Internal Communications: 4 Steps to an Effective Communication Strategy
While internal communication has a significant impact on employee engagement, a majority of organizations lack well-designed internal communication (IC) strategies. Lack of an effective internal comm strategy limits these organizations’ abilities to tap into benefits associated with highly motivated employee teams.
Given the importance of effective IC, there’s a need for organizations to develop long-term strategies that enhance the effectiveness of their IC approach. Firms can follow these steps to maximize the benefits for all employees.
4 Steps to an effective IC Strategy
#1. Assessing an existing IC strategy
Prior to adjusting an internal IC strategy, an organization should assess the effectiveness of their current strategy. Identifying an IC strategy’s strengths and weaknesses helps firms determine what needs revamping.
While assessing the current IC strategy, entities should consider four aspects. These include a) how the organization has implemented the current IC strategy; b) what communication tools the firm has deployed to enhance the IC’s effectiveness; c) what impact the IC has had on the company’s culture; d) what complaints have been associated with an IC strategy.
Answering the aforementioned questions provides a great foundation for an organization to base its new IC strategy.
#2. Identify and define a target audience
Identifying an IC strategy’s audience plays an important role in determining what’s the most appropriate aspect to revamp. While some companies err by treating their employees as a large and uniform demographic, it may be problematic to introduce unique changes within a section of the company.
At the same time, different divisions may prefer different communication channels based on their expertise. To illustrate, staff in an organization’s information technology department will have unique communication needs, as compared to their human resource counterparts. Thus, treating staff members as a homogenous group may adversely affect the effectiveness of the new IC strategy.
To ensure that a target audience receives the right information at the most appropriate time, organizations should endeavor to segment their staff members based on expertise, role, and languages they speak. This approach enhances the effectiveness of an IC strategy once it’s deployed.
#3. Set clear objectives
To make an IC strategy more effective, organizations must specify their IC’s goals and timelines. Devising appropriate timelines for the planning and execution of a new IC strategy is vital in the success of an organization.
Through the specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) criteria, organizations can select IC goals that benefit the target audience and maximize their benefits.
#4. Select appropriate content distribution strategies
Oftentimes, employees struggle with information overload. For organizations to succeed in introducing a new IC, they should identify approaches to minimize information overload while distributing appropriate information to the target audience.
Identifying what employees should accomplish with content associated with the new IC helps select the most appropriate content distribution strategy. Ultimately, this helps organizations distribute customized information that aligns with the roles, expertise, and aspiration of a target group.