees or teams
- Analyse the impact of new policies
- Discuss PR developments
- Highlight internal programs and projects.
If we need to delve deeper into information mentioned in emails or employee newsletters, we consider linking to an internal blog for a more in-depth exploration of the topic. Overall, internal blogs can be a valuable addition to our internal communication strategy. They provide a space for employees to share their thoughts and knowledge, and promote a culture of collaboration and engagement.
7G- Social media
Social media is a highly feedback-centric platform, which makes it a powerful tool for internal communication. When used for internal purposes, it allows employees to engage in conversations and offer their thoughts and ideas on various topics. This not only allows for the exchange of information and ideas, but also fosters a sense of community and connection among employees. Many platforms offer closed, invite-only groups and pages that are only accessible to employees. Additionally, social media can be a valuable source of employee feedback, as it allows employees to share their opinions and provide insights that can help shape the direction of the company. We would immensely benefit from leveraging the feedback-centric nature of social media, if we can create a more open and collaborative culture that can improve employee engagement and drive success.
Employee surveys are a useful tool for gathering feedback and encouraging a culture of open communication within the organisation. According to their scope, these surveys can be standalone communications or included in regular employee newsletters. By providing an easy way for employees to voice their opinions and offer suggestions, we can gain valuable insight into what matters to our employees and use that information to improve their experiences and the overall direction of the company. Analysing the data collected through employee surveys can also be used as internal communication key performance indicators (KPIs) and provide important context for other email analytics. By regularly conducting employee surveys, we can measure employee engagement and make ongoing refinements to our internal communications content.
7I- Text messages
SMS text messaging can be especially effective for companies with a large mobile workforce. It allows for quick and easy communication no matter where employees are located. It can also be used as a supplement to email, ensuring that all employees receive important information in a timely manner. In addition, SMS text messaging can be easily integrated into other internal communication tools and systems, allowing for a seamless and comprehensive approach to internal communications. Overall, SMS text messaging can be a valuable addition to any strategy, providing a quick and effective way to reach employees no matter where they are.
Podcasts are a popular form of media, and they can also serve as an effective internal communication channel for businesses. They offer a flexible and convenient way for employees to stay informed, as they can be listened to while mobile and do not require the listener to be stationary. Podcasts can provide in-depth information and analysis on a variety of topics, making them particularly useful for employees who are interested in learning more about a particular subject or issue. In addition, podcasts can be a more engaging and interactive form of communication, as they often feature discussions or interviews with industry experts or company leaders. This can make them more attractive to employees and encourage them to tune in regularly. By incorporating podcasts into their internal communication strategy, companies can provide employees with a valuable resource for staying informed and engaged.
7L- Instant messaging
Employees can communicate with each other in real-time using instant messaging software. This provides an efficient and convenient way, unlike waiting times in emails. The ability to search and archive conversations is one of the key benefits of using instant messaging as an internal communication channel. Said feature can help in keeping track of important decisions or discussions that took place within a team or organisation. Instant messaging software also enables the creation of channels or rooms that employees can use for communication specific to their segmentations, such as departments or teams. This helps in streamlining communication and ensuring that relevant information is shared with the right people. Remote and hybrid organizations can also benefit from instant messaging. It allows employees to stay connected and communicate with each other, even when they are not physically in the same location.
7M- Online events (video conferences)
Instant messaging is often complemented by video conferencing for many remote employees. Despite the speed of instant messaging, much can be lost by not actually speaking with our interlocutor. Video conferencing software helps employees hold remote meetings where information can be shared at the same pace as if they were in-office.
There are numerous internal communications video solutions available for businesses, with Zoom and Google Groups being the most popular. If we are considering adopting video conferencing software, we recommend polling our employees to see which they prefer. It’s also worth considering if any potential solutions can integrate with our existing internal communications channels. For example, Zoom can plug into Slack to make quick meetings super simple to set up.
7N- Digital boards
Digital notice boards are a modern, efficient way to disseminate important information to employees within an organization. Located in common areas such as break rooms or hallways, these notice boards can display a variety of content, including videos and comprehensive internal project communications such as cultural transformation initiatives. Videos shown on these notice boards could include company updates, training and educational materials, employee recognition or appreciation, and more.
One of the main benefits of digital noticeboards is their ability to easily and quickly update information, ensuring that employees are always aware of the latest happenings within the organization. They grab the attention of employees as they pass by, making them an effective way to deliver timely and important information. Additionally, digital notice boards can be accessed by employees from a variety of devices, making them convenient for those who may not always be physically present in the office. These boards can also be customized to display information specific to certain employee segments, such as department-specific updates or company-wide announcements.
7O- Gift kits
Gift kits can be an effective channel because they provide a tangible and memorable way for messaging to employees. They can be used for many occasions, such as the ones below and more.
- Celebrate the launch of a new project
- Welcome new hires to the company
- Recognise employee achievements.
The contents of the gift kit can be tailored to the specific message being conveyed. These include company-branded merchandise to promote company culture or practical items such hardware or supplies to demonstrate the company’s appreciation for its employees.
Gift kits are often given at the beginning of a new project, as they can help to boost morale and motivation among team members. In addition to providing useful resources, these kits can also serve as a memorable way to make employees feel valued and welcomed within the organisation. By creating a sense of excitement and anticipation, these kits can help to foster a sense of engagement among employees.
7P- On-site branding
Now we will talk about branding the office spaces as a channel of internal communication. We can brand common-use areas such as elevators, windows, doors, tiling and more via many methods. These include exclusively printed folio stickers or exclusively manufactured flags, banners, cut-outs, 3D statuettes and more. The more we attract the attention of employees, the more these branded materials appear in selfies! Ultimately, this method gives us free organic reach no other method would provide.
7Q- Concluding internal communication channels
An effective internal communication strategy requires a thoughtful selection and combination of various internal communication channels. Each channel offers unique advantages and disadvantages and can be used to achieve different objectives. The key to success is to understand the specific needs of our organisation and the preferences of our employees and to test and refine the chosen channels over time. A well-planned and executed internal communication strategy can lead to greater employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction, ultimately contributing to the success of our organisation.
Finally, there should be some channels for the employees to communicate back with the employer. Two-way communication is essential for a successful internal communication strategy as it allows for an open and honest exchange of ideas and information. Employees should feel comfortable providing feedback and expressing their opinions without fear of retaliation. This type of communication also allows for a more informal and relaxed environment, which can be beneficial for certain cultures and personalities.
Furthermore, two-way communication allows for active listening and understanding of the employees’ perspectives and needs. This type of communication allows for a deeper understanding of the organisation, its goals and its employees. Employers can use employee feedback to make informed decisions and improve their internal communication strategy. It also fosters a sense of inclusion and engagement among the employees, making them more invested in the success of the organisation. By creating a culture of open communication and active listening, employers can foster a more productive and engaged workforce. It helps build trust among employees and leadership, which leads to better employee retention, increased productivity and higher job satisfaction.
8- Measure And Improve
If we have followed through with all of the steps until this point, we have created the internal communication plan with all the respective tactics including channel, timing, and messaging with respect to goals in each audience segmentation.
When it comes to measuring and improving our internal communication strategy, it’s essential to establish a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with our overall objectives. These KPIs will help us to track the effectiveness of our internal communications and identify areas that need improvement. Some examples of internal communication KPIs that organisations use include employee engagement, employee retention, employee satisfaction, and internal communication satisfaction scores.
We also should collect data on the channels and tactics we are using. These data include email open and click-through rates, survey responses, and social media engagement. Thanks to these, we will have valuable insights into which channels and tactics resonate with employees. Accordingly, we will adjust or replace some of them to improve our processes.
Finally, we should involve all stakeholders in the process to measure and improve our internal communication strategy. This means that after we have collected data and analysed the results, we should bring together employees, management, and other key stakeholders to review the findings and discuss necessary changes. We will ensure buy-in and support for any changes that are made with this collaborative approach. Additionally, we will also have a space for the exchange of ideas and perspectives. By fostering an open and transparent communication culture, we can continuously improve the internal communication strategy and foster an engaged workforce.
By taking the time to thoughtfully assess and select the best channels for our internal communication strategy and consistently measuring and improving our tactics, we can create a powerful and effective plan that will engage employees, foster collaboration, and drive success. With the right combination of resources, analysis, and stakeholder involvement, we can ensure that our internal communication strategy is effective and impactful. So, don’t wait any longer and start creating your organisation’s internal communication strategy today!
To learn more, you can join a free week session of Employer Brand Academy certificate courses here or you can download our free ebook on creating an authentic employer brand here.
[…] In part two of this guide, we examine the tactics that will most effectively deliver our plan and meet our organization’s objectives. By implementing these strategies, we can ensure that our employees are informed, engaged, and aligned with our organization’s goals and values. […]
[…] order to determine the best channels to use for our internal or external communication strategy, it is important to consider the tactics that will be most […]