Solving Internal Communication

Solving Internal Communication

Why Leaders Should Care (More) About Internal Communication

Internal “marketing” is not just good for your people, it’s good for business. While 74% of employees feel they’re missing out on company updates, implementing or elevating internal communication practices can address this quickly and broadly. This is especially relevant with COVID-related changes considered, such as shifting workplace locations, shrinking personal networks, individual well-being concerns and rollercoaster engagement rates.

Leaders that make a practice of prioritizing educating and communicating to employees about the company’s goals and values support them in feeling informed, connected and engaged to the culture and its vision. Your employees are built-in brand ambassadors…if they believe in your products, services and ways of doing business, and brand messages reach over 500% further when they’re shared by employees versus through official brand social channels. Do your employees feel connected – to each other, to the organization and to your product or service?

Auditing Your Internal Communications

humanworks practices what we call 365 Communication – a five-principle approach to internal communications that says communication should happen:

  1. Daily: Create a communication touchpoint every day…all 365 of them.
  2. Consistently: Use a single source of truth (such as an engaging intranet) supported by reinforcement from many other channels like e-mail, collaboration tools, apps or even texting or snail mail.
  3. Collectively: Gather and honor all voices in your organization, and have conversations together.
  4. Proactively: Build a foundation of trust in your leadership by being clear and confident, sharing information and answers when you have them. Get ahead of gossip. 
  5. Honestly: Be transparent about good news, bad news and the unknown. Be human in your communication as a leader.

The good news? You already have an abundance of effective channels – your people. Look to leaders, core values champions, those already engaged in your various programs around well-being, give back, referrals or mentorship. You have employees who are passionate about your culture and brand. Listen to, celebrate and expand this sub-population of your team.

The same goes for new hires. Put a communication lens on your onboarding experience. Train on communication channels, set expectations and keep the honeymoon phase alive by building on the excitement and connection candidates felt in their recruiting process.

Connecting Communication & Engagement

Your communications are building blocks, with each message further defining what it means to be and how to be a team member at your organization. Keep communicating industry updates, company news, benefits information and employee logistics, but don’t forget to also communicate about:

  • How you’re gathering, reviewing and implementing employee feedback
  • How to use your communication channels (tutorials and tips for your intranet, video tours of your benefits or payroll portals, how to submit a company newsletter article or team photo)
  • How to connect with others on a more individual level through your engagement offerings, activities or leader expectations
  • Which employees and teams deserve extra recognition, those with milestone events or success stories

Each communication should strengthen an employee’s sense of individual purpose and belonging to the organization. Employees who feel their voice is heard are nearly five times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work, too. Use your communications to inspire, connect and get work done.

You’ll know if your efforts are working because you’ll see strong productivity, participation and contribution by employees and ideally survey or focus group feedback to prove it.

Ready, Set, Communicate

Leaders must embrace three ideas as they re-ignite communications and engagement practices:

  1. Mindfulness. Be present and be intentional about your communications. Find your focus.
  2. Representation. Communication needs a seat at the table. Communicating to employees can’t be an afterthought or a to-do item. Get your communications experts involved from the beginning.
  3. Core Values. Values are your foundation for all communications. If you’re using core values well, your decisions are made with values as the criteria. Use them as your outline for any communications, especially the happy ones and the tough ones.

Leaders, you don’t need grand internal communication plans or strategies to improve employee engagement (and your bottom line) – We built your strategy for you with the 365 approach. You can do this! And we’re here to help.