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How to Develop an Effective Internal Communication Strategy

internal communication strategy

What would a 25% increase in productivity mean for your business?

In organisations where there is an emphasis on effective communications, productivity increases by up to 25%. However, according to Workforce, 60% of businesses don’t have a long term internal communications strategy. When was the last time you evaluated your internal communications - are you part of the 60%?

A similar statistic found that organisations with a communications strategy are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their competitors. Effective internal communications are crucial, but implementation can be thrown to the bottom of the pile because you’re devoting your time to things that are immediately business-critical. 

However, contrary to the belief of some managers or directors, internal comms are business-critical and have a direct relationship with productivity, profit and customer satisfaction. So how can you develop your internal communication strategy?

Understand the Business Context

Many organisations have well-developed communications strategies for talking to external parties such as customers, but miss out on making the most of their internal comms. 

When you give the same level of attention and strategy to those communications channels, you’ll benefit from an increase in engagement, collaboration and visibility. 

Similarly, effective internal communications guarantee:

  • Improved staff retention: According to Aldermore Future Attitudes report, 67% of UK SMEs struggle to retain staff. When your employees can better share ideas, collaborate and access data quickly, they’re less likely to get frustrated. This means better employee satisfaction and therefore increased retention. 
  • Innovation: Without innovation, SMEs and enterprise-level businesses will be outmatched by competitors. If your staff lack the space or methods to communicate effectively, you can’t expect innovation to be possible. It’s like trying to light a fire in a rainstorm - without an internal application or platform that increases collaboration opportunities, innovation won’t occur. 
  • More empowered staff: Being empowered isn’t just about working independently. Quite frankly, independent work doesn’t make sense in a business context if the results of or preparation for that work isn’t influencing or being influenced by the rest of the business. The best kind of work produced is that which is collaborative, representing multiple perspectives. Through internal communication strategies, staff are more empowered to make their own decisions by providing them with a voice, but they’re also empowered by being able to rely on others better.

Without good internal communication, you won’t capture any of these things in their fullest potential.

Target Metrics for Improvement

No strategy can begin without the relevant data and tangible metrics to report on. Tracking these metrics will allow you to judge whether your current internal communications are working well and see how any changes improve things. 

The metrics you can target could be:

  • Project completion times: Are these longer than they should be? If so, it could be a communication issue causing bottlenecks.
  • Employee meeting times:Too little employee communication might be a symptom of bad technology. Similarly, too many instances of communications - like too many meetings - shows that multiple conversations are needed to get issues solved. With 15% of a business’ time going towards meetings, the key is to find the balance of regular meetings that get the job done.
  • Information sharing: Not so much a metric to track, more of something to be aware of. If information, data or reporting is not being shared, you’ve got to ask yourself why? Is it a lack of visibility, disparate systems, siloed file storage or inaccessibility? Better internal communication, especially a web-based comms platform that allows immediate file sharing, such as Microsoft Teams or Google Chat, works wonders at resolving these intangible information-sharing problems. 

Collaborate On Solutions

This is a small point, but critical to the overall process. An internal comms strategy should not be developed or chosen by one person on the merit of what is most cost-effective. This can usually be the responsibility of someone in management, who may not be aware of very specific communications problems that others in the organisation might experience.

Essentially, any strategy or software implemented needs to be chosen because it reflects a solution to problems faced enterprise-wide. That means you need to gather everyone’s ideas, challenges and needs and find a solution that can provide for them all. 

However, it’s not just about what works on paper - a business isn’t simply a mix of technical considerations. Employees need to be enabled and empowered through a simplification of their digital environments, giving them the tools they need without over-complicating things.

The best communication strategy will be the one that allows your employees to work in a way that best suits them.

Empower Your Team With Technology

Nowadays, businesses are defined by their IT landscape. Siloed applications, data locked behind unnecessary password protections or behind rigid security solutions… the list of technological business-killers is long and worth avoiding, as data that can’t be accessed can’t be used.

Today, businesses and the employees that keep them going need the right flexibility, collaboration, speed and connectivity to not only remain productive, but also be allowed to capture innovation and show initiative. 

Imagine you’re a business that:

  • Has no ability to enable or manage remote workers.
  • Has a real reliance on multiple third party solutions.
  • Is unable to manage Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) solutions.

Updated technology could also be used to improve your email use and telephone systems, depending on which of these is more pertinent to your work. 

The right technological landscape, with software that supplies the needs of each of your employees, helps create a far-improved working environment. And the benefits don’t stop at the borders of your business environment - any improvement internally will be reflected externally, improving customer satisfaction.

If you’d like to learn more about capitalising on these implementations, check out our guide.

A Smarter Approach to Business Communications

If you’re looking to improve your business comms, based on the policies and technologies you’re currently using, our guide can help. 

Our argument is that you should be working with a centralised digital space for communications - where staff, either on-site or remote, can communicate effectively, speeding up issue resolution and keeping projects on track. 

To discover more on internal communications, click the download button below.

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