Our latest report, What’s Missing From Your Internal Communications Strategy?, found most organizations believe their internal communication plan is operating effectively, with just 8% believing their efforts are average or below average. This shows employees are pleased with the current efforts of their organization, but there’s still room for improvement, and taking the time to modify your strategy could help increase employee engagement.
Your internal communications are the vital link between you and your workers. Our research found that 46.5% of people work remotely for some of the working week, and 23.5% work remotely full time. This makes it even more important to find ways to connect with workers you may only see once or twice a week or even less frequently.
In this article, we’re looking more closely at the essential elements of your internal communications strategy and four things you need to succeed.
1. The right internal communications tool
There is a wide range of communication tools available, so finding the right one for your organization will depend on various factors. You need to consider the tools you choose for your strategy as you would for an external marketing campaign. Define your target audience, understand their preferred content forms and how to tailor communications to each employee group.
The most effective and commonly used tool for internal communications is the intranet. Innovative and tech-forward cloud-hosted alternatives are fast replacing legacy intranet solutions. These platforms incorporate an extensive range of tools to satisfy various business requirements.
The modern intranet is the beating heart of your organization and can bring together and integrate a wealth of effective business tools, including:
- Microsoft 365: instant access to Outlook for emails and calendar scheduling and sharing. Microsoft Teams for video conferencing and meetings and other Microsoft Office tools for task management.
- Google Workspace: as an alternative or addition to Microsoft 365, including Google Docs, Drive, Google Meet and Google Cloud Search.
- Trello or an alternative project management tool: designed with collaborative and asynchronous working in mind.
- Zapier: for document management and syncing with other useful apps.
- Slack: for real-time instant messaging and shared channels for all communications from business-focused tasks to informal social chat and discussion groups.
The right internal communication tool is the first vital component of your internal communications strategy.
2. Content strategy with engagement in mind
Personalization in internal comms is vital to keeping employees engaged. Reliable internal comms tools allow you to ensure departments and individuals get the information most suited to them, in line with their interests and requirements.
Our research found that business function plays a significant role in preferred content types. Sales (65.6%) and IT (59.7%) departments enjoy important updates the most, while Finance enjoy company events (58.1%) and HR prefer CEO announcements (61.1%). Understanding this can help ensure you tailor your content accordingly.
Internal communications messaging has a reputation for being dull and unengaging, often due to the uninspiring contact method on legacy intranet platforms. Yet, all internal comms should be direct, transparent and use the right tone.
Contentsquare’s 2021 Digital Experience Benchmark report found the average time spent on a webpage is 54 seconds. This indication of attention span can also be applied to internal communications. Clear, concise, and direct language is essential for holding your reader’s attention and maintaining engagement. You need to keep your tone consistent, add value in everything you tell them and utilize other techniques to draw them in, such as:
- Ask questions: entice them to find out more or reply.
- Incorporate visuals: graphical elements are easier to digest and add interest to the content.
- Push for a response: ask for feedback, inspire action and involve your employees in the content.
Consistent messaging, design, and layout helps ensure employees will engage with whatever content you send their way. With an effective modern intranet platform you can build a library of templates for future content, ensuring consistency and brand messaging remain a priority.
3. Defined metrics to track success
How can you tell if your internal communications strategy is effective? This is especially important for businesses with a hybrid workforce and people working in different locations in different timezones. Your internal communications strategy must be measurable, so it’s vital to select core metrics to track its success.
Hubspot research shows 81% of individuals trust their friends and family more than a business, so their social sharing power is huge.
Empowering employees to share business updates and become advocates and ambassadors for your brand helps foster their sense of belonging and connection and broaden the organization’s social reach. Employee advocacy improves social reach by leveraging your employee’s social value.
Employee engagement metrics
Are your employees reading the content you create? Are shares, likes and comments in line with what you had hoped for? Asking these kinds of questions can help shape future content and determine whether you need to find a new direction.
Project management successes
Managing projects with a mix of on-site and remote employees can pose a challenge, but it should be streamlined and simpler with an effective internal communications strategy.
As you transition to digital project management, you’ll discover which tools are most effective for your teams, and where bottlenecks or issues occur. To solve this, talk to your employees and find the right solutions with their help. It could mean you need more video calls and meetings or better organizational tools and dashboard management.
4. A plan for evaluation and optimization
With defined metrics to measure success, you’ll also come across areas for improvement and optimization. Take every problem as an opportunity to learn and involve your employees in any changes or developments.
Capturing continuous employee feedback is straightforward utilizing the latest technology, and this is as valuable as your metric analysis for creating an employee experience in line with your workforce’s needs.
A commitment to recognizing and responding to feedback and enacting relevant changes where necessary further enforces the sense of value your employees need.
Enhancing employee engagement with a flexible and ever-changing strategy
Our new research shows all employees want to feel connected to the wider business, and your internal communications strategy drives this. Therefore, it’s important to strike a balance between keeping employees engaged and informed and bombarding them with messaging. The right performance and metric analysis and listening to employee feedback are integral to achieving this balance.