Among all the advice and tips contained throughout this guide here are the top 10 things you will need to do to improve internal communication across your organisation.
Understand your organisation
Make sure you are clear on the vision and values of your organisation and understand the priorities, opportunities, challenges and threats facing it over the coming weeks, months and years. If you are not clear where your organisation is heading, it will be impossible to communicate its vision to staff and motivate them to action.
Get to know your people
Spend time with colleagues across the organisation to understand their roles, stories and concerns. You organisation is your people, and without appreciating their needs and the value they bring, you cannot deliver targeted, impactful or engaging internal communications.
Build strong relationships
As well as getting to know your employees it is important to build strong, collaborative relationships with them. You will need colleagues from across your organisation to help deliver your internal communications with you and they will need you to raise issues on their behalf, so it is important that you spend time fostering that collaboration. Pay particular attention to developing relationships with departments you will need to work closely with including HR, strategy, facilities and your corporate and political teams.
Create a strategy
The best way to avoid being deluged by day-to-day demands is to create a strategy which clearly sets out your objectives, priorities, channels and messages. Not only will it help you to focus, it will provide you with evidence of why you need to push back or turn down requests.
Create and seek out great content
Your internal communications will be greatly improved if it is focused on great content. Look for inspiring stories from across the organisation, make sure your messages are relevant, timely and accessible and look for different or creative ways of bringing your information to life.
Do your research
Invest time and effort into researching your audiences’ internal communication needs. Conduct satisfaction surveys, explore the cost benefits of new channels, look at your demographics to better target your information. Quantitative and qualitative data and insight will give you a fuller picture of your organisation and help you to deliver messages and make recommendations based on tangible evidence.
Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate
Commit to evaluating the success of your internal communications activity when developing your strategy. Regularly seek feedback from staff on the effectiveness of your messages and channels and audit your channels at least once a year to make sure they are still fulfilling your needs.
Advise and challenge
Use your knowledge of your organisation and communications best practice to help your organisations craft messages with real impact that will motivate and engage staff into action. Make sure that you are also using your knowledge to help colleagues understand the importance of communications from the top down, bottom up and across your organisation and where suggestions or advice is needed, speak up. Do not be afraid to challenge colleagues, including those at a senior level. As a communications professional your knowledge and experience is critical to improving the success of your organisation, and that includes being honest when things have not worked.
Seek out support
Although you may be responsible for overseeing or leading the function, effective internal communication needs everyone’s input so do not be afraid to seek out support from colleagues throughout the organisation. Do not forget to share best practice and seek support from colleagues outside of your organisation, perhaps from internal communications experts from other authorities, professional bodies or through training.
One of the best aspects of internal communications is that you get the chance to celebrate the work of your staff as people, not just employees. Look for opportunities to communicate some lighter aspects of work, from cake sales, fun runs and social events and encourage colleagues to also have fun with their communications. The more enthusiastic you are about making internal communication enjoyable as well as informative, the better your chance of engaging and influencing your colleagues.