5 Must-Have Elements of a Winning Internal Communications Strategy
- Author: Greg Stewart
There’s no doubt internal communications (IC) is key to building a better employee experience. But it’s not just a matter of providing information and sharing updates. In fact, internal communications is as much about connecting as it is about communicating. Effective IC messaging promotes empathy, trust, and transparency, helping employees build deeper connections with their work and the organization.
In a 2023 Gallagher survey, 74% of internal communications and HR executives said their primary IC strategy was to shape company culture and create a sense of belonging among employees. By employing best practices and understanding the needs of employees, internal communications can become any organization’s most influential culture carrier.
5 Best Practices to Help You Connect With Your Workforce
In times of crisis and in the everyday moments of work life, effective communications educate employees and help them see their role in bringing the organization’s vision to life. At Ingenuity, we’ve seen how next-level internal communications—via email, all-hands meetings, intranet messaging, and digital campaigns—engage employees and get them interacting on a deeper, more meaningful level.
Here are some of the common themes and best practices we’ve seen in our work with dozens of industry-leading organizations:
1. Consistency in communications
Following a consistent cadence in communications keeps employees engaged; it also allows them to trust they’ll get the information they need and won’t be left in the dark. But consistency isn’t just about frequency of communication. You also need to communicate broadly across all company channels and meet employees where they are, so everyone (IC, HR, leaders, and employees) can stay aligned. With storytelling and messaging that resonates with employees, internal communications doesn’t just inform; it inspires.
When we worked with a global technology client on their annual employee meeting, we created a theme based on their strategic initiatives and incorporated the campaign messaging into the company’s social media and Slack channels, as well as their intranet and emails. By doing this, we ensured employees got a consistent and holistic understanding of the organization’s strategic initiatives and their role in reaching company goals.
2. Well-defined brand guidelines
A stand-out internal communications strategy helps employees experience company messaging in a similar way, regardless of their location, function, or job level. To accomplish this goal, it’s essential to have guidelines that clearly define your company brand. Guidelines that include the following standards establish the “rules of the road” for everyone on the communications team and help convey your brand identity more effectively:
- Writing voice, tone, and lexicon
- The motto, tagline, and/or mascot that capture the essence of your brand
- Visual branding, e.g., colors, logos, fonts, and photography
3. A dose of fun
Like anyone else, employees appreciate a little humor in communications. After all, work isn’t just about work; it can also include a bit of play. Whether you use tools like video, gamification, or something else, internal communications can be entertaining and educational. That’s exactly what happened when we worked with Splunk on a branding and IC campaign. In addition to other campaign assets, we created a digital trivia game that helped employees build their knowledge of the new brand in a fun way.
4. Input from company executives and employees
Asking for feedback makes internal communications more relevant and useful. In fact, conducting interviews with employees is often one of the first steps we take at the start of a new client campaign. It provides an opportunity to engage with leaders and employees and hear the concerns and questions they may already be talking about in meetings and at the proverbial company water cooler. Whether you gather feedback from surveys, team meetings, or an internal Slack channel, what you learn will help you refine internal messaging and share the information employees need and value most.
5. Inclusion of diverse employee voices
Employee communications that reflect multiple perspectives and experiences go a long way in helping every employee feel they belong. And since each employee has the potential to be your best (or your worst) brand ambassador, it’s critical to tell diverse employee stories across your company’s channels. Inclusive communications not only help to create a sense of belonging, but they also help to break through barriers and silos.
Want to know more about how internal communications helps employees connect and have a more enriching experience at work? Continue reading our blog and follow us on LinkedIn.