Business management

How to Define an Internal Communication Strategy?

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Having an internal communication strategy is important. 

According to a Harvard Business Review study, 92% of managers agree that this area has been undergoing major changes in recent years. 

With the advent of COVID and mass teleworking, even more so. 

In this scenario, there are many examples of companies such as Slack, Pixar or HP, which are managing this type of communication so that it becomes a competitive advantage in their businesses. 

For this to work, internal communication has to stop being just another area of the human resources department and be addressed in a company-wide way

To achieve this, you need a strategy.

How to organise an internal communication strategy?

To define and execute an internal communication strategy that has an impact on your organisation, you need to follow 5 steps:

  • Articulate goals, vision and mission.
  • Develop a message that resonates with all audiences.
  • Plan communications.
  • Implement your internal communications plan.
  • Measure and evaluate the objectives of your plan.
  • Have the tools to make your communication strategy possible.

Articulate goals, vision and mission

As in Simon Sinek's "Golden Circle" framework, before talking about the "what" and the "how", you have to define the "why


internal communication strategy golden circle

The why of this strategy is key: why do you want stronger internal communication?

  • To have happier employees?
  • To be a more productive organisation?
  • Why is it a trendy business concept anymore?

Believe it or not, there are no good or bad reasons, so be honest, because based on the answer to that question you will have to define the objectives of your strategy and the steps to achieve it.

Developing a message that resonates with your audiences

If you are developing an internal communications strategy, you are probably in a large company. 

Why do I know that? 

Because if you have 5 employees in your company, to have good internal communication you just need to want it. 

In larger companies, with 50, 100 or even 1000 employees, things get difficult. 

And if your company has so many employees, you will have different audiences:

  • The executive.
  • Investors or partners.
  • Managers.
  • The rest of the staff.

And your internal communication strategy has to consider what role each of them plays in the overall picture.

Planning communications

Once you are clear on why you are doing it and who is involved and on what terms in your strategy, it is time to define the plan to achieve it

The keys to drawing up a plan are:

  1. Encourage bottom-up communication.
  2. Encourage 1 to 1 communication.
  3. Encourage 1 to N communication.
  4. Define communication problems and eliminate them.

If you want to go deeper into how to work on these 4 points, we have prepared an article on how to structure an internal communication plan.

Implementing your internal communication plan

Once you are clear about why you are doing it, who it will affect and how you are going to implement it, the only thing left to do is to get down to work. 

At this point, there is only one maxim: go all in. I especially like the example of how MGM and its marketing director, Lilian Tomovich, did it. 

They wanted to reposition the brand from a casino firm to a world-class entertainment and resort company. 

The change was ambitious, so their internal communication plan and implementation was ambitious too: They initiated a project they named with the acronym SHOW de:

  • Smile and greet guests.
  • Listen to their stories.
  • Possess the necessary experience in the position.
  • To provoke a WOW in the guests.

To communicate it, they invited 7,000 leaders of the company to a conference, who would then have to involve the 77,000 employees of the firm. 

They also constantly bombarded everyone with the acronym with posters, trainings and mails. 

In short, they made an effort to send a 360º message that would reach all corners of the company and convey a single idea: SHOW. 

The results were a success.

Measure and evaluate the objectives of your plan

Measuring the success of your internal communication strategy is one of the most complicated parts and on top of that, there are no universal recipes: it depends on the first step.

  • Why are you doing it? What do you want to achieve?

In MGM's case, they validated the success or not of the plan based on 2 factors:

  1. Were all employees aware of and aligned with the SHOW concept?
  2. Was this repositioning your brand in the way they wanted?

Another good example of fixing measurement systems is Autodesk. 

They wanted to encourage greater participation between work teams and came up with a concept: cross-pollination. 

This was the name given to all the times when an employee spoke out in chats, conversations and discussions other than those that were purely their job. 

The idea was to encourage open, interdepartmental communication. In the words of Guy Martin, director of this strategy at Autodesk: 

director de estrategia de comunicacion intenta en autodesk

"We are no longer in a world where you will specialise forever in one thing. 

Now, to have a long and prosperous career, you need to continuously learn, grow and interact with a wide variety of people"

Have the tools to make your communication strategy possible

For all of this to work smoothly, finally, you need to equip your organisation with the tools to make it all happen. 

If you want to go into this section in more depth, you can read this article, but here's an idea: The most important tool of all is a CRM. 

If you want to check it out, you can try efficy right now :). 


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