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Your Go-To Internal Communications Plan TemplateonPosted by Brandon Hastings
Many organisations focus heavily on improving their communications and messaging with customers. Such efforts directly affect revenue, so giving customers priority is certainly understandable.
However, it’s important to take a thoughtful approach to interactions with employees since their work impacts customers as well—hence the need for a well-constructed internal communications plan. (Tweet this!) We detail the main sections that should be included in your plan below.
(Before creating it, check out these best practices and helpful tools.)
Internal Communications Plan Template
1. Current Organisational State
The first section should be a summary of how communications are performed now, and how those communications are impacting your key performance indicators. Clearly identify what is prompting the need for a more formal communications approach, and areas of concern that your internal communication plan will aim to address.
2. Vision & Goals
Describe the vision you want to achieve over the next one to five years regarding communications within your organisation. What do you want the organisation to look like compared to how it is now? What important changes should be made to reach your desired state?
Linda Pophal of Strategic Communications provides some additional aspects to consider: “What changes in awareness, understanding, or beliefs do you want to influence? Prior to establishing these, it's important to conduct an assessment of where employees currently are at in terms of these knowledge areas. Making assumptions that do not reflect reality can result in a lot of work attempting to address an issue or knowledge gap that does not exist.”
Once you develop your vision, formulate goals that will help you achieve it. Structure your goals in the SMART format to ensure they are clear:
- Specific: Identify exactly what you want to achieve, and who is responsible for each part.
- Measurable: Make the goal quantifiable so it can be measured.
- Attainable: Ensure the goal is realistic given the time and resources you have available.
- Relevant: Make sure your goal is aligned with your overall desired state for the organisation.
- Time bound: Determine a solid timeline for achieving the goal.
When it comes to communications, it’s critical you keep in mind to whom you’re addressing your messaging. While all internal members of your organisation are important, they have differing perspectives and needs. This necessitates you adjust your messaging to achieve your desired results, just like you do with different customer segments. Your internal communication plan template should include a section that defines the various audiences and your communication goals for each.
For example, your organisation may have a mix of full-time employees, part-time employees, and contractors. You may also consider your vendors to be part of your internal network. Each of these groups requires unique considerations. And that’s just one way to look at it; you may also need to consider other aspects, such as departmental, geographic, and cultural concerns.
Need a collaboration tool that can help you easily segment different users into different workspaces? Start your free trial of Glasscubes today.
This section is where you describe the higher-level approaches you’ll take to achieve the goals you’ve formulated. “You’ll want to paint broad strokes here, describing conceptual ideas. For example, perhaps you’ve identified resentment as a key issue among employees at retail locations. One strategy to remedy this may be to strengthen trust between senior leadership and front-line employees,” explains Pophal.
For example, you may plan to conduct internal polls or surveys to gauge employees’ thoughts and feelings on different subjects. You’d then need to consider:
- Which employees will you include?
- What tools will you use?
- Will you share the results?
Amanda Sutton of Catalyst Communications Choreography suggests you be transparent when it comes to employee feedback: “Sharing results of internal surveys can maintain an open and mindful relationship with employees. This builds confidence and trust. It also relays that you want to ensure employees know they are vital to the organisation’s success and their needs are being addressed.”
Looking for an internal communication software for your company? The right software will solve these key challenges.
Interested in an internal communications plan template to get you started? Check out the simple one below with example text you can replace with your own.
Example Internal Communication Plan Template
Current Organisational State:
- Many employees feel like they don’t have a voice.
- Communication within our organisation is disjointed. Each department communicates in a different way.
- All employees will feel connected and heard within our organisation, and departments will communicate in the same manner.
- Within one year, we will increase employee engagement from 55% to 75% (as indicated by our annual employee survey).
- Within six months, we will move all departments onto a single collaboration system.
- For employees, we will ask what areas of the company they would like to weigh in on and what input they have on the way work is performed.
- For department leaders, we will create a cross-functional committee to discuss their communication needs.
- We will ensure multiple perspectives are considered and collect as much input as possible from across the organisation.
- We will use town hall meetings and conference calls to collect input.
- We will employ Zoom video meetings to connect with remote team members.
- We will identify and implement a centralised collaboration solution to support this internal communications plan.
5 Mistakes To Avoid In Your Internal Communications Plan
1. Making internal communications one-sided.
“Organisations should avoid establishing one-way internal communications,” says Cheril Clarke, founder of Phenomenal Writing. “This leads to lower employee engagement, and can make employees feel as if they don’t have a voice.”
Instead of having information flow just one way (to employees), Clarke advises creating a two-way information exchange (to and from employees). You can try setting up a dedicated inbox for employees to submit feedback, or establish town hall meetings where employees can voice their thoughts about company happenings. “It’s important to create opportunities for conversations between leadership and employees, not just push company information out.”
2. Avoiding hard conversations with employees.
“Mistakes happen, bad news has to be delivered, and sometimes people have to be laid off,” says Clarke. “It’s better to prepare the facts, have empathy, and deliver the news empathetically rather than avoid it—or worse, send a cold message to unsuspecting employees.”
Clark provides a few tips for handling tough conversations with employees:
- Have the conversations as soon as possible.
- Ensure those conversations are private.
- Take care to avoid negative verbal and body language when meeting.
- Make sure all criticism is constructive.
- Try to end on a positive note despite the negative news.
3. Disregarding different employee contexts.
Jonathan Lockwood, a public relations consultant, says a strong internal communications plan takes into account that not all employees are the same. “Being conscious of different demographics and the varied ways your employees use technology are both imperative.”
In addition, Lockwood notes that employees at varied levels of your organisational hierarchy may respond to your internal communications plan in ways that differ based on their seniority. For example, while a staff member may take your plan at face value, a vice president may feel their input wasn’t considered enough in your plan’s development. “You must take a multi-angled approach in creating your internal communications plan. Consider as many perspectives as possible, and get buy-in at multiple levels.”
4. Haphazardly communicating your plan rollout.
Lockwood says an internal communications plan must integrate a wide range of components and communicate them all well. “The last thing you want is a top-down internal communications plan that sounds like an elementary school teacher talking to first graders, or a jargon-laden campaign that feels like a waste of time.”
Prior to rolling out your plan, ensure you have sufficient messaging that informs employees on what to expect and when. Are there culture changes? Are any business processes being redeveloped? Be sure employees have clear answers to these and other key questions that concern the way work and communication is performed within the organisation.
5. Failing to provide technological support for the internal communications plan.
Simon Elkjær, chief marketing officer at avXperten, says that “companies often disregard communication and collaboration [technology] solutions, thinking such tools are too complex to use. However, collaboration apps do the opposite—they make internal communication easier, especially if you have a remote workforce.”
Elkjær says dated solutions like email, while still applicable in certain cases, don’t provide enough support for modern internal communications plans. “There are many collaboration tools available that address a number of communication needs in one solution. Modern communication requires agility, and it’s hard to achieve that using email—or multiple tools for that matter.”
After developing an internal communications plan, you need the right tool to support it: Glasscubes
Glasscubes is an all-in-one collaboration platform for large and small organisations alike. Our simple, software-as-a-service enables you to communicate practically anywhere through threaded discussions on the general message board, on specific files, on assigned tasks, or through instant messenger. It also supports your internal communication efforts with individualised workspaces for different user groups. Want all your contractors to have access to a specific set of resources, but not the same ones as your full-time employees? Workspaces let you do that and more. But Glasscubes has many additional features.
With Glasscubes, you can:
- Store and share files in a secure location, complete with automatic version control. You can even create approval workflows and view clear audit trails of user actions.
- Assign and manage tasks for different members of the team, and track them to completion.
- Collaborate with different employee groups through easily managed workspaces and multiple communication methods.
Increase the chances of your internal communication plan’s success with Glasscubes. Start your free trial today.
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