Internal communications is an area of rapid change but it will require a mind shift to become truly effective. It’s not just about the entry of mobile devices as a channel but an acceptance that people have changed the way that they view things.
Here are some thoughts which illustrates our thinking:
The notion that employees are waiting in anticipation of the monthly newsletter is flawed. Send good or bad news as and when it happens, nobody wants outdated news or has time to read the 6 or 7 articles you’ve saved for the monthly publication.
Under one roof, you’ve got Baby Boomers and Millenials. Well, they’re not actually under one roof. You could have Baby Boomer White Collars and Baby Boomer Blue Collars, and the same for Millenials. It’s not just access to common, enabling technology that differs but attitudes, references and behaviour can differ too. Get used to the idea that internal communications cannot use the same-old platforms if you want to connect with all employees. Don’t let expedience prejudice chances of succeeding with internal communications objectives.
Set objectives and measure the results of your internal communications. You’ll be measuring criteria such as page views, open rates and comments. Take this as seriously as if it was an external campaign, continuously finding ways to improve results.
Agree the purpose of the internal communications programme. Improving productivity? Embedding company culture? Alignment to brand values? Become sales-focused? Post-merger consolidation? Restructure damage control? Building confidence? Internal communications cannot be a “nice thing to do” – it must have a strategic purpose so that content, tone and style can be geared accordingly.
As with social media, it’s about a forest rather than one or two tall trees when it comes to skill requirements. For internal communications to be as effective as external communications (otherwise, why bother) you’ll have brand (connecting), marketing (reaching), copywriting (attracting), design (exciting) and social media (engaging) skills.
Internal communications is every bit as rewarding, complex, intense and exciting as reaching external audiences. Effective internal communications will help employers to focus employees, attract or retain talent and align them to brand, culture and strategy.