Published on 05/04/2022
There is no need to remind you of the many benefits that internal communication brings to the company. Today, many companies want to integrate it into their overall strategy, but are not getting all the benefits they had hoped for. Hence the importance of having the right tools to organise your internal communication!
Without an internal communication strategy and plan, it is indeed complicated to achieve good internal communication. In this article, we reveal the 7 essential steps to achieve an optimal internal communication plan! 🚀
#1 – Why produce an internal communication plan?
The days when internal communication was limited to messages from the management to all participants in the organisation are over.
Internal communication now encompasses all components of the company: management, managers, employees, etc. And for this, it needs to stay on course and establish an optimal communication strategy. This strategy therefore requires an internal communication plan.
The internal communication plan is a necessary roadmap that sets a framework for the work while having goals to achieve. It allows you to diagnose and organise the objectives of internal communication, determine the target, choose and plan the means to be put in place, and then control the actions taken. All these actions go through well-defined stages.
#2 – Seven steps to producing an internal communication plan
Step 1 : understand the challenges of internal communication
Today, if companies decide to invest in internal communication, this is because it can solve many of their problems:
- Retain talent
- Appeal to the new generations who are often distrustful of the corporate world and are looking for a certain level of quality of life at work.
- Facilitate recruitment through good onboarding: 6 to 9 months’ salary is the average cost of replacing an employee.
- Increase employee engagement
- Improve managerial communication: create a link between managers and employees
- Create more links between employees and Human Resources
However, internal communication can bring even more to the company and all its stakeholders:
- An enhanced corporate culture
- An enhanced employer brand
- Motivated employees
- Improved quality of life at work
- Management revealed
- Easier recruitment
- Improved productivity, and therefore turnover
Knowing the 10 benefits and understanding the different facets of internal communication - a lever for quality of life at work, management, but also for performance - will enable you to convince your Management to invest in internal communication and support this project at your side.
Step 2 : conduct an inventory
The creation of your internal communication plan starts with an inventory. Ask yourself this one question: how is the company’s internal communication currently managed?
The inventory is a key step in defining the budget and then implementing the communication plan. It will allow you to lay the first cards, list the needs to improve the internal communication strategy, and identify areas of improvement.
This phase will help you to find the arguments to convince the Management to invest in internal communication, in an adapted tool and to define the budget.
The inventory takes into account several parameters:
a) Carrying out an audit: this is the stage where the Communications Officer must take stock, to understand the expectations of employees and thus have a solid basis for the future. This analysis allows us to establish the needs for improving internal communication:
- material resources
- human resources
- time resources
- necessary communication tool
- strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company
b) Conducting a survey: remember that employees are the target of the actions carried out and the driving force behind internal communication. The answers to the questions will highlight their opinions, and the areas of improvement to be made next.
The survey is also an excellent tool if employees want to be more involved in the life of the company. The Internal Communications Officer should present the survey as a vehicle for positive change and a form of recognition.
Step 3 : define a budget
Once the Management is convinced of all the benefits of internal communication, you can then define the budget. Indeed, as for external communication, you need a budget to carry out quality actions.
Defining the costs involved in producing the internal communication plan will allow you to work calmly and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Our advice? Think about the budget from the start, as it allows you to think about everything that is needed to carry out the communication actions. Of course, the budget can be revised as changes and new needs arise, but setting it up at the outset will help you to see the bigger picture.
Step 4 : know your target
In a company, each employee has their own background, profession, experience and knowledge. This is where the complexity lies! You must therefore adapt your way of communicating according to the target. More often than not, two people want to say the same thing but do not understand each other because they use different words.
These situations occur regularly, creating misunderstanding and conflict. Keep in mind that you need to communicate with a clear message that is in line with the company’s DNA: the culture, the values, the vision of the founders, etc.
Your employees are your first customers
It is essential to take the time to study your target in order to subsequently develop effective actions. For example, this involves setting up internal surveys to find out what employees think, interviews with the management, interviews with the human resources department, to list employee needs regarding internal communication.
Firstly, identify the target group that could be reached and, secondly, how to adapt your communication according to the profile of the targeted employees (age group). For example, if you are addressing a young employee (18-30 years old), then opt for internal communication 2.0. You will have a better chance of getting their attention.
There is no communication without active listening!
Step 5 : define the topics to be discussed
Depending on the objectives linked to the chosen strategy, an approach will then be built up little by little. The latter will help guide the editorial line and the creation of the message to be transmitted.
Opt for the editorial planning, which will allow you to organise yourself as well as possible, without forgetting anything and going off in all directions. More specifically, it will allow you to:
- choose the themes and topics to be addressed according to the events (seasonal, traditional festivals, etc.)
- define the frequency of posting (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
- create evergreen content with the topics to be linked together
- define each person’s role: the editorial calendar makes it easier to distribute planning tasks among the members of the editorial committee.
When you talk about topics, you have to set up communication actions and establish an "organisation".
But how does the editorial calendar work?
Often established over a 12-month period by the editorial committee, the editorial calendar allows you to stay in control of the publication of content. It is usually shared on a collaborative platform so that all employees can make changes and get the same information in real time.
Our advice: plan a brainstorming session to organise the editorial calendar as well as possible and distribute the tasks to each person.
Some important decisions need to be communicated to all employees.
For example, if the company is planning to implement a new strategy-related objective, a management change or restructure the workforce, then the messages to be conveyed are essential.
The objectives are to involve the teams, through sincere messages, and to give them a sense of meaning at work. These messages should be clear and transparent, proposing actions to be taken. For this, it is necessary to find the right tool to communicate to all employees.
Step 6 : choose the right tool and channels
Choose a single good tool
Do you want to strengthen the life of the company? You don’t know how to define the channels and choose the right tool to inform employees?
It is no surprise that internal communication is a delicate exercise. In order to avoid mistakes and use a single tool, you must first know your target and then adapt your channels accordingly:
- company intranet
- corporate social network
- paper bulletin board
- digital signage screen
For example, Steeple is a collaborative tool that makes it possible to establish an optimal internal communication. Therefore, the idea is for the company to use this single tool, and to use the different channels of this tool to communicate. This includes written messages via features such as posts or instant messaging, but also communicating by sharing photos or videos.
Choosing channels and media
For optimised internal communication, take advantage of meetings and speeches to boost your oral communication. The messages will be adapted to the audience, and this will create a dialogue between the employees.
Do you prefer to communicate in writing? Give preference to the internal newspaper or newsletter. Of course, the choice of channels depends on several factors: the expected objectives, the desired target, the allocated budget, etc.
Our advice: don’t hesitate to innovate in your media to capture the attention of your employees, for example with a video
What about « non-connected » employees? There are many ways to communicate with this target. Oral communication is one of the possible solutions, for example through exchange points between managers and employees.
However, written communication is still the most common medium. Non-connected employees will appreciate using Steeple. Simple and easy to use, the tool will effectively relay company news and allow employees who are not connected to have the same level of information.
Step 7 : measure
Are employees satisfied with the company’s internal communication? Is the right tool being used? Is this the right target? So many questions that are too often unanswered…
Did you know? Measuring internal communication in a company is an essential step in knowing which areas to improve.
Getting an overview will help you to identify which topics have had the highest level of employee engagement. So how do you measure the effects of your internal communication?
- Ask your employees directly with an internal survey, for example, with a questionnaire to find out what they think. For this, follow a good methodology to propose relevant questions.
- Test the maturity of your internal communication with an audit. It will help you understand where you stand in your internal communication strategy and have the right arguments to convince the management to invest.
As you will have understood, internal communication plays a major role since it has real benefits for the company and all of its employees. The internal communication plan makes it possible to transmit information to employees through various tools, offers better productivity, better team cohesion, increases employee motivation and builds more trust.
To produce your internal communication plan, it is essential to follow the 7 steps:
- understand the challenges
- define the budget
- carry out an audit
- know your target
- create an editorial calendar
- choose the right tools
- take the time to interview your employees and adjust.
These key elements will help you to create a communication plan and put in place a solid strategy!
About the author
Read all the articles from the Steeple team, the experts in internal communication and employee experience