Why You Really Need an Internal Communication Strategy
Not having an internal communication strategy is like constant firefighting. You just reply to whatever issues come up that affect your company, communicating adhoc with your employees whenever necessary. However, this can stress them, which might lead to less engagement. Especially with the fast-evolving business environment that requires constant changes, you need your employees to be the ambassadors of your company, making sure they adapt to every change of pace. To reduce stress and negative surprises on all sides, make sure to put your internal communication strategy in place.
Why Firefighting is not the Best Option
You might wonder why firefighting is not the best option for your internal communications, although it has worked for years. Basically, it limits your possibilities, especially in change management. Shooting your employees a short message on the intranet or even just an e-mail whenever something needs to be communicated just does not have the same effect as a thought-through communication campaign. In the best case, employees read your message and just accept it. But chances are that your message causes stress as they do not understand the change that is coming up. Also, most change projects within your company need a change of behaviour of your employees – and that’s a goal that is almost impossible to reach with simple firefighting. You need to understand what your employees need to inspire them to adapt their behaviour on the long term. And therefore, you will need an internal communication strategy.
Understand Your Target Audience
As with almost every plan, understanding your target audience is key. When it comes to internal communications, the target audience is your employees. But just because they all work for your company does not mean that they automatically form just one target audience. Depending on the change you want to implement, you need to compare their starting points and define the information and approach they need. Yes, this might lead to different approaches per target group, which sounds like a lot of work at first sight. But believe us, it will be worth it!
Use an Interactive Approach
If you really want to implement a change in behaviour from your employees, you might consider going for an interactive approach. Instead of a simple e-mail or message on the intranet, you could set up a campaign per target group including e-learnings, animations, infographics and more. Explain why the change is important to the company and eventually also for them and why it is important they contribute. Make sure they receive all the information they need at the right moment – which means not last minute, but also not way too far in advance. Give them room to ask questions and get familiar with the strategy.
Make Internal Communication Measurable
Nobody ever doubts that measuring external communications is a good idea. But for some reason, most companies do not measure the success of their internal communications. If you are implementing a change, you want to make your internal communication measurable: define measurable KPI’s, such as ‘by the end of the year, I want 75% of the target audience to complete the e-learning’. Monitor the progress of your internal communication campaign and you will see in time if your plan needs improvement to reach your goal.
So Why Do I Need an Internal Communication Strategy?
The business is evolving fast, needing companies to adapt quickly to new developments and market trends. If you want to keep up, you can better make sure to have your internal communication plan in order. Know your employees and how to reach and motivate them to avoid causing stress or demotivation. A good internal communication strategy also helps you to keep your employees concerned in between change projects – and is therefore not only essential for change management.
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