In a world threatened by information overload, organizational leaders have a responsibility for cutting through the fog and presenting a clear picture of vision, values, and strategy. In return, employees must be encouraged to offer feedback willingly and without fear.
Creating a two-way street of open and honest communication within the organization requires a strategic view. The following internal communications plan template will help your organization achieve this.
A more effective workplace with an internal communications plan template
Effective in-house communications begin at the senior level and filter down. Communication skills are the employee empowerment tools of inspirational leaders. As I’ve outlined previously:
- Leaders with the ability to listen, communicate, and influence will empower employees to make decisions which help to achieve both individual and company goals
- A more open and inspiring leader will encourage ideation. Creativity and new working practices will flow through to the shop floor, and best practices can be shared to encourage organization wide improvement
An internal communications plan template will enable the leader to:
- Deliver more effective messages to employees
- Create value added two-way communication
- Reach out to geographically dispersed employees
- Monitor the effectiveness of the communicative process
How to align the goals of internal communication
Many businesses fail to deliver on their stated values and vision because they fail to communicate them. In-house communications are found to be lacking in design and focus, even if external communications are excellent. By instigating an internal communications plan template, an organization will more effectively ensure that all employees are pulling together.
Here are 7 steps to create an effective internal communications plan template:
1. Define the culture
Define the organizational goals, values, and vision. Require senior executives to live and breathe them, acting as examples of expected performance and working practices. If this step isn't executed by the top level executives, those below them will see no reasons to engage.
2. Define the audience
Put consistent audience targeting processes in place to identify key employee groups. Employee personas will help to develop effective communications and can be used to plan business strategy and release relevant news.
3. Define appropriate messaging channels
Decide the best channel to connect with each unique persona, and develop a process that interconnects these at the center. This enables easy management of the internal communication plan template, and might feed into workplace calendars, intranet, social media, and news channels.
4. Encourage feedback
Support employees to become involved in the communication process, making it easy for individuals and teams to offer feedback and creative ideas. This process will include open team meetings, intranet, and other engagement tools. This requires some mediation allowing those who would be afraid to speak up in front of others to have an equal opportunity to speak as those who offer opinions freely.
This process of engagement in internal communications encourages self-confidence, creativity, and ideation.
5. Establish management control and measurement of effectiveness
Design a system of measuring the effectiveness of internal communication to enable continuous improvement. Metrics will depend upon the strategic vision of the organization, but will necessarily include the adoption of expected behaviors in line with the corporate culture.
6. Coach employees in digital communication
Increase effectiveness of the internal communication plan template by ensuring staff are adept at using internal communications channels.
7. Recognize performance
Put in place a process of recognition, rewarding individual and team performance to enhance the corporate culture. Congratulate hard work, innovation, and teamwork in action not just in concept.
An effective internal communications plan template requires a combination of systems, processes, and leadership. Of these, leadership is the key ingredient: without effective leadership, workplace communications will inevitably break down.
Producing a valuable internal communications strategy takes time, resource, and effort. Leaders will need to be coached in effective communications and benefit from high emotional intelligence, freeing themselves to opening performance enhancing communication channels between them and their employees.
Contact Forward Focus today to discover how an Emotional Intelligence course will develop and embed effective personal skills in the workplace, for leaders, managers, and employees.