Internal communication plan; how to do it? When we think of “communication,” looking outside is much more apparent. However, an internal communication plan is an effective tool for your employees to learn more about the company, feel part of the business, and work focused on achieving their goals.
When planned and well executed, internal communication is an important information and motivation tool for everyone in the company. Developing an internal communication plan is not easy. Still, it will make a difference in business development and people.
Next, discover what it is and how to design an internal communication plan for your company.
What is internal communication?
Internal communication, also called organizational or corporate communication, helps configure the processes within companies and optimize and direct the organizations’ messages to their audiences.
In any organization, teams depend on clear messages and targeted communication to meet their goals.
With an internal communication plan, you can gain efficiency and quality results. Companies with very efficient internal communication are 47% more profitable.
In addition, internal communication has a social character because it links people with different roles inside and outside the company. At the same time, the technical aspect of organizational communication manages the flow of information within the organization and between it and its environment.
What is an internal communication plan?
The internal communication plan is the starting point for the work of the communication sector within an organization. It is usually carried out once a year.
Initially, it will be more complex, especially if done for the first time in a company. However, over time, and with a good understanding of the company’s communication demands and policies, internal communication planning will become more objective, focused, and intertwined with strategies.
An Internal Communication plan is divided into two significant steps:
- Diagnosis: complete analysis of the scenario in which the company is inserted, analyzing and reviewing the culture, mission, vision, and organizational values, the profile of the target audience, the means of communication used, and their effectiveness. And also the strengths and weaknesses of the communication, as well as the main threats and opportunities.
- Planning: planning begins with the objectives and then discusses ideas and definitions of strategies. It also involves the actions that will carry out, the necessary resources, an organization chart, and how all of the above will be measured and evaluated.
Internal communication plan: Diagnosis
The diagnosis is the first step of the internal communication plan. It contextualizes the actions that will be carried out and can be consulted when doubts arise throughout the planning process.
Diagnosis should include:
- Presentation and history of the company
Describe the market in which your company is located, the products and services it offers, how it was created and for what purpose, what its initial principles were, and compare these data with the current scenario.
- Mission, vision, and values
You’ve probably already heard of them! Mission, vision, and values are fundamental guidelines that govern an organization. This trio is a vital resource to guide strategic planning, build organizational identity, guide behavior and establish unity among company employees.
Mission, vision, and values must guide the internal communication plan, serving as a reference for strategies, formats, language, and ways of approaching employees.
- General analysis of internal communication
Even if there is no internal communication plan before the one you are working on, make a brief analysis of what is being done regarding communication within the company. It documents how it happens, what the main channels are used, and evaluates the general situation if it is effective or not for the organization.
At this time, it is essential to enlist the help of the company’s employees. We advise you to conduct surveys and determine which sectors are most satisfied with the amount of information received and why.
It also investigates the internal communication channels that the company already uses. You can ask which channels are the most used and what is the perception or assessment of each of them in terms of media and content.
This diagnosis will show which channel is the most suitable for a particular audience and which formats generate more engagement, among other ideas.
Internal communication plan: planning
After the diagnosis stage, it is time to use all the knowledge to define the strategies based on the organizational communication objectives. It’s time to create your internal communication plan!
The topics that make up the planning phase are the following:
The first step is to define the objectives with the internal communication plan within a pre-established period. When determining the results, deciding which actions will be carried out is more accessible. In addition, it will be possible to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of each of them.
For the objectives to guide the strategies of the internal communication plan, as well as a basis for evaluation and measurement, we recommend using SMART goals. Do you know what this acronym means?
- Specific: Being specific means avoiding generalities. A generality would be established as a final objective: “invoicing as much as possible.” The goals must also be precise so as not to generate doubts in the team. For example: “Increase turnover by 30% per quarter.”
- Measurable: refers to quantifying goals and comparing the results you get against those you intend to achieve. It is essential to have at least one indicator that can be monitored and evaluated.
- Achievable: Goals must be feasible, that is, possible to meet with the knowledge and resources made available to employees.
- Realistic (Realistic): the goals need to be feasible. After evaluating the resources available to you in your company and its situation in the market – advantages, challenges, and opportunities – set goals that you can meet in the short term.
> Time determined (Timely): a goal that does not have time to be fulfilled is usually not achieved. It is essential that once you have set a deadline, you respect it and find a way to achieve the proposed goal without postponing it. At this point, it’s important to remember that not all sales goals need to be set in the short term. Some may be more immediate; others may take longer to materialize. The important thing, as we discussed earlier, is to be realistic.
Brainstorming or brainstorming is a technique that, through the spontaneous exchange of ideas, seeks solutions to problems or tries to generate new and creative ideas.
John Adair is one of the world’s leading business and leadership experts. In 1979 he became the first professor of leadership studies at the University of Surrey and wrote over forty books. In one of them, “Decision making and problem-solving,” Adair presents precise guidelines for organizing effective brainstorming.
According to the author, the people who make up the group participating in the brainstorming must have different levels of knowledge about the issue for which a solution is sought. In addition to the group directly involved in the process, he advises inviting people who are unrelated to the subject but can contribute creative ideas.
It is worth mentioning that the brainstorming meeting does not have to take place in person. Even before the covid-19 pandemic, many companies were already conducting virtual brainstorming sessions.
Stages of a brainstorming session
- Warm-up: Before presenting the main question, propose a simple exercise to the group. For example: how many different uses can each of you think of for a paperclip (except for collecting paper, of course)? The warm-up serves to spark ideas and cause laughter to break the ice.
- Presentation of the topic to be solved: Highlight the primary information and history and summarize the problem in a sentence. For example: “How many ways can we present our new product or service to the public?”
- Share Ideas: Set a time limit for people to list and share their ideas. Ideally, brainstorming should take no more than an hour total, so limit brainstorming time to 20-30 minutes.
- Necessary: before starting the brainstorming, choose a person responsible for taking notes of everything discussed and, after the meeting, send the ideas to the whole group through a shared document.
After setting your goals and brainstorming, it’s time to strategize your internal communications plan. Analyze which ideas are by the established objectives and start planning each.
- Structure each plan listing everything that will be necessary for its realization: determine to which strategy it is linked;
- What audience segment should it reach;
- Who will be responsible;
- When will it take place;
- Details of how it will happen;
- What will be the necessary investment;
- How will we evaluate it and its proven result?
This step is one of the most time-consuming. Still, it is essential to ensure that strategies are developed to put the internal communication plan into practice.
Benefits of having an internal communication plan
Efficient internal communication helps the company generate better strategies and obtain satisfactory results.
In addition, you get the following benefits:
- Effective internal communication improves the relationship between collaborators, which helps solve and reduce conflicts.
- Motivates workers to achieve their goals and shows interest in their opinions.
- It allows for the recognition of the achievements of the workers, increasing their motivation and commitment. In fact, “organizations that manage to generate a higher level of commitment from their employees can increase customer loyalty by 50%”.
- It speeds up processes and contributes to increasing the productivity of the company’s members.