Now, more than ever, global businesses are looking to implement their business strategy with tangible results – and quickly. So if you’re in the hot seat and need to draft an internal communication strategy, what do you need to know?
Change and Internal Communications Consultant, Uzma Mohamedali, @uzmamohamedali, is here to share her top ten “must-haves” to help you think about your strategy.
1) The broader the better
Clarity of purpose, knowing where your organisation is going, must be at the core of your Internal Communications strategy.
If links to the “what” (mission statement) and the “how” (often the corporate strategy) are missing, the Internal Communication strategy remains isolated and irrelevant to the business’ goals.
I agree, your internal communication strategy has to be aligned with your organisation’s strategy – Rachel.
Communication objectives need to be short and sweet. Take a bird’s eye view when developing them. The objectives should directly address business challenges while being relevant and realistic. They could be aspirational or pragmatic. “Fixing the basics” is not an uncommon aim. While formulating objectives, it makes sense to address how you would measure the overall outcome.
Further reading via the All Things IC blog: How to measure communication..
3) Identify the key players
Focus your time and effort on the right set of people by defining your stakeholders. Having a clear idea of which individuals or groups can help you to implement your strategy effectively is an important part of bringing the whole shebang to life. Get out there and find out who is who!
Further reading via the All Things IC blog: How to create, map and keep stakeholder relationships..
4) Unlock messaging
Make sure you keep those key messages sharp. They will form the building blocks on which everything rest. Quality not quantity matter here. What do you want your target audiences to remember, time and time, over again?
5) KISS: Keep it Simple Stupid!
Your Internal Communications strategy risks being forgotten and filed away if people just don’t “get it.”
Don’t try to be clever on this, be clear. Clear wins every time.
Ensure your key messages are repeatable. Present your plans visually. For me, a plan on a page has always been a sure-fire success. It’s a user-friendly way of getting key milestones across – fast.
6) Get creative with channels
We all absorb messages in different ways through different media. Some people like to read, others enjoy listening on the move, so be sure to use the full range and power of the communication channels available to you to achieve the goals of your IC strategy. This includes print, digital technology such as Yammer, podcasts, animations and live webcasts, to name a few.
And for the key milestones, it’s always worth incorporating the most popular and effective way to engage audiences: face-to-face communications.
Further reading via the All Things IC blog: How to choose the right channel.
7) What does success look like?
How will you know if your Internal Communication strategy is successfully implemented? Are your measures clear and achievable? What does the future look like when your ambitions are realised? Focus on these aims throughout the development process, talk to your stakeholders, and gauge their expectations. Is their vision of ‘mission accomplished’ the same as yours?
8) Just let it flow
See your strategy as an evolution. It is a framework which is not necessarily “set in stone”. Ensuring there are feedback mechanisms will allow you to respond to employees and design suitable interventions. This could range from online polls to annual employee engagement surveys. If you need to change and adapt don’t be afraid, just do it. Flexibility is key here.
I agree with this – I recommend reviewing your strategy regularly to ensure it’s still relevant. If your business has changed, is your strategy sill fit for purpose? – Rachel.
9) And now a word from our sponsor…
Engage your top talent to deliver key messages. It could be the introduction to an event, or a simple online post. It doesn’t have to be much but when this is done well, it not only improves a leader’s profile but lends credibility to the key messages. It helps to shape an authentic story that will give your Internal Communication strategy a real boost with audiences.
I would also think about your employees and internal influencers to move messaging into action. Peer-to-peer communication is incredibly powerful, think beyond just leaders – Rachel.
10) It’s all about buy-in
Make sure you gain the whole-hearted commitment of your leadership team. Their buy-in to agree the strategy is a leadership skill in itself. No doubt there will be challenges and these should be surfaced before any “rubber-stamping” of your strategy.
Without it, it is likely you will really struggle at implementation and not make as much headway as you would with everyone on-board.
Uzma Mohamedali is a Change and Internal Communications Consultant with more than 10 years of experience in helping organisations achieve their business communication aims. She has worked across several sectors in global and local roles, both in-house and from an agency perspective.
Uzma also recently wrote about why sometimes a full-blown, fully fledged Internal Communications strategy is not the answer. You can find this here. Originally a Londoner, Uzma is currently living in Europe and you can connect with her on LinkedIn: Uzma Mohamedali.
She’s also written for Gatehouse Group’s Journal of Internal Communication and on the topic of we need a communication strategy and we need it now.
Thank you Uzma.
What do you think about what you’ve read? As ever, you’re welcome to comment below or you can find me on Twitter @AllthingsIC.
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First published on the All Things IC blog 29 May 2018.