How to Create Internal Communications That Staff Love.
For organizations of all types and sizes, one huge challenge is this: How do you keep all of your employees motivated and working together effectively, even when they are physically distanced from each other?
The answer in two words: Internal Communications.
A strong internal communications strategy connects everyone in your company by highlighting your shared mission, values and beliefs. It ensures that everyone is engaged and “rowing in the same direction.” Internal communications affect more than just your employees. When your employees feel more aligned with your business, their enthusiasm will rub off on everyone who interacts with your business—especially your customers.
Thanks to digital communications and technology, internal communications can be just as effective in virtual formats as in-person touchpoints. The trick is to use your communications to strengthen the bonds between your company and your employees. Here’s how.
1. Update Your Internal Communications Channels.
In a crisis situation, employees want and need to hear from leadership. They need and expect communications that are clearly presented and informative.
Authenticity, empathy and timeliness are extremely important, so make sure to convey these feelings throughout all of your communications. Not only does the well-being of your organization depend on this communication – the health and well-being of your staff may very well depend on it, too.
Review these critical parts of your communications infrastructure to ensure your message gets across:
If you have gated content specifically for staff that requires a password to access, such as an Intranet, the information there should be timely and responsive to employee needs. You may want some assistance to develop or improve your website experience and its content.
Are you sending HR email updates? If so, is the content relevant and engaging to your staff? Do your communications strengthen your organization’s culture? If you answered “no” to these questions, it might be time for a communications audit, a design refresh or a content overhaul.
According to the American Marketing Association, video is one of the most effective ways of keeping staff updated on the latest policies, procedures and guidelines. Is video part of your communications with staff? Are your videos educational and entertaining? If not, consider getting some help to bolster this essential channel.
Continuous Staff Feedback:
Employee engagement surveys are indispensable for gauging your staff’s commitment to your mission, business unit needs and future directions. You can also gain insights into their motivations and new ideas. Your staff is one of your biggest assets—make sure their voices are heard.
Your internal communications are particularly critical during periods of disruption and can help you lead through change. Make sure to stay on top of your communications channels and be willing to adapt as things change.
2. Strengthen Your Informal Internal Communications.
In addition to formal communications, informal communications can do a lot to reinforce your company values and your bolster staff morale. Organizations can creatively translate all sorts of activities to a virtual platform, while making meaningful new traditions.
Agency McKenna has adapted these company traditions to a work from home environment:
• Morning greetings using Slack
• Supportive and fun gifs (giphy.com) and emojis
• Birthday shoutouts on Google Meet
• Morning coffee breaks with branded mugs
• Funny meeting screen captures
• Shared articles, photos, film/TV recommendations
• Shared webinar Lunch & Learns
• Quick clarifying chats via Slack or Google Meet
And we’re not alone. These are a few rituals other organizations have created:
• Dedicated Slack channels where people can post resources, fun activities, etc.
• Companywide AMA sessions (“ask me anything” with the CEO or other leaders).
• Virtual game nights.
• Ordered lunches as rewards.
• 24/7 Zoom room for casual “water cooler” conversations.
• Virtual game nights and trivia sessions.
• Mid-day meditation and yoga workouts.
• All-team virtual cards (using GroupGreeting)
• Video messages from company leaders.
Shared rituals go a long way toward creating and strengthening interpersonal connections and improving job satisfaction, while cementing company culture. With a little imagination and creativity, your virtual workplace can be as lively as your physical one. The objective is to get everyone involved in your organization, from the bottom-up to the top-down.
3. Cultivate Brand Ambassadors to Share the Love.
Satisfied employees believe in your mission and want to help. Are they empowered to tell your organization’s story and relay your key messages? Are they recognized for big wins and small victories? Use internal engagement campaigns to broaden your internal communications reach.
Turn your employees into brand advocates. Mobilize them to help with your content creation and spread the word on social media. You may need some social media goals and guidelines to help shape the conversation. This is a huge opportunity to tap this enthusiastic resource and get your story out in an authentic way.
Your brand ambassadors need a strong brand behind them! If yours doesn’t represent the direction of the future brand, then it may be time for a brand refresh. After 20 plus years in brand development, we’ve learned that creating brand positioning that staff can own is the foundation for a remarkable new brand. Consult with our branding experts to get help with your company branding.
Now is a great time to improve your internal communications. Company brands that staff love are brands that customers adore. It’s an inside-out effect. By enhancing your internal communications, culture and connections—you can grow the magnitude of your brand.