Every business owner knows that some form of communication – whether it’s traditional PR, paid advertising or various marketing strategies – is an important component of doing business. That’s why Obsidian PR exists and is in business today! While most people are focused on communicating to their external audiences, it’s sometimes forgotten that an internal communications plan is equally as important for the health of the business. If you’re feeling like communicating with your employees or among your team is chaotic (and creating more stress and confusion than good), it’s time to sit down and create an internal communications plan.
Gather feedback to guide your plan.
The first step is to sit down with your team or send out a survey and ask the right questions. You may ask how to best communicate, meaning the method of delivering the message (emails, team meetings, posted bulletins, etc.). Also, what information is lacking or is there any confusion that creates internal breakdown or issues? What is a good frequency? Or, what types of information and which delivery methods are best for certain departments, and who is responsible for getting all of these messages where they need to go? The list here could really go on and on! The bottom line is to ask the important questions that will inform your plan.
Create a plan that solves problems.
Chances are, once you gather feedback from your employees, you’ll find communication gaps that, once resolved, will remedy issues that could be hurting operations, productivity and morale. Creating channels of information flow that directly solve those issues is one step in creating your plan. You will need to determine the frequency and the method next. For example, you may find that sending a team-wide email twice monthly is sufficient. After that is set, you can then determine which types of messages should be relayed in each email. It may work for your company to communicate about company updates, protocols, reminders for employees ‒ the brass tacks ‒ at the beginning of the month, then send culture-boosting information like successes, praise and recognition for employees and motivational messages in your second email mid-month. A very quick glimpse at a sample monthly structure could look like this:
- Day 1: In-person or video conference staff meeting
- Day 5: Team-wide email is sent detailing important company and operational updates
- Day 15: Team-wide email is sent detailing culture-centric successes, employee recognition and other good news
- Day 25: Directors/managers send personalized emails or host in-person meetings to discuss department specific updates
- Day 30: A note from the CEO is included with pay stubs
Stick to your plan and evaluate.
A plan is only great if you stick to it and keep to your distribution schedule. The issues an internal communications plan should solve will creep back out if long lapses occur. Remember, it’s not always how much information or content you have to include in each piece of communication but that you are sending, meeting about or sharing something. Finally, evaluation is key. Don’t hesitate to survey employees periodically and ask if what is being shared and the frequency is meeting their needs.