Your message is only as good as your communication strategy.
Clear, efficient communication between employers and employees is essential. Your employees are your best brand ambassadors; they’re on the front line engaging with customers, sharing your messages and helping your business grow.
To establish a sound communications strategy, you must know how to share information and align goals companywide. These best practices can help you lay the groundwork for a stronger internal network and illuminate how your strategy will scale with company growth:
1. Define and refine your business goals.
Determine—in concert with other leaders—where you are now and where you want to go.
According to Bambu, 80 percent of employees want their employers to keep them updated about company news, 77 percent said it would help them at their job, and 66 percent said it improves relationships with their colleagues. Additionally, 63 percent said it would help them advocate for the business.
Businesses must think strategically about what information to deliver and how to do so. To start that conversation, ask:
- What do you want your internal communications strategy to do for your company?
- Which areas are working well, why those areas are working well, and what needs improvement?
- How quickly do you want to reach your goals?
- Which communication tools or platforms are available given company size, priorities and expectations of what employees should be doing with information shared?
The answers will reveal your internal communications objectives, underscoring your strategy and the tactics it calls for.
As you specify those tactics, think about how you want your short-term goals to benefit your team long term. That helps your team to look ahead and extract vital information for the overall business. You don’t have to know what you’ll be doing for the next 10 years; you just need a starting point.
2. Involve employees in your strategy.
Internal communication strategies often focus on news updates and company information. More important, your internal messages should prompt action. Your goal should be to involve, motivate and inspire your team.
Sixty-nine percent of employees say they’d work harder if they felt more appreciated and recognized.
Try these tips for involvement and recognition:
- Ask employees to share what they’ve learned from customer interactions; use those internal insights to improve external communications.
- Share positive feedback from customers with employees through regular staff meetings, applauding positive behavior.
- Share personal stories about customer experiences—both good and bad.
These real-life examples will help employees to relate to you and identify with the company brand, establish trust between internal tiers and show how to improve customer service.
In discussing negative customer experiences, don’t point fingers; instead, open lines of communication and identify gaps in execution. Use negative experiences as a learning opportunity, and your business will resolve problems faster, helping it progress.
3. Measure, analyze, optimize.
Even as internal strategies evolve, many organizations struggle with tracking and reporting. The International Association of Business Communicators says 60 percent of businesses have no way of evaluating workplace communications.
For effective communication to take hold, you must determine what works and what doesn’t. Just as we monitor external interactions, we must assess internal interactions to keep progressing.
Identify crucial metrics and data points. Measuring open and click-through rates, along with specific interactions and conversation, will shed light on which content types engage employees.
Measuring employee engagement can seem complicated or time-consuming, but it’s well worth your time and effort. Ask employees whether they:
- Know what’s expected of them
- Feel valued and respected
- Have the required materials to do their work
- Feel important in their position
- Can expand on their skills
- Get recognition for good work
- Can develop as a professional
Their answers will help you benchmark your results against others in the industry. You can also gauge your results against historical survey data and compare your progress over the years.
A version of this post first appeared on Bambu by Sprout Social.