Create an effective internal communication plan in 8 steps

Sander Kalkman

Sander Kalkman

With an internal communication plan, employees always know what is going on in your organization, the company goals, and what is expected from them. Even if something suddenly changes, they’re up to date and know what to do. It’s the perfect combo to boost their engagement, motivation, and how well they can do their job.

What is an internal communication plan? 

In an internal communication plan, the communication department sets out objectives, target groups, activities, strategies, and periodical resources. For example, if there is a busy peak time ahead, or a lot has changed internally. Or if you just want more guidance about your communication.

Why should you draw up an internal communication plan? 

Simple, because good, creative internal communication makes your employees enthusiastic, involved, and motivated. They become the ambassadors of your organization faster and better connect with each other and other departments, instead of losing their interest and support with your organization.

A communication plan is a great way to write down your approach on black on white. It will help you explain to your stakeholders how your strategy contributes to the organization’s broader goals and help you stay focused on your objectives. It is very beneficial in times of crises or sudden change. For example, suppose companies in the retail and hospitality sector have to close their doors for a long time due to government measures. In that case, they can fall back on their internal communication plan to find out which digital means you can use to keep your frontline employees engaged.

What are the components of a good internal communication plan? 

We have listed 8 steps that will help you draw up an internal communication plan. 

Keep in mind: not every organization is the same – an internal communication plan for the reorganization of a large hotel will look very different from the one of a fashion chain that is about to introduce a new product line. So before you start, make it clear to yourself WHY are you doing it, WHO it is intended for and WHAT your main goal is. Based on the answers to those questions, you can start forming the first frameworks of your plan.


  • Step 1: Describe the start to finish

Start by mapping out the situation your organization finds itself and where you would like to arrive within a certain period. Analyze your current communication strategy, where it often goes wrong, and how your plan can help solve this. Trends and developments within your target group, sector, market or society may also be relevant. For example, your organization may want to focus more on sustainability or inclusivity.


  • Step 2: Make objectives measurable with KPIs 

Once you have established your long-term goals, it’s time to formulate more concrete internal communication objectives. Make sure they’re measurable, establishing KPIs. This way, you can easily keep track of your progress, agree on measuring achievements, and map out the endpoint of your plan. Remember to formulate goals and KPIs according to the SMART criteria, aka specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. 


  • Step 3: Divide tasks and resources

Do you have well in mind your goals and how to measure them? Then clearly determine phases and schedule who will be responsible for executing each step. Don’t forget to make the plan accessible to everyone involved and keep them informed about the project’s progress.


  • Step 4: Know your employees

A good internal communication plan has clearly defined target groups. You can determine your targets based on all kinds of factors such as location, age, and function within the organization. But also how long someone has been working for your organization. For example, when it comes to service desk employees, they’re usually young, work part-time, and their turnover rate may be higher than the rest of the company. Communication must adapt appropriately.

Ultimately, keep in mind that you write your plan for your employees – so it’s good to keep them involved. Talk to them about what could be improved and what they find essential for their information needs. How do they prefer to be approached, and what’s the best language to use? 

Tip: Keep the posts understandable to everyone, and avoid using complicated terms and buzzwords. 


  • Step 5: Determine your strategy 

So what are you trying to achieve, and how will you keep your employees engaged and motivated? Write down your strategy and substantiate your choices. Clarity and transparency will help you reduce the chances that employees will draw other plans that deviate from your vision.


  • Step 6: Devise key messages 

Write down in one or two sentences the core message that makes the essence of your communication plan clear. Messages should be based on your goals; a good core message is straightforward, sincere, and inspiring. 

Tip: key messages are often better remembered by people if you make them visually appealing. Repeat them often and communicate them through different media.


  • Step 7: Choose the right communication tools and channels 

In this step, determine which communication tools and channels you will use and how you will use them. Take a good look at your objectives and target groups from previous steps: not every channel is effective for every objective or target group. For example, a department with mainly young people would like a vlog or infographic more than a PowerPoint or paper handout. 

Tip: Transfer your communication strategy into a calendar so that you have a good overview of when you perform which action and for whom. 


  • Step 8: To measure is to know 

Great! You have your internal communication plan set up, but it is also essential to evaluate the results. Determine in advance how you will reflect on your achievements and quantify the results. Which instruments do you need for this, and how can you use them effectively?


The next step in improving internal communication 

Does your organization suffer from information overload? Are you tired of the maze of different ways you can reach your colleagues? Or that critical information is not read by everyone, and that one group of employees is still not a member of your intranet page? 

With Oneteam’s mobile-first internal communication platform, you bring all your communication together on one user-friendly, interactive employee platform accessible to everyone. Internal communication with colleagues, departments, and locations can be a lot easier, leading to more employee engagement and satisfaction.

Curious how? Watch the explainer video below and request a free demo.

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