When it comes to internal communications, there’s no one-size-fits-all practice, solution, or approach. After all, the internal communications best practices are merely the most suitable ones for your company goals, structure, and culture.
But what does internal communications do? It can help you communicate and reach your goals efficiently, ensure there are no disengaged employees, avoid miscommunication about deadlines, and more. And although there isn’t a single practice that works for everyone, we can show you the tried and trusted guidelines.
If we could summarise the answer in one word, it’d be the pandemic. Although the worst of it is over (we hope), we aren’t back to the pre-pandemic normal. And many companies have established long-term remote work solutions.
As convenient as that is, it does affect employee engagement levels and turnover rates. So, it’s clear that previous internal communication practices are inadequate in bridging the gaps between remote workers and their companies. With such a dynamic work environment, it’s more important than ever to revamp your internal communication strategy.
Without further ado, let’s get into the internal communication best practices you should consider implementing.
It’d be best if you considered what your company needs. In other words, what are you hoping to achieve by establishing your internal communications strategy? Then, compare that vision with the current reality, making note of its weaknesses and strengths. Now, you can set an internal comms plan that’ll get you to your goal!
It can be tempting to set big goals that look good on paper. However, that won’t help with your internal communication plan. Instead, you want to be realistic about your goals and the timeline you set for them. The key is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. That’s:
- Specific: Your goals should be clearly defined.
- Measurable: If your goal is measurable, you’ll recognise your milestones and track your progress.
- Attainable: Be honest about how realistic your goal is.
- Relevant: Your goals should improve internal communication, making your team more connected to each other and the company.
- Time-Based: Set a timeframe for your goals to monitor your performance and hold yourself accountable.
One of the best internal communications ideas is to choose two-way communication channels (online software) so that employees, employers, and all company members can share and receive feedback and ideas.
Regular feedback allows everyone to focus on the company goals and develop new strategies. This way, they can work to create better products, working procedures, and environments.
A common misconception is that you need to share all messages with everyone to maintain transparency. We aren’t suggesting you leave your employees in the dark, but you shouldn’t overwhelm them with messages.
Otherwise, this information overload can result in them ignoring or missing important updates. So, determine the target audience for your content and the suitable format for it.
As we’ve just mentioned, you should deliver any message to its target audience via the correct channel. So, let’s identify the correct channel:
- Digital Signage: Strategically install and use digital signage so employees and customers are kept up to date with goings-on around the workplace.
- Email: Use emails to communicate internal process changes.
- Messaging Apps: Apps (like Slack) are excellent for internal messaging, as you can make announcements, share documents, and go back and forth if you’re making decisions.
- Videos: If you want to take a more humanised approach and make your messages digestible, videos are a great idea.
- Intranet: Send non-urgent messages and information to everyone in the company via the intranet.
Side note: Digital signage can facilitate and unify many of the tools and channels just mentioned.
It’s important to align your employees with your customers. One of the most creative internal comms ideas is making up profiles of your typical customers.
Be as detailed about them as possible, adding photos, likes, dislikes, favourite TV shows, and favourite snacks! Then, share these “customers” with your employees in newsletters, conversations, and more. The goal is to get your team to understand your customers.
Consistency means being strategic about your internal communications system. To illustrate, you should train leaders in communication skills so that they can communicate effectively, frequently, and consistently. Also, ensure that all employees across different levels get the main narrative that expresses the company’s mission and values.
As we’ve mentioned, you shouldn’t go overboard with communication and information. For one, it can lead to employees missing important information. But even if it doesn’t, it’ll take them about 24 minutes to return to the focus zone after checking their email.
With employees spending over two hours on email, such communication overload can take its toll on their productivity levels. So, keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
Transparency promotes trust, accountability, and open communication. When you’re transparent about company information, employees will be more likely to share their input and ask questions. However, be strategic about which information to share.
A good practice is holding regular cross-departmental gatherings or Q&A sessions. This way, employees can communicate, work together, and share their knowledge and thoughts. This will widen their horizons, increase their engagement, and create a sense of community.
Empower your employees to use their voices by ensuring they won’t face backlash. Invite them to share their feedback and updates and engage with other employees. After all, creating a safe space is important, especially for big companies with numerous branches and remote workers who may feel left out.
Remote work is becoming more widespread, so using social media in the workplace makes sense. Your employees can use these platforms to share their stories and successes and hashtag them for other teammates to see. In other words, social media can promote communication and collaboration if used correctly.
Staff members should be aware of the latest industry trends and news. This way, they’ll be engaged and see how they fit into the bigger picture. So, urge your employees to share any industry-related trends.
90% of Gen Z value human connection in their work environment according to Cision PR Newswire. Just because it’s work doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. In fact, you should strive for a fun and social work environment. So, consider dedicating a channel to fun, non-work-related content, including stories, YouTube videos, and more.
Equality may be an underrated company communications practice, but it’s crucial to a balanced workplace. If only a few employees are kept in the loop about key information and only a few speak up, there’s a problem. With good communication channels (like employee apps), you can ensure that your employees receive your messages simultaneously.
Successful internal communications systems give employees access to helpful resources and training opportunities. For example, you can write internal blogs, share postings, and send messages and emails about health insurance, dental coverage, industry-related workshops, off-site training, and company-sponsored seminars.
Accordingly, your employees will have the support of their company in their personal and professional endeavours.
Your internal comms content should be visually appealing. The reason is that 70% of individuals remember what they see, and only 10% remember what they need according to this article by Search Engine People. For that reason, you should use images and graphics to make messages more interesting, add graphics, stills, and footage to your videos, and give each message type a theme or colour.
When it comes to messages and emails, less is more. Being selective about the messages your employees receive (according to your company’s strategic priorities) is better than flooding them with messages. This practice certainly helps with message penetration.
What is internal communication in business? Company comms isn’t about doing performative or publicity work so that you can share good news. Instead, you need to solve problems and address core issues. For example, Aflac’s engagement survey showed that employees would be more satisfied with more advancement opportunities.
So, the communication team created a Career Success Centre full of HR professionals who can provide helpful resources and information. As a result, 35% of the surveyed employees were promoted or moved to jobs that fit them better.
As we’ve said, your internal communication goals should be measurable. So, pick the relevant core metrics to track uptake, engagement, and success. For instance, use internal communication apps with real-time dashboards to monitor engagement levels. With such input, you can optimise your internal comms strategy.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA) 2012 survey, 93% of employees who felt valued at work wanted to do their best at work. In other words, you can boost employee morale and productivity by posting about the accomplishments of employees and departments via chat software or internal newsletters.
Ultimately, you need to compare your current internal communication strategy with what you want it to be, set S.M.A.R.T goals and an internal communications plan, choose the suitable tools for each audience and message, and follow through with your goals. While you do that, using metrics will enable you to track your progress.
With time, you’ll see your efforts paying off as employee engagement and productivity levels increase. So, don’t hesitate to prioritise and invest in the best internal communication practices!