Internal communications are a vital part of any thriving business. Good internal communications unite an organisation; it ensures that all staff are on the same page when it comes to vision, core values and key messages. Furthermore, it makes change transitions and new policies run as smoothly as possible.
The ultimate goal of internal communications is to create ‘brand ambassadors’ out of your employees. Who is better placed to tell the world how great your company and product offering is than the people who love to work there?
When it comes to getting internal communications right there are three key points to remember:
1. The internal message needs to match the external message
Messages sent to staff need to be presented in a professional and appropriate way. If you would not send a staff email to the public due to spelling mistakes, poor formatting or too casual a tone, don’t send it to your employees. Unprofessional internal communications cheapen your brand to the very people you are trusting to sell it.
Remember, internal communications are internal public relations.
2. Ban the all-staff ‘broadcast’ email
Only two people should have the ability to send all-staff emails – the CEO and the head of communications, and there should be a formal policy in place for these messages to be approved and sent. That way, when received, employees will take notice, as they have not received 15 all-staff emails earlier that day about menial things like sandwiches in the fridge or Christmas cakes for sale.
That said, employees should still have a voice. There needs to be a common place where employees can post their messages and make announcements, for instance an e-newsletter, intranet or external social media platform such as LinkedIn, where you can create a closed group.
Someone important should always introduce your company’s e-newsletter. Employees want to hear from the leaders of their company. In addition to this, and other important company announcements, employees like to hear good news stories from their colleagues; who has had a baby, represented in a sporting team or an upcoming event. Having written and edited several e-newsletters for different organisations now, I can say the newsletters that combine both company announcements and personal achievements are the most popular.
3. Create a common voice
If you have taken point two on board, creating a common voice will be a lot easier. The idea is that you want staff to be able to give a 30-second elevator style pitch on who you are as a company, and what it is you do.
If all staff from the mailroom to board level knows what it is you do, and what you want to be known for, the marketing department has a lot easier job telling the rest of the world.
A good example of a common voice in action is when your employees are asked, “Where do you work?” Instead of them answering, “Oh, I’m a lawyer at a small-medium sized firm in the city, you probably haven’t heard of us,” they say, “I’m a lawyer at XYZ. We specialise in corporate and commercial law across a range of jurisdictions. It’s a great place to work, and because it is medium sized, I get great exposure to clients,” not only does your company’s name get promoted, but your employees express the value your company places on personal contact and attention to clients.
I have worked in organisations where they have gotten these three key elements right, and the result is loyal employees, low staff turnover and a line-up of people who want to work for their company.