7 Steps for Planning an Internal Communication Strategy

Discover the 7-step process for implementing an internal comms plan that will transform your organization’s productivity.

September 1, 2023
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Get your internal communications strategy wrong and your entire organization will be fighting an uphill battle to turn a profit.

Get it right and you can transform your business’s fortunes overnight.

Read on to learn the simple seven-step process for implementing an internal communication plan tailored to your organization’s exact needs.

What is an internal communication strategy?

An internal communication strategy is a blueprint for what information you want to communicate to your employees – and how you’re going to communicate it.

An effective internal communication plan helps ensure all your employees are up to date on what’s going on within your organization, from changes in policy to new product releases.

Developing an internal communications strategy that keeps your people informed about the workings of your business is particularly important for large organizations and fast-growing businesses going through a lot of change.

Why your organization needs an internal communications strategy

An effective internal communication strategy and action plan can transform your business’s fortunes. 

Don’t believe us?

Here’s a quick look at a few research-backed benefits that come with following internal communications best practices:

Improve productivity

The typical knowledge worker spends a massive 20% of every working week looking for information they need to complete their daily tasks.

Which means that if you make good use of modern internal communication tools, you can save each of your employees an entire working day per week. 

Reduce staff turnover 

Employees of companies with higher turnover rates are 65% more likely to state that it could be "very difficult" or "nearly impossible" to "get the information needed to do my job well."

A well-thought-out internal communications plan will ensure the information your people need is always at their fingertips, removing that frustration – and reducing staff turnover.

Become a more effective organization

86% of people say ineffective collaboration and communication is the main cause of workplace failures.

Improve internal communication across your organization and you’re a lot more likely to bring projects in on time and within budget.

Improve collaboration

60% of workers find it “difficult”, “very difficult”, or “nearly impossible” to obtain information vital to their job from their colleagues.

The best internal communications strategies address this problem directly by ensuring all your organization’s important information, guidelines, and processes are close to hand for every employee, so they always have access to the information they need to do their job.

Boost the bottom line

The very best internal communication strategies have a huge impact on their business’ bottom line.

In fact, companies with around 1,000 employees could save a massive $2.7 million every year by improving their internal communications.

7 steps for creating an internal communication strategy

Want to start reaping all the benefits that come from improving internal communication in an organization?

Follow this seven step process for creating an internal corporate communication strategy that suits your company’s exact needs:

Step 1: Review your current strategy

Take a one-size-fits-all approach to internal and external communication across your organization and you’re setting yourself up to fail.

Every business is different, and the most effective internal communication strategies are tailored to your company’s exact needs.

So, the first step in refining your communications plan is to review how information is currently distributed around your company – and taking an honest look at what is and isn’t working.

Don’t have a current internal communications plan in place to be able to review? You’re not alone. A massive 60% of companies don’t have a long-term internal communication strategy.

If your organization is part of that 60% without a comms strategy in place then don’t worry. Follow the next six steps to implement one that suits your organization’s exact needs. 

Step 2: What is the new message?

The most effective internal communications strategies start by thinking about what information needs to be shared – and how that can be communicated most effectively.

A company-wide executive announcement requires a different approach to recognizing an employee for their hard work or sharing an employee benefits survey.

The most effective comms strategy breaks down detailed processes for staff to follow for all the types of internal communication your company regularly shares.

Step 3: Who is the message going to? 

Each of your internal communications will be a lot more effective if they’re tailored to the exact audience they're intended for.

So, be sure to think about:

  • The seniority level of the people the message is intended for.
  • How much context the people on the receiving end of the message have (and whether they’ll need filling in on details).
  • How the people on the receiving end of the message are likely to feel about it (for example, some messages need to be handled delicately).

Step 4: What is the goal of the message? 

Think carefully about what your end goal is with any message you send out.

Do you just want to inform the recipients about something, or do you want them to take action? 

A message you’re hoping leads to the recipients taking action requires a totally different approach – and different internal communication channels – than one that’s just keeping them informed. 

Whatever the intention of your message is, make sure it's loud and clear. It's sometimes hard to see whether that’s the case if you’ve been working closely on a project, so be sure to get a second opinion from another internal communications specialist in your company before hitting send on important messages.

And if you can’t articulate the purpose of an internal message, it’s a sign you might need to go back to the drawing board about what exactly it is you’re trying to communicate.

Step 5: How will you communicate your message?

Once you know what a message is, who it’s for, and what you want it to achieve, you can pinpoint the best internal communication tools for the job.

And modern internal communication software has a whole host of tools and templates that make it as easy as possible to get the right message across to your people as effectively as possible.

For example:

Picking the right internal communication channels for each message you’re looking to get to your team will do wonders for how well they’re received.

Step 6: Use best practices for internal communications 

No matter what message you're looking to get out – and what internal communications software you’re using to spread it – you’ll have the best chances of success if you stick to a few communications best practices.

These include:

  • Send the message in plenty of time. If you need your entire organization to respond to a survey, don’t send it a day before you’re looking to analyze the results.
  • Provide enough details without getting into the weeds. Every message needs to include enough context for it to be actionable without it becoming information overload (a fine line to walk).
  • Tailor your internal communications to their audience. Personalizing your messages helps increase engagement.

Step 7: Measure your internal communication strategy progress

Last but not least, you need to measure the impact of the changes you’ve made to your internal comms strategy to see what you need to tweak.

The best internal communication platforms help here through intuitive analytics dashboards that make measuring how much engagement each of your messages gets easy. This lets you trace the impact of the changes you make to your comms strategy so you can ditch what isn’t working and double down on what is. 

The final word

Stick to the seven steps we’ve laid out here to implement an internal communications strategy that will increase your company’s productivity, improve staff retention, foster collaboration – and ultimately boost your bottom line.

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