7 steps your internal communication plan should follow
According to data provided by LumApps, a leading collaboration platform in its market segment, workers spend an average of 209 minutes a day, or almost 3 and a half hours, checking their emails. This excess of messages reduces productivity, and internal communications must be wary of this so as not to be responsible for emails that are going straight into the trash folder every morning.
Internal communication is the backbone of many companies. The pandemic has led many managers to become aware of the crucial work carried out by the communication and human resources departments, and how this can affect the productivity of their business.
However, in many business organisations, internal communication comprises the mass and periodic sending of corporate information that, in the majority of cases, is not relevant to the day-to-day life of the employees. To help you avoid falling into unhelpful strategies, in this article we explain the 7 keys of corporate communication within the organisation.
7 steps you must follow to ensure your internal communication plan works
According to the report “Study on the State of Internal Communication in Spain” by Dircom (Association of Communication Managers), internal communication is transversal in business management. Therefore, it must not be managed in an improvised way or comprise communications in only one direction (from the company to the employees).
For an internal communication plan to work, it must be carefully designed so as to be in alignment with business objectives.
The main objective of the internal communication plan is that employees feel that they are a valuable and necessary part of the organisation, and to make them aware of what is happening in the company. And, of course, within internal communication, all information related to supporting workers for the continuous improvement of their skills has a fundamental role.
Starting out from these premises, we propose a roadmap that will help you to define your communication plan and verify if it is well focused in order to achieve your desired objectives.
1. Set clear goals
The first step is to set goals. As in the definition of any other business strategy, knowing what you want to achieve is the first step. It is necessary to:
- Identify business objectives. As we said before, internal communication has to be aligned with the commercial objectives of the company. It is not about reporting projects or business won. Rather, internal communication must serve to create a climate that focuses the entire organisation towards the achievement of the same objective.
- Define smart goals. Smart is synonymous with realistic. Create your communication plan based on the accomplishment of achievable objectives, because anything else will only lead to frustration and detachment in your employees.
- Define the communication challenges for each objective. You must take into account the barriers that will have to be overcome in order to achieve these objectives. For example, if we want to foster a culture of alliances with other companies via the creation of a series of corporate videos based on success stories, we have to take into account all aspects that will have a bearing on the effective execution of such a campaign, such as requesting consent from partners with whom we have had successful experiences.
2. Define the indicators via which you will measure the effectiveness of your plan
An internal communication plan must translate into a scorecard or report of metrics and indicators. All the actions it includes must be measured.
- Define indicators for each strategic objective. Strategic objectives are not pipe dreams, nor are they a list of good intentions. If you have clear objectives, you have to translate them into data.
- Clearly define the objective of each KPI. Sometimes it is not about having all the information, but rather about knowing what data is relevant for the objective that I am pursuing. Analyse the data that you consider relevant and define thresholds that will later help you make decisions and redirect your actions should you not achieve the desired results.
- Indicate which measurement technique you will use. This is important because the unit of measurement will be key in order to make real comparisons.
3. Consider the audience
Just as in marketing it is necessary to define what kind of company you want to attract when launching a particular offer, or which consumer profile is being targeted with a particular discount campaign, in internal communication it is essential to segment the audience by function and region.
- Segment the internal audience. In multinational organisations this premise is mandatory. Because, although borders are increasingly blurred, it is still true that business culture and the way in which people relate vary according to the region in which the activity is being carried out. And this may be relevant when choosing the tone of your communications or their format.
- Identify common interests. In order to meet the needs of our employees, we must know them, and understand what interests them. Based on that knowledge, we can define successful talent engagement strategies, for example.
- Define the level of influence of each segment or individual. This point is also interesting since, depending on the influence that an employee has either within or outside the organisation, we can take advantage of that circumstance to make them a brand ambassador or a driver of change within the organisation.
4. Create attractive content
The internal audience deserves at least the same level of respect as the external one. And that means that the internal communication plan must also be attributed the resources and talent necessary to create attractive content. If the only thing an employee receives is a boring and grey newsletter announcing the signing of a contract, that communication will be irrelevant and will not serve to motivate the productivity of your staff.
A few tips:
- Try attractive content formats: podcast, videos, gifs, etc.
- Conduct surveys to find out what interests workers
5. Define an action plan
The fifth step in our proposed roadmap is to define an action plan, the first element of which is the creation of an editorial calendar of future content and campaigns.
What should this action plan include?
- Definition of upcoming actions, covering at least the next 3 months, and frequency of interactions with employees.
- Definition of tasks to be carried out and assignment of those responsible for each task
6. Select the communication channels
The sending of emails should not be the only way in which an organisation communicates with its employees. If what we seek is to create fluid communication that is of real value for the organisation and employees, you must select a channel for each type of information or communication that you intend to establish.
If the objective is to communicate regulatory changes that will affect a specific company department, perhaps the best formula is not an email, but an online session in which to discuss the new regulation, in the presence of the relevant company manager or stakeholders, etc.
7. Measure, analyse and improve
The last step is to measure the impact of the initiatives, analyse what has worked and what has not, and improve for next time.
What do you need?
- Collect and centralise the data resulting from the actions in a repository or tool that allows you to clearly see what has been done.
- Analyse data and team performance. The next step is to analyse the information, indicators and metrics of the actions implemented.
- Draw conclusions and propose improvements. If you are able to achieve an overview of the actions carried out and their results, following analysis you will be able to propose a strategy for improving the results.
Solutions for continued growth
According to Gatehouse, 21% internal communication managers admit that they work without a plan. This shows that there is still a long way to go in organisations, but in order for communication and human resource teams to face this challenge, they need the support of technology.
Here at Intelligence Partner, as implementers of LumApps – a platform recognised as a leader in The Forrester Wave ™: Intranet Platforms, Q2 2020 Report – we understand and have witnessed first-hand the value that a solution of this type brings to the Communication and Human Resources departments. Let’s talk.