Internal communications used to mean publishing an internal newsletter or bulletin, or sending out mass emails hoping that people across the organization would eventually read them, and then trying desperately to stem the flow of reply-all to deal with emails that followed.
Important company news and updates would get lost in spam folders, skimmed and forgotten, or ignored entirely. Oddly enough, many companies still do this.
Fortunately, internal communication has evolved over time, and connecting the workplace has become more intuitive than ever (and in some ways more complex).
In this article, we take a look at 5 internal communication best practices companies can use to increase employee engagement, cultural alignment, and open communication.
1. Use a tool that allows for an efficient, free flow of information
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth highlighting the impact the right software can have on connecting your workforce. With bulk email no longer sufficient, it’s time to move to other, more intuitive platforms that encourage higher participation rates.
Whether you’re moving to an intranet or messaging app, or simply getting your employees to use a single platform for their email and calendar, your primary goal is to minimize confusion by centralizing your content and your internal Integrate communication media into a single source.
By creating a single internal communications hub for your business, you will:
• Drastically reduce the volume your employees have to wade through to access and consume important information
• Be able to set up targeted messaging parameters to ensure the information you communicate is sent to the right teams
• Minimize the likelihood that your employees will miss updates (a platform with notifications is a great way to keep track of what’s going on in your workplace)
• Create opportunities for more open, fluid discussions (commenting, chatting, sharing and liking platforms provide social media appeal for internal communications)
• Be able to measure and track viewership, interactions and engagement rates, giving you a better understanding of how your information is being consumed and how it is being acted upon
Also read: 5 ways to improve your company’s internal communication
2. Develop an internal communication strategy
Once you have the tool you want in place, you need to spend some time carefully crafting your internal communications strategy.
A successful internal communications strategy should also answer some of the following questions:
• Does our release schedule overwhelm our staff with too many updates? (Remember: less is more!)
• How active will our leadership team be on our platform and how will the way they use the platform encourage our employees to follow their lead?
• What are the goals of our messages (educate, inform and/or inspire action)?
• How do our positions support and develop our corporate culture? (This is extremely important to your people, so take extra time to think about it.)
• How will our internal communications strategy scale as our organization grows?
A great internal communications strategy will consider how information can be repackaged, both for employees and customers. By connecting your external and internal communications teams, you cover a lot more.
3. Celebrate your employees’ success stories and share successes
Whether it’s in the form of a shoutout, a like, a favorite, or an employee spotlight article, a virtual pat on the back is a great way to publicly recognize your employees and get them active on your platform.
This type of content provides a great opportunity to let people across the organization know what’s going on, who’s working on what, what goals are being met, and which members of the team are working well together. It also gives management an idea of how their employees work.
4. Support corporate values and leverage those that contribute to the culture
Speaking of corporate culture, the information you disseminate, let alone how it is disseminated, plays a huge role in defining your organization’s culture. Your internal communication strategy should take this into account and your team should keep your company values in mind.
A sophisticated internal communications strategy will put the spotlight on the best advocates of your workplace culture. In some cases, posts or updates shared by your influencers in the workplace automatically draw attention and encourage others to contribute.
Remember, your greatest asset for internal communications is your people.
5. Create a channel for feedback, debate, and discussion
Another important aspect of internal communication is openness. Finally, open communication is a must in most workplaces, especially when it comes to connecting and aligning teams.
In order to promote open communication in your company, your communication strategy must create space for feedback, resistance and public debate. Internal communication is (or should not be) a one-way street. Listen to your employees and regularly ask for feedback. For example, if an update or post doesn’t go as you planned, this is a great way to learn how to avoid mistakes in the future.
If your employees don’t like the way you communicate with them, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Internal communications best practices have come a long way. Once you’ve centralized your content and developed a well thought-out communication strategy, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. Capitalize on these best practices and get one step closer to a more connected and aligned workplace.