The changes that workplaces have had to experience in the last twelve months have been significant to say the least. With employees across the UK been forced to adapt to new technologies, trading their office desk for the dining table, it has certainly been an unsettling time for many.
Amid the ongoing challenges we have all experienced throughout this global pandemic, the benefits of consistently engaging with employees has never been more evident. It has become a necessity for businesses large and small to better understand the critical role that a robust internal communications strategy plays.
As the economy begins to reopen, it is anticipated that flexible and remote working will become a more conventional workplace practice. As such, with teams potentially operating from different locations, implementing a refined employee engagement strategy must become a priority.
Whilst workstreams can be carefully monitored online and outputs reviewed, keeping employees informed and engaged is just as important to ensure they feel valued and important. As well as supporting a positive culture, this could also positively impact on productivity.
The challenge, however, is putting in place an approach that can be adopted by different departments, varying roles and responsibilities.
CALLING ON THE PROFESSIONALS
For some it will be obvious, but for others, calling in the experts by outsourcing all internal communication requirements may seem strange.
However, when we think about it more literally, the same strategies and tactics used by PR professionals to form a positive public perception of a business can be transferred to achieve the same outcome internally.
Forming part of a wider PR strategy, the purpose of internal communications is to reflect the core values, long-term goals and workplace culture at a company. As with external PR activity, sharing a consistent message across multiple channels will ensure the message resonates with the audience; in this case employees throughout the business.
Once a business decides to communicate with their workforce in the same way they do with clients, prospects and stakeholders, employee engagement and satisfaction will improve.
Regardless of the size of an organisation, its departments and the skillsets of the teams, all employees are responsible for the success of a business.
This is why celebrating and showcasing any milestones that individuals, teams or the wider workforce achieve should form the foundations to an internal communications plan.
Keeping employees informed and updated, whether that’s highlighting promotions; new appointments, new client wins or reaching financial targets, all of these will help those working for a company to feel more valued and committed to the wider business objectives.
CHOICE OF CHANNEL
To reach the intended target audience, which in this case is employees, the way the information is shared is just as critical as the content that is created.
Although social media is widely used for PR campaigns and within communications strategies, the choice of channel will always be a critical factor when it comes to measuring success and engagement.
The same can be said for internal communications. In this instance, LinkedIn would be the most obvious platform to choose when encouraging and supporting engagement with employees.
As a way of communicating directly with team members and the wider business community, it can be used to build positive associations drive insightful responses and reiterate the benefits of working within that company.
MAKE SURE EXTERNAL COMMS MIRROR INTERNAL AND VISA VERSA
News and blog sections on a company website should be frequently updated. This is often where employees will go to get updates about a company outside of the internal channels that they have access to.
Ensuring that the content that is shared internally is consistent with what is shared to the wider public will instill trust. Sharing more detailed, insightful and informative content about business activities on a website means employees can remain informed about any corporate updates or projections for the future that may not sit comfortably as an update to all staff.
Using the right channels at the right time and in the right order will be the making or breaking of an internal communications strategy. It is important to give this the time, thought and resource it deserves. Whether you want to share complex and analytical insight or lighter and briefer updates, each piece of content can be leveraged to help communicate critical messages to employees whilst encouraging open discussions within the workplace.
Whether it’s good or bad, the objective of internal communications is to ensure employees are given updates and announcements from the business directly, rather than from outside sources. Managing internal communications and placing as much focus, attention and value on it as you would your engagement with other audiences will deliver greater value. After all, an informed, aware and engaged team are more likely to become committed, productive and positive.