While much thought is put into branding and external marketing, the importance of internal communication is often neglected. This is despite the fact that, when done well, it can improve engagement, clarity and transparency at your company. Whether it concerns an organisation-wide culture audit or a smaller-scale update, internal communications should not be undervalued.
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What is the definition of internal communication?
Internal communication is the movement of information by individuals that are part of the same organisation. Sometimes abbreviated at internal comms or IC, it is made up of communication between c-suite members, management personnel, and other workers – essentially all employees regardless of their team, rank or location.
It’s important that your internal communication definition is not overly restrictive. Internal communication can include top-down messaging, two-way communication, crisis planning, onboarding support, informal chat messages, and much more.
It can be verbal or digital, interdisciplinary or shared within a single team. If you’re looking to improve your internal communications, it is advisable that you come up with a clear plan rather than allowing it to become fragmented. It’s also a good idea to ensure that it aligns with your company’s core values.
Why is internal communication important for your organisation?
The primary role of internal communication is to share information but its importance stretches far beyond that. Below, we’ve come up with a list of reasons why it’s so important:
- Share your strategy
A staggering 72% of employees do not possess a full understanding of their company’s strategy. Improving communication in the workplace provides a great opportunity to improve this figure by setting out a clear roadmap with team goals and overall objectives.
- Provide a sense of purpose
Do your employees have a clear understanding of their roles and tasks? If not, internal communications can renew their sense of purpose by emphasising the importance of their role, and how it fits into the company’s wider plans.
- Strengthen your company culture
Internal employee communication is one of the most effective ways of reinforcing your company culture. Every communication is an opportunity to share your values and shape the cultural landscape at your organisation – through its content, language, and tone.
- Boost engagement
Good internal communication isn’t just about bombarding your employees with company information, it’s about creating a two-way dialogue.
Interactive messaging that all your workers can get involved in is a great way of boosting employee engagement. And both productivity and employee retention levels are improved when your employees are engaged.
- Collect feedback
Opinion polls, employee surveys and other kinds of feedback should all form part of an effective internal communication plan. This means enabling discussion, debate – and even criticism – to improve your organisation.
- Enable collaboration
Internal communication tools can also greatly enhance collaboration in your workplace by inspiring interdisciplinary discussion and breaking down silos. Encourage your employees – all of them – to engage with one another.
- Keeping calm in a crisis
Internal communication has a number of uses, but one of the most important is crisis management.
Your messaging helps you control the narrative around a crisis, steer your response and minimise the damage caused – to both your finances and reputation.
- Improve the employee experience
As we’ve shown above, strong internal communication can provide purpose, fuel professional growth, and strengthen engagement.
Put together, this adds up to an improved employee experience for all your workers, whether they’re on the frontline or desk-based.
What do you need to include in your internal communication plan?
An effective internal communication plan helps you stay focused on your objectives and can transform your employees into brand ambassadors. Here are some of the main components that should make up your plan:
- Analyse your current communication strategy – its strengths and weaknesses;
- Define your objectives and ensure they’re measurable using KPIs;
- Break your plan up into appropriate phases;
- Define your target audience based on age, location, function, and length of service;
- Use your goals to determine your strategy;
- Come up with your core messaging;
- Select your internal communication tools;
- Measure and evaluate your plan.
Read more about how to create an effective internal communication plan in 8 steps.
Which tools can be used for effective internal communications?
If you need support finalising your internal communication strategy, there are several tools that can help – some of which are even available for free.
These internal communication tools range in complexity but all play an important role in sharing information, HR support, motivational messaging, and much more. Here are eight examples of the most common internal communication tools.
- Instant messaging
WhatsApp or Messenger group chats are among the most used internal communication tools across the retail and hospitality industries.
It’s important to consider that using WhatsApp for internal communication crosses some important privacy boundaries, like sharing all contact information with all participants without their permission.
Despite repeated claims that email communication is dying, it remains a central communication channel in most organizations.
It is simple and already available to everyone. However, there are some downsides that are worth considering, like the inevitable information overload.
- Social media
Social media platforms offer benefits that include networking, project collaboration, and sharing of information.
Albeit they can be used for internal comms, usually employees prefer to use social media for purely personal purposes.
Intranet is the personal network of an organization. Traditional intranets are more often being replaced by social intranets that fit the current needs of organization’s and their employees.
- Bulletin board
Bulletin boards have long been a fixed presence in company hallways or canteens.
It’s a nice addition to your internal comms channels, but not suitable for your main way of communicating with your employees.
- Team meetings
The good old team meeting is great for employee engagement, but not the ideal option for organizations with a lot of frontline employees.
- Internal Communication Platforms
Internal communication platforms or apps are beneficial for connecting, training, and engaging employees.
Only flaw? They are limited to the internal communication solution and usually don’t offer other essential components of the employee experience, like onboarding, eLearning, or employee surveys.
- Employee Experience Platforms
All-in-one employee experience platforms grant employees access to all kinds of helpful information, a digital learning environment, and HR tools in the palm of their hands – making it the most suitable solution for the younger generation of employees.
Find out more regarding each of the tools and their differences in the blog post The 8 best internal communication tools.
Content examples to spice up your internal communication
Good internal communication is about creating content that your employees are excited to read and interact with. The same old company-wide emails are likely to end up straight in the trash, if they even reach your (deskless) employees.
Here’s our eight suggestions for the kinds of content that could really spice up your internal communications:
- Share important business updates
Keep your frontline employees directly updated on products, promos, systems, and regulations.
- Acknowledge individuals
An expert study found out that 88% of respondents found peer praise very or extremely motivating. Celebrate outstanding performances on your internal comms timeline.
- Share the bigger picture
Start sharing company values, priorities, and progress more frequently. It will help employees to connect with the bigger picture, giving them a fulfilled image of their position within the organization.
- Receive powerful testimonials
Just released a new employee discount or promo? Ask your employees to film selfie-style videos of their experience and share them on the platform.
- Organise team challenges
Boost team spirit with a little fun and healthy competition between departments or locations.
- Quizzes and games
Introducing gamification in your content strategy can encourage employees to learn more about a specific topic of your industry, and challenge each other.
- Stimulate a learning community
Offer your employees the opportunity to learn from each other and to grow both as professionals and community.
- Transform feedback into growth
Frontline employees are the ones who know your customers best. Listen to their feedback via employee surveys.
Find more inspiration in the blog post 8 content ideas to spice up your internal communication.
The right internal communication solution for your employees
There are a whole host of reasons why you should be employing an internal communication platform. From decreasing employee turnover to eliminating miscommunication, the right solution can deliver strategic, cultural, and productivity benefits. But which platform should you choose?
Oneteam’s all-in-one employee app includes a module for internal communication that streamlines your messaging with one easy-to-use app. Plus, it can also support your workplace with onboarding, e-learning, surveys, and more.
Find out how Oneteam helps organisations like yours to revolutionise their internal communications. Interested in learning more? Book a guided product demo and start today.