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Five key principles to guide your internal comms strategy

The comms landscape has changed so much in the last few years with colleagues now expecting their internal news feed to match external channels. With the rise of remote teams and the ever-growing need for mobility, creating and curating channels of internal communication is becoming increasingly vital to the success of a business. The way a business communicates is often more important than what it has to say.

There are many reasons why a workforce might be dispersed, perhaps a hangover from Covid in terms of remote versus office, or perhaps because the roles vary from those without desktop PC access to those on the road and those who are very much back in the office. Is it possible to engage every worker regardless of location and role?

Firing messages across organizations will result in decreasing engagement. Messages that a C-suite team needs to see are entirely different from those that the housekeepers within a global hospitality organisation would find relevant for example. With this in mind and whilst some incredible and innovative tools are now at our fingertips, the old fashioned notice board still has a place for many organisations.

Keep in mind that when it comes to comms it is key to work out what needs to be communicated and to whom. By using a comms platform or an intranet to direct employees to information that catches them up on the news they need to know which they can enjoy when they have the time to consume it, could be one way to reduce email overload and apathy.

While bottom-up communications should be organic (once initial guidelines and processes have been set up), a top-down approach will require significant input to gather content, review submissions, conduct employee interviews and draft and edit posts.

A model for top-down communications plan might include a “view from the top” quarterly business update and message from the CEO; a “check in” monthly or weekly bulletin sharing all the key events, dates and news that colleagues should look out for; or perhaps a “words of wisdom” post from anyone in the company sharing the most valuable piece of advice they were given.

If an internal comms function doesn’t yet exist in your organisation we would strongly recommend that one is appointed to lead this key work stream and to also ensure that existing communications resources don’t become overly-stretched. External support is often helpful to conduct significant elements of this work, primarily on content generation or an EPS (employee perception survey) allows you to get a starting snapshot and gather essential data on perceptions, frustrations and opportunities. At SEC Newgate we frequently work with clients who are keen to understand sentiment within the business, guiding on an “always-on” employee experience and listening approach as opposed to tiresome annual surveys.

In summary here are five key principles to guide your internal comms strategy:

  • Accessible – can everyone in the org actually see the content you’re creating?
  • Multi—directional – be targeted in your approach of who needs to see what when
  • Regular and consistent – don’t start a podcast and not stick to it. It doesn’t show commitment so be realistic about what you can deliver
  • Engaging – think about the tone of voice for each audience – you’re not going to deliver annual results in the same voice as you tell people about the Summer fun day!

Top tips for content creation and scheduling

  • Provide content on demand so people can watch at their leisure
  • Use inclusive language to deconstruct systems of power, allowing all communities to be safe, to be themselves
  • Measure what is landing and what isn’t
  • Continually change and evolve
  • Change the format - don’t get stuck to a weekly newsletter or monthly blog
  • Consider gamification of content

This PRmoment Internal Comms Review is written by Laura Leggetter, Co-Head of Communications of PR agency SEC Newgate.

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