Effective communication it starts with a plan. This, in turn, boils down to formulating goals and strategic and tactical actions that help to achieve these goals. Efficiently planned internal communication helps in sending and receiving the right information, by the right people, at the right time and in the correct form. Clearly defined guidelines help save time and energy for the implementation of key tasks within the scope of performed duties. How is this possible? communication plan makes the communication process itself almost automatic and seamless. Which in turn contributes to more effective achievement of the company's business goals.
- Why does internal communication matter?
- What is a communication plan?
- Do you need a communication plan?
- Elements of the internal communication plan
- How to develop an effective internal communication plan?
- Stages of building an internal communication strategy
- What does the communication plan look like in practice?
- Watch out for these mistakes when creating a communication plan
Why does internal communication matter?
Organized internal communication is a key element for any organization, as it allows for efficient exchange of information between employees. Effective internal communication, however, requires not only the right tools, but also the development of the right organizational culture. In order to achieve effective internal communication, it is worth investing in training in interpersonal skills, developing an authentic relationship with employees and building an open and transparent feedback culture. All this will contribute to increasing the involvement of the team and the effectiveness of the entire organization.
The planning stage is preceded by an in-depth analysis of the initial situation and the effectiveness of the communication tools used so far. This is done during the internal communication audit. Then the goals and the direction in which we are going are defined. To choose the right one internal communication tools, we need to characterize the recipients and determine what kind of information we want to send and receive to them. An important element of the plan is also to indicate the forms of monitoring the effects of communication and the effectiveness of the tools used. Therefore, plan your communication tools so that you can measure this effectiveness.
Specifying what yours is communication strategywhere and how members of your team are to communicate, you limit the possibility of working in the information noise and chaos. Thanks to this, you also inspire your employees to build valuable relationships. Efficient internal communication it is, after all, essential in achieving strategic and tactical goals. Her the strategy also includes a crisis communication plan.
What is a communication plan?
A communication plan is part of managing each project. It determines how you will communicate the next steps. It can be targeted at one group, e.g. media or shareholders. However, it may also apply to all groups, i.e .:
- employees (internal communication)
- business partners,
Lots of people make simple communication plans without even realizing it! Corporate communication often runs into the same problems over and over. Hence, employers create guidelines for employees, in which they specify which channels can be used to communicate with each member of the team. Thanks to this, it gets better corporate culture and your image in the eyes of employees, as well as the atmosphere at work.
Sales departments also create such plans for customers, because one prefers when marketing communication takes place by e-mail, while others enjoy face-to-face meetings or long conversations. By choosing the right information channel, you prevent a situation in which, for example, important information has been transferred to a company e-mail that no one uses.
Do you need a communication plan?
According to Workforce, 60 percent. of companies do not have a long-term communication strategy. When there is a problem, they react on an ongoing basis by sending random e-mails to customers or employees. This may be enough for you, but it will probably generate a lot of stress. Communication will be delayed, because you have to plan what and how you will tell on an ongoing basis. Having a communication plan, the need to explain the situation at the next stages of the project is not a surprise to you. You can even hire or delegate the right people in advance to complete ready-made templates at the crucial moment.
Your PR department will appreciate knowing specifically and in advance what they need to work on. If you run a business at the intersection of the private and public sectors and your projects affect, for example, the local community, you need to prepare a communication plan. Journalists and activists can request to see this document to keep their finger on the pulse of events. With large projects, everything has to be formal and leave a trace in the documents. You cannot "by the way" notify a friend inhabitant of the area, hoping that the others will somehow find out about the project. You need to designate how you will communicate with them, when you will start and what they will be like marketing communication channels. In case of any problems, you must have confirmation that the meetings have taken place and that information posters have been posted.
It will not always be all of these elements, but it is a framework, proven pattern of the plan. As for the tools needed to create a communication plan, they are very simple. It is often an ordinary document in Word or Excel, which your graphic designer can later graphically cover, giving it a slightly more interesting form. You can also create a communication plan in tools such as Asana, Wrike or Trello, where you specify individual tasks and assign them to specific employees. You can then track your progress and receive a reminder when it's time to act. Of course, you can also create a communication plan on a piece of paper, a whiteboard or a wall sheet.
Elements of the internal communication plan
The key elements of an internal communication plan include:
- Goals, considered at the information, motivational and activating level, which should be defined on the basis of a needs analysis.
- Addressees, which can be employees of all levels as well as subcontractors, distribution network and business partners, management board and supervisory boards.
- Resources that we have or need to achieve specific communication goals (people, tools, ideas),
- The budget that we are able to allocate to strengthen the internal communication process and implement individual tools.
- Communication tools that should be tailored to the needs and preferences of each target group. These can be, for example, a website, engaging content in social media (photos, videos, texts, infographics, reports), training, meetings.
- A schedule in which we assign specific time frames to individual activities, while maintaining the need to repeat some of them and implement them over a longer or shorter period of time.
- Results, that is, the indication of expectations in relation to communication and the effects we strive for. Only knowing what exactly we want to achieve can we achieve it.
- Assessment of plan implementation and the effectiveness of the tools used, the conclusions of which will help in the creation of further communication plans.
Did you know that internal communication in your company translates directly into sales?
Don't let you lose customers because of it!
How to develop an effective internal communication plan?
An internal communication plan can be developed in a few simple steps. Taking into account the goals you plan to achieve, the resources at your disposal and the needs and preferences of the target group. According to these criteria, select the tools that you will use in building an internal communication system in your company. Not all elements of communication may be necessary.
Then, carefully familiarize yourself with the capabilities of each tool and train all employees in their proper use. Also define the rules for using each tool - when to use instant messaging and different types of applications, when e-mail, how often to hold face-to-face meetings and teleconferences, what to put on notice boards, and what forms of feedback to expect.
Describe all assumptions and share the communication plan with all employees, discussing all the guidelines in it in detail. Declare that the presented document is a flexible tool and that everyone has a real impact on its modification. Set up a path for submitting comments on the plan being implemented. Based on the information received, update it and inform employees about each modification made.
Building stages communication strategy internal
The first thing you will need is the purpose of your communication plan. The point is whether you need to positively influence the business environment towards the project, or rather inform shareholders reliably about the next steps or enable the flow of practical information. This will make it easier for you to choose the means and tools later. This way it will be consistent communication strategy. In addition to the obvious steps, such as the selection of audience, media and message, you also need to define the resources and sources that you will use.
Perhaps there is an unused billboard on the company premises or a large-format advertisement can be placed on the wall of the building. Or maybe you have good contacts in the local media. You can take advantage of all of this if you plan ahead in your strategy. Some end up creating their communication plan here. If you want to go a step further, break down the communication plan into specific steps that you can immediately plan and assign to employees. For example, "contact with the media" is a broad term. However, you can break this point into stages: defining the media interested in this information, finding telephone numbers and addresses to the right people, creating an information package, sending information packages, answering journalists' questions ...
What does the communication plan look like in practice?
An extensive communication plan usually takes the form of a table in which you will find fields such as:
- communication way;
- communication channels;
- remedial actions for communication problems;
- communication goals.
They will not always be all these elements, but it is a framework, proven pattern of the plan. When it comes to tools needed to create a communication planthen they are very simple. Often it is an ordinary document in Word or Excel, which your graphic artist can later build graphically, giving it a slightly more interesting form. You can also create a communication plan in tools such as Asana, Wrike or Trello, where you define individual tasks and assign them to specific employees. You can then track the progress, and you'll be reminded when it's time to act. Of course, you can also create a communication plan on a piece of paper, a white board or a wall sheet.
Sample plan of internal communication
The internal communication plan presents specific information and promotional activities relating to a specific project that we intend to present to the recipients, in this case the internal environment (employees, management, investors, subcontractors). It is best to illustrate it on a specific example, which can be a kind of matrix:
Deadline: first quarter of 2022
Communication goals: improving communication of the personnel responsible for direct contact with the client, increasing interest in individual promotion channels - Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, website.
Addressees: management board, sales department employees, customer service employees
Tools: team building training, training in building a personal brand in social media, updating information posted on the website, conducting engaging activities in social media, organizing regular information and consultation meetings.
Detailed schedule of meetings and publications (dividing the entire quarter into individual days and assigning individual tasks to specific dates, taking into account their regularity and cyclicality).
Assumed effectiveness assessment indicators: number of participants in information and consultation meetings, number of trained employees, number of recipients of content on the website and in social media, reach in social media.
Conclusions, i.e. a discussion of the effects of the application of individual activities together with comments that will help to improve individual processes in the future, e.g. meetings of less numerous groups bring better communication results.
If the communication activities in your company so far do not work as they should, it is worth carrying out marketing audit. On its basis, you will implement the necessary modifications and start achieving your goals.
Watch out for these mistakes when creating a communication plan
The first common mistake is the lack of a set goal for a communication campaign. Neither you nor your employees know exactly what to communicate or why it is important. This is conducive to a situation in which the communication plan becomes just a dead document. Unless you're creating a communication plan just to tick off that task on your list, avoid clichés in it. Looking through successive plans, you can still come across the same slogans, especially in the section describing what communication should be like. Simple, honest and clear - it's obvious! Go one step further.
Set communication standards. Take a look at the communication tools used so far in the organization - do they actually contribute to the implementation of the business strategy? What would help in efficient communication? How can different groups of employees contribute to this? Do you include them in your strategy? After all, internal communication standards apply not only to management. Perhaps improving internal communication should now be a priority in the company's business strategy. Appropriate internal communication translates directly into the achievement of business goals of the entire organization.
Think about how you should actually communicate with other groups. Define the differences and expectations, and then describe the form of communication in detail. This may seem difficult at first, so much so that you may run out of adjectives! Soon, however, thanks to this exercise, you will be able to quickly create tailor-made communication plans, and later draw inspiration and new data from them. If you have a problem with building such a strategy, we will be happy to help you.
What is an internal communication strategy?
The internal communication strategy is an action plan aimed at ensuring the effective transfer of information between employees and the company's management. Nowadays, when remote work, multiple branches and team diversity are already standard, this strategy is extremely important for any organization. It ensures consistency in the transfer of information, and also builds a bond between employees and management.
Does every company need an internal communication strategy?
Nowadays, every company, regardless of its size and industry, should have an internal communication strategy. Why? Because this strategy allows for effective transfer of information between employees, which improves the quality of work and increases profits for the company. In addition, this strategy allows employees to better understand the company's goals, which affects their motivation and commitment to work
An example of an internal communication strategy - what might it look like?
In every company, internal communication plays a key role in achieving success. The internal communication strategy aims to ensure that information is communicated in a clear and effective manner, which affects the motivation and involvement of employees. An example strategy might include regular team meetings, providing updates via newsletters or internal web portals, and using various communication tools to help resolve issues. A carefully developed internal communication strategy allows for effective management of employees and bringing them closer to the achievement of the organization's goals.
How to prepare an internal communication strategy?
One of the key elements of the strategy is a communication audit that identifies shortcomings in internal communication. Then you need to set communication goals and priorities, as well as determine the most important communication tools, channels and frequency. It is worth remembering that the internal communication strategy should be flexible to adapt to the changing needs of the organization. Therefore, in order to achieve success, it is worth investing in proper planning and preparation of an effective internal communication strategy.
What is the purpose of the internal communication strategy?
Nowadays, an internal communication strategy is essential for any organization, regardless of its size. Its purpose is to convey information and values, build employee engagement and enable the smooth functioning of the business.