Unlocking success with internal comms

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There is no question about the significance of external communications in shaping stakeholders’ perceptions of a company’s brand and values. But an equally critical yet often overlooked aspect is internal and employee communications – and how we connect with our most valuable stakeholders: our employees.

Effective communication is key to maintaining an engaged workforce in today’s dynamic business world. Proper communication makes employees feel involved and valued, fostering a culture of trust and positivity. Poor communication, on the other hand, can lead to mistrust, isolated teams, and disengagement.

Though often used interchangeably, internal and employee communications serve distinct organisational functions. Understanding their nuances is pivotal in any successful business, whether a nimble startup or a multinational corporation.

Employee communications is a dialogue. It involves exchanging information between employers and employees and actively listening to employees. It is about better understanding employees, responding to their needs, and enhancing their experience.

On the other hand, internal communications encompass all information-sharing within an organisation. Think of it as a tangible expression of a brand’s culture. 

This article, the first in a two-part series, will explore the importance of internal communications and offer tools, strategies, and insights into its evolving landscape.

Crafting an Internal Communications Strategy

Internal communications need to be relevant to employees. Leaders can accomplish this by clarifying the purpose of communication, using a variety of channels, and creating an open space for employees to engage and provide feedback.

1. Define Your Outcomes: Prioritise specific, measurable outcomes instead of the broad concept of engagement.  Whether you’re updating about company news, movements, or decisions, having clear goals will guide your internal communications strategy and help you measure its success.

2. Select and Train Your Communicator/s: Leaders must communicate with transparency, honesty, and consistency and genuinely appreciate employee input and feedback. Inconsistent messaging can confuse employees and undermine an organisation’s credibility. To overcome this challenge, establish clear guidelines and protocols to ensure consistency across different channels and departments. 

Another effective approach is to identify and cultivate individuals who can articulately and engagingly convey the leadership’s vision and goals. Our clients who have successfully cultivated award-winning workplace cultures practise this. Their commitment to grooming the next generation of leaders enables them to deliver crucial updates across departments and markets while remaining attuned to cultural nuances and dynamics within the organisation.  

3. Select the Right Channels: Whether it’s emails, newsletters, digital meetings, or town halls, choose communication mediums that streamline employee communication and suit your organisational culture. Consider both the message and employee preferences and use a mix of channels to reach your employees where they are. 

4. Create Engaging Content: Your messages should be clear, concise, and relevant, designed to cut through the clutter rather than add to it. One good practice is segmenting employees based on job role, department, and location and tailoring communications accordingly. Provide informative updates, company news, employee spotlights, and engagement activities to keep your communications fresh and engaging.

To enhance internal communications and promote employee engagement, we partner with clients to identify and create opportunities for employees to share their experiences and viewpoints actively. This collaborative effort results in content that reflect diverse perspectives and enriches the overall communication landscape within the organisation.

5. Measure and Analyse: Effective internal communications is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and adaptation. Use metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, employee feedback, and engagement levels to identify what’s working and needs improvement.

As part of this process, we’ve aided clients in crafting both qualitative and quantitative studies to gather insights from internal stakeholders. These delve into topic resonance, communication preferences, and improvement suggestions. Such efforts empower the management to enhance employee engagement, refine strategies, and strengthen organisational communication channels. 

The Future of Internal Communications

Internal communications is poised for significant changes, driven by several key trends reshaping how organisations interact with their employees. McKinsey’s The State of Organizations 2023 report highlights that applied AI is a powerful tool for building better organisations. From implementing data-informed changes to improving communication across the organisation, AI holds the potential to elevate productivity, employee engagement, and performance. When a company successfully aligns its workforce around a shared vision and fosters innovation and creativity, it can operate more efficiently, make decisions faster, and enhance employee engagement. 

Rise of AI-driven tools: Chatbots and virtual assistants are revolutionising how businesses operate by automating mundane tasks and empowering employees with swift and effortless access to critical company information. This allows employees to channel their energy toward more impactful endeavours, optimise productivity, and drive success.

Crafting an exceptional employee experience: In today’s fiercely competitive talent landscape, organisations must prioritise fostering a positive work environment to attract and retain talent. From introducing upskilling programmes and equipping employees with the tools to thrive to cultivating a culture of collaboration and innovation, effective internal communications fuel engagement and loyalty by keeping employees well-informed about company developments and celebrating their contributions. 

Prevalence of remote work: With more employees opting for remote or hybrid work arrangements, platforms such as Slack provide powerful tools (if done correctly) for sharing company news and updates and fostering a virtual sense of community by bridging physical distances. 

By adapting to these pivotal trends, organisations can craft effective, engaging, and instrumental internal communications strategies to achieve their overarching business objectives.

The next article will discuss employee communications. Meanwhile, contact us to discuss internal communications and how we can support you.

Hsu Lin 03.6.2024
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