Do internal communications help or hinder your business? There’s no doubting; internal communications have been thrust center stage in the wake of the pandemic. With most employees working from home, effective communication is more critical than ever. However, distributed teams combined with the diverse range of potential channels have made internal communications a complex task. Consequently, many businesses have been forced to rethink their strategy. Here are our top 10 internal communication examples to help you with this.
In this post, we simplify the internal communications landscape. We identify ten internal communications examples and explore how businesses are informing and connecting employees in 2021.
Internal Communications in 2021
Internal communications is an umbrella term that covers any interaction between two or more employees.
It can be formal – think corporate messaging, industry news, and company updates. And it can be informal, covering anything from water cooler conversations to resolving a simple query between colleagues.
When it comes to internal communication examples, there are two broad categories. The first is informational. Internal communications are used to broadcast vital messages to staff, including corporate goals, company culture, news, and updates.
The second broad category of internal communication examples is transactional communications. This covers everything from cross-team collaboration and ideation to decision-making.
Some internal communication examples straddle both categories. A good example here is onboarding, which includes elements of both informational and transactional communications.
Of course, internal communications were a whole lot easier when the workforce was located in one head office. Resolving a simple query with a colleague was easy when their desk was just across the hall. However, in 2021 distributed teams of remote workers plus increased use of contractors have made internal communications more challenging.
And if you are wondering whether internal communications are really worth all that time and effort, here’s one enlightening statistic. According to Gallup, 74 percent of employees believe they are missing out on company information and news. And remember, that survey was conducted long before anyone had heard of Covid. It’s likely the percentage would be much higher now.
So, what do internal communications look like for businesses today? Here are ten internal communication examples to help you re-examine your internal communications strategy.
10 Internal Communication Examples
1. Visible Leadership
Internal communications increase the visibility of senior leaders. When staff meetings and conferences are off the cards, executives are finding other ways to connect with employees.
Many organizations are successfully using CEO blogs and vlogs. Blogs encourage two-way conversations with employees who can comment and provide feedback.
And a video message from the CEO can motivate employees and boost morale for isolated remote workers. Plus, it’s a more engaging way to deliver authentic, personalized messages. A recent survey from Ragan found that 75 percent of employees are more likely to watch a video than read text.
Onboarding is another example of internal communications in action. Recruits are inducted into the company’s culture, mission, and values, and internal knowledge is shared. Plus, new employees complete all the necessary paperwork from system set up to payroll and personnel details.
In 2021, the onboarding process has moved online. A dedicated space on the company intranet contains all the information recruits need to get up and running. Instead of paper forms, workers complete digital ones, and the intranet automatically routes new-starter forms to the relevant department for action. Job-specific knowledge is transferred using SOPs, FAQs, and explainer videos. And the recruit can be inducted into the company culture using various media from podcasts to video. Finally, online employee profiles allow new starters to get to know their colleagues on a more personal level.
Managers can easily maintain oversight of progress with online tracking tools. And the new employee can test their knowledge and understanding with quizzes and surveys.
3. Company Goals And Objectives
Aligning staff with company goals and objectives is a key task for internal communications. However, according to Deloitte, only 23 percent of executives agree that their organizations are excellent at aligning employees’ goals with corporate ones.
Furthermore, staff surveys and snap polls are used by many businesses to test employees’ understanding and identify any gaps that need to be addressed.
Storytelling is another valuable tool in this context. Lunch and learn initiatives hosted by rotating teams allow staff to share insights and common objectives with colleagues. And a day-in-the-life feature, either in text or video format, can bring to life company goals in ways that policies alone can never achieve.
4. More Agile Decision-Making
Getting things done is at the heart of organizational communications in every business. Whether it’s cross-team collaboration or a department processing a business workflow, effective communication is essential. And real-time communication in the shape of instant messaging is effective in supporting more agile decision-making.
In one survey, 66 percent of respondents said instant messaging led to quick and easy resolution of simple questions. As an added bonus, respondents also said it increased productivity with less time spent on phone calls and emails.
Instant messaging is a faster and much more responsive way to get things done. Staff can see who is online and available to chat. Messages tend to be brief and are more like casual conversations. And because they are less formal than, say, email, people typically reply immediately.
Intranet-enabled real-time communications work well in distributed teams. And it’s become a game-changer for many businesses adapting to shifting operating environments and markets.
5. Personalized News Feeds
Internal communications in 2021 have become more personalized with segmented messaging. Thanks mainly to targeted social media feeds, employees now expect their work communications to be similarly personalized. Generic all-staff emails no longer hit the mark.
Personalized intranet news feeds allow you to really target your messaging based on teams or job roles. Targeted, relevant communications stand out and cut through all the noise of information overload. As a result, they are more likely to be read and understood.
Dedicated # channels on the intranet’s chat feature are another possibility. Employees can opt to follow company-wide channels such as #digital marketing or #customerexperience alongside team or role-based ones.
6. Clarity And Transparency During A Crisis
Crisis communications took on a whole meaning with the pandemic. The shift to remote work, rapidly changing rules and regulations, and new ways of operating highlighted the importance of good communications.
And it also reinforced the need for companies to be prepared with internal communications that could handle wholescale business disruption. Yesterday it was the pandemic. Tomorrow it could be a natural disaster, terrorist threat, or major cyberattack.
Internal communications have evolved to deal with these significant disruptions while still providing clear and transparent leadership. Instant notifications via team chat, virtual town hall meetings alongside company social media platforms are all relevant in this context.
7. Social Communication
Up to 20 percent of remote workers report feelings of loneliness and isolation. When staff are working from home, it’s essential to provide outlets for employees to connect socially as well as formally. Not only does it improve morale and corporate culture, but it also supports collaboration and productivity.
Those water-cooler conversations that we took for granted back in the office need to be replicated virtually. Many businesses are using social intranets to ensure workers remain connected and still feel part of the team.
Social intranets are designed around people. They include various features to connect colleagues and promote the social relationships that are the foundation of every successful business. Select from team or activity walls, tags and @ mentions, private and public discussion forums. Even something as simple as a #timeout channel on the team chat can make a difference to an isolated remote worker.
And if you’re worried that social intranets are nothing more than time-wasters, then consider this: The McKinsey Global Institute reports that social engagement decreases costs and increases productivity.
8. Collaboration And Joint Working
Internal communications are crucial to effective joint working. And even more so when team members are no longer in the same building. Without well-communicated objectives, goals, and project plans, collaboration is doomed to failure.
According to one study, the average team wastes over 20 hours each month due to poor collaboration and communication. In 2021, supporting collaboration and joint working is a significant focus for internal communications.
9. Multi-Directional Communications
Until recently, internal communications were very much one-way traffic. Senior leaders and executives passed messages down the line to the workforce. There was little communication in the other direction and even less between colleagues in different departments.
Companies that are ahead of the game have addressed this imbalance. Communication channels have been developed that break down company silos with multi-directional communications. Employees comment, share, and like company blogs. Live Q&A sessions with executives provide genuine opportunities for two-way conversations. And instant messaging, discussion forums, plus social intranet features give employees a safe place for interaction and resolution.
10. Staff Surveys And Pulse Checks
Some employees may not feel comfortable delivering feedback to executives via public channels. They will prefer the anonymity of surveys and pulse checks. Surveys have been around for a long time. Tried and tested, they are a popular way to provide employees with an organizational voice. However, in 2021 things have moved on from the long and, let’s face it, boring annual surveys of old.
Instead, businesses regularly use snap surveys and polls to check in with the workforce about specific issues. Need feedback on the new company logo or updated marketing strategy? Want to gauge employees’ views on their experiences of working from home? A quick snap poll or pulse check is the way to go. Keep it short and snappy to avoid survey fatigue and get a better response rate.
Internal Communications Examples: Main Takeaways
Responsive, flexible, and personalized – these are the hallmarks of strong internal communications in 2021. How do internal communications in your business measure up? In the face of scattered workforces and ongoing business disruption, it’s more important than ever to get internal communications right.
Sharing information, supporting collaboration and decision-making, creating culture, and instilling purpose are the key tasks for internal communications. Use these best practice internal communications examples to ensure your communications strategy remains fit for purpose.
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