I have never worked for or consulted for a company that could not use improved internal communication. Whether over-communicating and bombarding employees with too many messages, not communicating enough, using too many venues, and inconsistent messages, companies often make mistakes that can easily be avoided.
One of the problems is that there are multiple departments with a vested interest in internal communications and yet they work independently when it comes to determine what messages are important enough to share. This inconsistent, almost just-in-time approach to sharing information is what decreases trust among the ranks and file employees. So, what is a leader to do?
Identify your audience, then create the plan:
- Be intentional- Not every incident or happening in an organization requires a response. It is the tendency to provide one though. If you are intentional in the way you partner HR and Marketing/Communications, you will be able to quickly determine guidelines of when responses will be given. Additionally, you will be able to coordinate focus on specific messages that work to further the organizational goals for the short and long term. Success comes when messaging is intentional and not haphazard.
- Tie messages together- Many times messages designed for the employee population are not linked to the messages for outside the organization. Spend time tying those together when you have the opportunity. It will create consistency and also allow your employees to have the key messages before they have to hear them on television, radio or see them in print outside work.
- Focus your platforms- Determine which communication channels you have and which ones work best for each audience. This is a two-fold challenge. First, take a critical look at the traditional methods you use to communicate internally. Whether it’s posters, email messaging, newsletters, etc., you need to select which one is going to have the most impact and return on your message, not just use the one that feels “comfortable”. Next, you have to look at each audience you identified and determine which method will best reach those employees.
- Use social or collaborative sites that will benefit your audience and support your messages the most effectively– The way to create a successful campaign is to find a way to create two-way discussion, not just a message push.
The best way to have a killer internal communication plan is to actually spend time proactively planning and thinking about it. What is your organization doing to create that? What works and what doesn’t? Be sure to share in the comments.