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Building an Internal Communications Strategy: A Step-By-Step Guide

Marcel Deer - Writer for Unleash
By Marcel Deer
Davor Štefanović - Editor for Unleash
Edited by Davor Štefanović

Updated February 24, 2023.

Building an Internal Communications Strategy

Internal communication is a critical function in any organization that keeps employees informed, enables organizations to achieve their goals, and helps avoid costly mistakes.

Effective internal communication is key to fostering trust between leadership and staff, and it goes beyond simply sending out memos or newsletters. Engaging with employees in a meaningful way, and ensuring that they feel heard, valued, and respected is essential. Unfortunately, many organizations do not prioritize internal communication or may not even know where to begin.

If you're looking to create an effective internal communication strategy, keep reading to learn more.

1. Evaluate Your Current Internal Communications Strategy

Developing an effective internal communication strategy takes careful planning and execution. A good place to start is research. Assess what is currently working and what is not, and take note of any weaknesses and strengths in your current strategy.

It's important to consider the following prompts when creating your strategy:

  • Your current performance: Review your current internal communication strategy to understand what is working and what is not. Identify weaknesses and strengths and what can be added to improve the current plan.
  • Your goal: Determine the goals you want to achieve with your new strategy. Are you aiming to increase employee engagement or improve productivity? Having clear goals will help you develop a plan that is focused and effective.
  • Your plan to achieve your goal: Consider the type of content that will resonate with your staff. Think about the best channels to reach them and how to structure your messaging for maximum impact.
  • How much time it will take: Developing an effective internal communication strategy takes time. Consider what is a realistic timeline for your team, given your goals and the resources available to you.
  • Who will be involved: Assess your current internal communications team to determine if they are the right size and structure for your needs. Consider streamlining your team or adding new members to ensure you have the resources you need to achieve your goals.

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2. Establish Goals and Set Realistic Timelines

If you want to transform your internal communications strategy, it's important to recognize that it's a process that requires both time and effort. You'll need to take the time to evaluate your current strategy and determine what changes you need to make to improve it. When setting goals for your internal communications strategy, it's important to set smarter goals.

Consider looking at internal benchmarks to see where you can make an immediate impact, and send out a survey to get feedback from employees on what they want the internal communications strategy to achieve for the company. Some examples of goals could include increasing revenue, building stronger relationships with employees, increasing efficiency, or developing a more strategic approach to social media engagement.

Setting clear and effective goals is a crucial component of any successful internal communications strategy. To ensure your goals are meaningful and attainable, it's important to use the S.M.A.R.T. framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based). Here's how to apply these principles:

  • Specific: Define your goals clearly and simply, so everyone understands what you're trying to accomplish.
  • Measurable: Create milestones and targets to track progress and measure success.
  • Attainable: Make sure your goals are manageable and realistic, given your resources and constraints.
  • Relevant: Ensure that your goals align with your business model and support the overall strategy of your organization.
  • Time-based: Create a specific timeframe for reaching your goals to keep your team on track and accountable.

3. Develop Your Strategies and Tactics

Developing a strong internal communications strategy requires careful planning and a clear understanding of your organization's goals. Before selecting specific tactics for your communications plan, it's important to establish a long-term strategy. This should involve identifying key objectives and outlining a roadmap for achieving them.

Once your strategy is in place, you can begin to focus on the specific tactics that will help you achieve your goals. Internal communication tools like emails or Slack messages can be useful, but finding information in these channels can be difficult.

Consider using Unleash, a powerful search tool that makes it easy to find files and messages across all your folders and applications. By streamlining your search process, Unleash can help you stay productive and improve your overall internal communication strategy.

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4. Execute and Evaluate Plan

It’s time to put the plan into action. Gather the right people for your IC team and select champions from each department. They will be instrumental in deploying communications within their team and serve as an example.

Start implementing your IC strategy by informing your employees of your plans and why their participation is essential. Next, keep everyone informed of your progress at periodic intervals.

To evaluate your internal communications plan, you can use the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.

Was the specific goal achieved?

Did we get the desired measurable results?

Were we able to attain our goals, or were they too ambitious?

How relevant are the results to company goals?

Did we achieve all this within the right time frame?

You should also solicit feedback from other team members and employees. Send out a survey through your main platforms to get feedback.

Conclusion

Transforming your internal communications strategy may seem daunting at first, but with a clear plan, S.M.A.R.T. goals, and the right tools, it is possible to make a significant impact on your business. Remember to focus on engaging with your employees, setting realistic targets, and assessing your progress regularly to make the necessary adjustments. As you work to improve your internal communications, consider using Unleash to streamline your productivity and improve your team's collaboration.

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