Six tips for corporations on effective internal communication

23 November 2021 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read
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If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught the world one thing it is that streamlined internal communications in the workplace is vital. With the majority of employees wanting to continue to work from home in some capacity, corporations need to ensure they have an effective communications strategy in place, writes Phil Brown, partner at The Growth Activists.

Whilst there is a huge emphasis on external communications in large scale corporations, communications within the organisation can be forgotten. Setting up a strategy for your business will boost employee engagement, nurture company culture and help your team perform their jobs well.

Internal communication is key to the smooth running of your business – this will ensure your team performs at their best; connecting, engaging and aligning your employees.

Phil Brown, Partner, The Growth Activists

Improve remote accessibility

Work-life balance has now changed to work-life flexibility. And as many employees continue to work from home, it has created a barrier to accessing all internal files, documentation, information and resources. The importance of accessibility to digital information has become increasingly important with increased flexibility around where we work and when we work.

This can easily be achieved by using one secure online cloud platform for storing information, whether it be Google Drive, Dropbox or Microsoft Teams. If you have multiple repositories for information and communication, then work towards consolidating them into one.

Strategy comes first

Internal communications strategies within large scale businesses are not often a priority, with many managers not knowing where to start. Creating a strategy for how you communicate internally will increase efficiency. The strategy should include the following three key things:

  • Channels – What channels you communicate in, and when to use each channel according to the different types and priority of communication.
  • Messaging – Communications pillars and key messaging; what is it that we are going to be communicating to the workforce?
  • Audience – Who we are communicating to.

Take advantage of social media

One of the best tools for communicating internally with your staff is social media. Many employees are already using social media in their day to day lives, and by observing and learning from this, businesses can create new approaches that mimic these behaviours for internal communications. The name of the game is to communicate where your workforce already is.

When setting up an internal engagement strategy it’s important to research (interview and survey) a cross section of your workforce to discover which channels they use. People have a range of preferences for consuming content – some like email, others like their managers to let them know what’s important, others still prefer social channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Workplace.

Social media enhances interactivity and conversations amongst employees - across all departments and levels, keeping them engaged and assisting them in achieving long term goals.

Communicate broadly but be focused

Staff can often feel overloaded with information, which in turn means they are not absorbing key messages from their employers. This can be overcome by leveraging a broad range of channels to ensure you reach everyone with key messages. It is equally as important to be consistent and focused on these channels. Don’t overload each piece of communication with messaging because people engage better with one or two clear messages.

Give them a voice

How are businesses supposed to know how their employees are feeling or thinking? Internal communications is not a one way street – it is important for employees to provide their thoughts on the communication within their departments. Businesses should encourage feedback, and provide a platform or process where employees are able to share their ideas or concerns.

A workplace social media channel allows this to happen immediately and also allows conversations between people, increasing their feelings of being heard and creating a sense of belonging in the team.

Consider a business consultant

An internal communications strategy can easily become an afterthought when there are other priorities. Consider enlisting the services of a professional to make the process smoother. Business consultants are beneficial for corporations wanting to communicate more effectively as they are able to develop tailored strategies to suit your team.

Businesses should consider smaller consultancies as they have a more creative and flexible approach, when compared to the big consulting firms.

About the author: Phil Brown has headed up content and strategy departments for several agencies, but also brings extensive client-side experience having held senior marketing roles in a diverse range of organisations including big business, federal and state governments and not-for-profits.