By: Rachel Heisterkamp
If you think about internal communications as a simple delivery mechanism for company memos, quick updates, and other ad hoc messages for your business, you wouldn’t be alone. Right now, 60% of organizations don’t have any long-term strategy for their internal communications. Without employee communications plan, it’s easy to overlook the benefits and business impact that can happen as a result. But without it, your workforce may actually be suffering – in fact, up to 74% of employees feel that they’re missing out on company information and news.
When the gap between your company’s mission and your workforce widens, you can begin to lose the connection that drives your employees to move the needle for your business – and in such a noisy digital environment, that gap will only become more difficult to bridge over time. Your internal communications directly affect everything from employee engagement, to morale and productivity, and ultimately, your organization’s bottom line.
At GuideSpark, we look at the benefits of employee communications across three pillars of success: alignment, action, and adoption. With a strong communications strategy, you can not only get employees on the same page, but ultimately equip them with the mindset, information, and resources to move your business forward and achieve your most critical goals.
Success Step #1: Company and Employee Goal Alignment
The purpose of most communications strategies is to reach a shared understanding between the sender and receiver – in this case, between your company and its workforce. Would you say that today, the majority of your employees could name your organizations goals for the year? If your answer is less than enthusiastic, a strategic internal communications plan is a great way to share – and reiterate – critical information.
No matter the topic, your employees will benefit from understanding the “what” as well as the “why” behind news, changes, launches, or just day-to-day business updates. When planning for internal alignment as your goal, your employee communications will reach your staff where they are and connect them with the bigger picture, what your business stands for and where it’s going. Setting business objectives is one thing, but without communicating to your people in an impactful way, you’re missing out on setting expectations and building the momentum you need to create common goals. Once employees are aligned and connected with a shared vision, they’ll be more motivated and energized to get there.
Success Step #2: Engagement Creates Action
A key indicator that your communications are resonating with your workforce is that they genuinely responding to it – through feedback and individual actions. The impact of your communications can be hard to measure – you can track how many employees have read your emails, or even clicked on something in the message, but the ultimate result you’re looking for is likely not a “message delivered.” Instead, a truly effective company message will move an employee to a significant behavior change.
By connecting with your employees and providing information, context, data, and follow-through, you can promote both internal and external action steps toward aligned goals. Your communications could be the catalyst for stronger client interactions to better performance from managers and teams. Plus, your presence in an employee’s inbox makes actions and responses simple – if they can click a button or take a quick survey, you can have a better understanding of how your employee communications are resonating.
Success Step #3: Understanding Encourages Adoption
Change is constant – and, as we’ve all learned recently, it’s inevitable. External changes, like the overnight move to remote work in 2020, or internal transformations, like a push for a digital-first workforce, require the support and acceptance of your team to run smoothly. Great internal communications are not just great tools to align your employees behind an ultimate vision or a long-term goal, they’re also your best bet to keep your team moving as a unified force when circumstances feel uncertain or unstable.
Digital transformation projects, for example, are becoming more and more commonplace – they require both software and hardware shifts, training for employees, as well as new policies around user adoption and security. To make sure your technology investments are put to good use, connect your organization’s teams and leaders to new processes and plans with a comprehensive communication strategy that’s easy to digest and consume.
Great communication isn’t just a memo or a one-time event – it’s an ongoing, two-way process that requires a strong pulse on the morale, motivation, and understanding of your workforce. Rather than sending internal communications as they come up for programs and updates, develop a comprehensive strategy that’s proactive, feedback-fueled, and data-driven. The more connected and in-line your employees feel with the company’s priorities and direction, the more likely they’ll be to carry out the alignment, action, and adoption your organization needs to achieve its most critical objectives. When your people feel supported by the organization through resources and information, they’ll be much more in sync with your mission too – and won’t hesitate to push the company forward every step of the way.