A 10-Step Guide to Creating to an Effective Internal Communications Plan

10 Steps To Make A Brilliant Internal Communication Plan

10 Steps To Make A Brilliant Internal Communication Plan

Last updated on April 30, 2024 at 07:36 am

Suppose you are the head graphic designer in the marketing team of a prestigious company with subpar internal communication plans. Despite your expertise, a critical project deadline is missed due to the lack of timely communication about a changed event date to you and your team. Alternatively, imagine being part of a sales team where a potential client walks away due to contradictory information stemming from ineffective internal communication among team members. These instances underscore the pivotal role of robust internal communication plans within organizations. Strengthening these plans is imperative for every employee. Failure to do so can result in unmet objectives and financial losses for the company, taking various forms. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to create an internal communication plan that works. Let’s delve in!

What is an Internal Communication Plan?

Internal communication plans lay down the methods and pathways of communication within an organization. These plans cover the strategies for communicating achievements, targets, and guidelines to employees and facilitating collaboration and unification of the departments. Some of its other benefits include:

  • Increase in employee engagement and staff retention
  • Boosts employee productivity and work efficiency
  • Improves teamwork and collaboration
  • Reduces misunderstandings and conflicts in the workplace
  • Facilitates innovation and idea-sharing amongst co-workers
  • Enhances job satisfaction and reduces employee turnover rates
  • Contributes to the establishment of a strong company culture and identity

Steps to Create an Internal Communication Strategy

There are so many internal communication strategy models out there that it can be challenging to pick the model that works best for your organization. Listed below are some steps that you can follow to set up an effective communication program within your organization:

Step 1: Assess your current state (Listen and learn)

Organizations can customize their employee communication strategies according to the existing communication landscape so that it is caters to employees’ specific preferences and needs.  Knowledge of the current status of internal communication in an organization allows one to fix communication gaps, use latest technology, increase staff engagement and participation, and support collaboration among different teams and groups.

Evaluation of the current status of internal communication within the organization can be achieved in two main ways. Firstly, connecting with employees through feedback sessions and reviewing existing communication channels would be a good idea. Secondly, the relevance of the content being shared within an organization should also be assessed.

Also Read: A Guide to Completing an Internal Communications Audit

Step 2: Define your goals (Set SMART objectives) 

The Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART) framework is a goal-setting method for organizations, and could be a useful tool for efficient internal communication.  Some ideas on how to use the SMART goal framework

  • Specific:  Specify the exact goals you wish to accomplish through the communication plan.
  • Measurable: Determine the ways to ascertain metrics for tracing the plan’s progress and success.
  • Achievable: Make sure that the goals you set is realistic and achievable.
  • Relevant: Figure out the communication aim which aligns with the organization.
  • Time-bound: Set up a deadline for communication objectives.

Organizations can also achieve the SMART goals framework in their internal communication techniques so as to set clear objectives, track progress, and improve communication effectiveness and employee engagement.

Step 3: Identify your audience (Know your employees)

Identifying the target audience for internal communication is paramount to customizing content to meet employees’ preferences. By segmenting employees using various factors, organizations can develop strategies that promote engagement, collaboration, and alignment across the workforce. This is a sure way to make the messages resonate and have an impact that will help achieve the organization’s objectives.

Step 4: Craft compelling messages (Storytelling and clarity)

Purposeful, straightforward communication within an organization helps employees through detailed information, avoids confusion, and shows respect for the time of employees. It promotes trust, openness, and interaction, which contribute to better morale, productivity, and the culture of the organization.

A storytelling style in internal communications would be transforming ordinary messages into engaging stories that staff will understand and relate to on a higher level.

Step 5: Choosing the right channels (Variety is key)

Choosing the right channels for internal communication is crucial for several reasons:

  • Maximizing reach: Employees have a tendency to like and receive information through different channels. Organizations can multiply their communication channels to achieve wide coverage.
  • Tailoring messages: The same message can be communicated differently through various channels. For example, intricate data can be better introduced through email newsletters, whereas fast updates and reminders might be more suitable for messaging apps or digital notice boards.
  • Encouraging engagement: Employing interactive communication channels, such as forums, toolkits, and support services, can enhance workers’ participation.
  • Ensuring timely delivery: Some organizations use a mobile-based intranet solution for real-time communication. This ensures that organizations deliver the required messages in a timely manner.
  • Supporting two-way communication: Building a dynamic in which employees can have discussions and give feedback is one of the important aspects of internal communication.
  • Maintaining consistency: A successful communication channel is a tool that keeps usage consistent and prevents employees from being confused or unaware of the expectations which were set beforehand.
  • Monitoring Effectiveness: By establishing proper channels, organizations will be able to more effectively track the strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s internal communication efforts.

Step 6: Develop a content calendar (Plan and schedule)

Keeping communication in a constant flow and planning the content in advance is a very important part of internal communication. These statements make the task of leaders to lead transparently, gain confidence, work in line with company goals, retain the interest of employees, reduce uncertainty, raise efficiency and be prepared for any potential trouble. A content management system proves to be a helpful ally for such requirements.

A content calendar is key to organizing and scheduling multiple communication activities that fall under the umbrella of internal communications. It enables organizations to maintain consistency, sustain objectives, and maximize the use of available resources.

Step 7: Empower two-way communication (Feedback and transparency)

Internal communication channels, which are two-way in nature, play a pivotal role in the establishment of a healthy workplace dialogue, increased organizational understanding, empowerment of staff and innovation, and institute a trusting work environment. They open a window for employees to air their thoughts, innovate, and participate in decision-making, resulting in increased involvement and organizational advancement.

Transparency in intra-organizational communication is one of the key factors that help develop trust, show openness, address concerns, and build a positive workplace atmosphere. It helps in developing credibility, maintaining transparency, busting rumors, and growing the morale of the employees, leading to a highly committed workforce.

Step 8: Leverage internal communication tools (Technology advantage)

Internal communication platforms are digital tools that are meant to promote communication and collaboration between employees within the company. They offer various functionalities to streamline communication and improve reach:

  • Intranet platforms: Centralized hubs utilized for internal communication, offering a simple way to access corporate news, documents, policies and resources.
  • Messaging apps: Instant messaging applications for one-to-one communication and collaboration are examples of apps that allow personnel to chat and share information at any moment.
  • Email: It provides a channel for asynchronous communication, document exchange, and message archival.
  • Project management tools: Project management tools allow team members to collaborate and work on different phases of a project or task. 

These tools streamline communication and improve reach by:

  • Securing centralized transmission of information and resources for public use.
  • Building platforms that support instant communication and remote work among teams located in different geographical areas.
  • Providing the capacity for targeted communication to a certain group or an individual.
  • Supporting multimedia, video clips, photos, and interactive presentation additions.
  • Seamlessly integrating with other business tools, such as HR software and customer relationship management (CRM) softwares.

Step 9: Promote employee advocacy (Amplify your voice) 

Employee advocacy includes internal communication that gives employees the chance to be ambassadors for the organization, in addition to internal and external stakeholders. Externally, these programs create a platform where employees feel connected to the organization’s mission and goals, fostering collaboration and alignment. Intranet communication channels are utilized to encourage employees to share information about the company, its achievements, and its strategies with their colleagues. This cultivates unity among them and nurtures a sense of pride and belonging.

Finally, all internal communications with employees aim to turn them into progressive participants in branding and value promotion, not only inside but also outside of their operation. Organizations can use employees to build their reputation, reinforce trust, and finally, boost business performance.

Step 10: Measure and adapt (Continuous improvement)

It is imperative to evaluate the efficiency of a communication plan, as it allows for an assessment measure and identification of areas that need improvement. Here are some ways to measure:

  • Surveys and feedback
  • Website analytics
  • Employee engagement metrics
  • Email analytics
  • Social media metrics
  • Focus groups and interviews

Periodic assessment and adjustment are key for the internal communication process to continue working. Through systematic evaluation of strategies, dealing with arising problems, improving efficiency, keeping up with public interest, continuous innovations in line with the set goals, and meeting employees’ needs, organizations can make their communications inclusive, meaningful, and effective.

Parting Thoughts

A meticulous internal communication plan is the essence of intercommunication and the cornerstone of a successful organization. And it allows, in turn, collaboration, trust, and productivity. Keeping the employees informed, engaged, and committed to the company’s goals encourages innovation, enhances employee satisfaction, and helps meet business goals with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can an internal communications plan address the specific needs of remote or hybrid teams?

An internal communications plan for remote or hybrid teams can include strategies such as utilizing digital collaboration tools, establishing regular virtual meetings, and ensuring clear guidelines for remote communication to facilitate effective collaboration and engagement.

Can an internal communication plan address the mental health and well-being of employees?

Yes, an internal communication plan can include initiatives to support employee mental health and well-being, such as promoting work-life balance and providing resources for stress management.

How can an internal communication plan support new hire onboarding?

An internal communication plan can support the onboarding process by providing clear communication about organizational values, expectations, and resources available to new employees. It may include orientation materials, mentorship programs, and opportunities for new hires to connect with colleagues and ask questions.

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