All internal communications should have the same goal in mind – to align the day-to-day actions of employees with leadership’s vision and goals.
The investments that a company makes – in managers, in benefits, in training and development, in technology, in wellness, in culture, etc. – all have a single goal in mind: to get employees to more efficiently and effectively do the work that will achieve the vision and goals of leadership.
INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS EQUALS ALL COMMUNICATIONS
Internal Communications refers to all of the broadly targeted communications that employees receive from inside the company. This is more than leadership statements and quarterly earnings reports from the corporate communications team. Marketing sends promotional instructions. HR handles open enrollment, training and developing and polices. IT announces updates and outages. Supply chain is communicating to the plants. Field Management is communicating to retail. And facilities and supply chain and on and on.
LACK OF COORDINATION
Since most companies still communicate departmentally, the kinds of communications that employees get can vary dramatically. Without tightly aligned communications, the result is that employees receive hundreds of unrelated messages coming from every direction. And they’re left with the daunting task of trying to figure out what to prioritize and how it all adds up to the company’s success.
A FEW RELATED STRATEGIES
Tribe often recommends a handful of strategic approaches for our clients that help align communications around the organizations key actions. We recommend that the company appoint a sheriff who is responsible for negotiating the flow of all communications to employees. We recommend that all communicators work together from a consolidated calendar that captures every message that employees are receiving – we call it calendarization. And we recommend that communications incorporate consistent branding and design that helps employees easily understand how the messaging fits together.
Together, these strategies provide a number of benefits:
1. Humans don’t learn instantly. Managing a single consolidated calendar helps ensure that communications are sent out in an organized and logical manner. Then employees have a better chance of digesting and understanding the content over time.
2. When we take time to proactively plan the content that employees will receive, it gives us a chance to consider how to best position the individual messages so that employees can grasp how the change, initiative or benefit supports the vision.
3. Taking care in considering how to align communications to support the vision also helps us explain “the why.” This is very important when the communication is about a significant change that requires a new behavior.
4. Brand advertising helps consumers more easily understand the promise that a company is making to them. Similarly, utilizing a branded approach to communications – an employer brand – helps employees see how seemingly unrelated communications connect to support leadership’s vision. This can help 50 messages feel more like one idea.
5. That branded approach also makes it easier to communicate and differentiate the company’s Employee Value Proposition. This can aid retention and help employees understand the values that guide the organization.
6. Aligning all internal communications is designed to improve, not limit, communications. It requires planning, negotiation and use of the entire calendar. But mindfulness around what employees receive and when they receive it improves the chance that they might actually comprehend a large percent of the messages. Hell, they may comprehend all of them.
7. Perhaps more importantly, aligning communications with leadership’s vision, can help employees understand how their role contributes to success. This will help improve employee engagement.
And by the way, according to Gallup’s study of more than 100,000 businesses, companies with high employee engagement achieve higher productivity, higher customer loyalty/engagement, better safety, lower turnover and higher profitability, among other positive business outcomes.
Interested in strategies for aligning internal communications in your organization? Tribe can help.