3 Outstanding Practices for Internal Communications
Internal communications are the true pulse of every organization.
From discussing daily activities and company updates to building a positive, welcoming culture, the internal communication practices you rely on have a tremendous impact on your employees. We can all agree that organizations need well-informed, connected, and engaged workers to thrive in their position.
This guide will help you understand which practices around internal communications deliver the best results so your employees can reap the full benefit of steadfast, engaging communication.
1. Introducing Visual Content to Your Internal Communication
The importance of strong visual content is undeniable in this day and age. Visual communication stands as the most efficient way of passing down information. After all, it’s much faster to scan an image than it is to read a paragraph, let alone an email containing a company update spelled over 300+ words.
Besides scannability, black-and-white text can’t compete with visual content that leverages colors and shapes to convey information and make it characteristic. Perhaps the best example is the popular use of charts and infographic to convey data, as opposed to piling up sentences with numbers reporting on an event.
While many organizations use visuals in their internal communications, a lot of companies are still struggling to make visual assets a common occurrence in their employee correspondence.
The two major roadblocks to including visuals in internal communication practices are:
- The lack of skill to produce visual content.Many employees and managers think designing visuals for communication always demands skills in graphic design and design tools. The perceived lack of skill is an obstacle that keeps communicators from using visuals to make their communications more engaging.
- The time and effort for creating visuals.If a manager wants to convey a simple message to a group of employees, they often won’t design visuals because they might feel it’s not worth spending an hour, especially when they’re overwhelmed with their duties. In reality, they are missing an opportunity to engage with employees.
The cost of avoiding visuals in communication is paid with low engagement.
Use a template-rich internal communication solution that enables its users to generate visuals quickly. A template approach reduces the time and skills it takes to create visual content for internal communications. Users won’t have to dedicate more than a couple of minutes to generate visuals, nor do they have to be skillful designers.
When your internal communications solution is customizable, you can request new templates so the visual content in your messages never looks stale or generic.
2. Creating a Channel for Employee Feedback
Regular feedback is the cornerstone of healthy internal communications.
For starters, employees need to feel heard whenever they have concerns regarding anything related to the organization or their position.
When there’s a healthy feedback culture, employees will be engaged in communication, and contribute with their best ideas. If they don’t understand something, they won’t hesitate to ask.
However, if there are little or no feedback practices present in your internal communications, you can’t expect employees to engage.
Another key thing to consider is that, without employee feedback, organizations can’t rethink and improve their current IC practices. Internal communications are dynamic by nature, and its practices grow as the company is changing. If you neglect the opinions of your employees, you risk having an ineffective, stale internal communication
The most common way of soliciting employee feedback is through surveys.
According to a report from Quantum Workplace, there is a correlation between survey cadence and employee engagement. The report found organizations that regularly poll their employees achieve the highest employee engagement level.
For instance, organizations that conduct polls on a monthly basis report an 80% employee engagement level. Organizations that survey their employees every quarter report 71% employee engagement, the second-largest employee engagement score.
Add a solution to your internal communications toolbox that enables your communications to adopt new survey practices.
Your leaders need to provide a channel for feedback and use it to run surveys 4-5 times every year to boost employee engagement and get invaluable insights. In addition, prioritize 3 survey types in your internal communication efforts:
- Employee engagement surveys. Measure workforce-wide engagement every 3 months to uncover how your internal communication practices are affecting engagement.
- Pulse surveys. Get frequent check-ins from your employees and collect quick data to make fast responses.
- Lifecycle surveys. Pay attention to your internal communication with an employee regarding their lifecycle phase. Conduct surveys during critical moments, such as onboarding, development, and exit, to understand how your internal communication activities might affect them.
Track Internal Communications Analytics
Tracking analytics is one of the most important practices around internal communications.
Analytics gives communicators a bird’s-eye view of the state of internal communication of an organization. Without tracking internal communications analytics, organizations are blind to how employees are communicating, what practices they value, and what needs to be changed.
McKinsey projects that employee productivity can grow up to 25% once organizations implement social and communication technologies.
Here are the internal communication analytics you should pay close attention to:
Internal Communications Engagement
Internal communications are not one-sided conversations. Tracking engagement rates helps you understand how many of your employees are actually engaging with the content and info you’re sending them. Having low engagement rates is frustrating, but analytics are here to help you combat them with actionable insights. You can use a good deal of different metrics to track engagement, but the most important ones are:
Employee engagement on the organization’s Intranet posts – how many employees click or comment on your posts?
Employee responses on internal communication messages – how many employees respond to messages or ask follow-up questions?
Engagement with content and links you send them – how many employees visit the links and explore the resources you send them?
Internal Communications Reach
The goal of tracking reach metrics is to understand how many employees your internal communications reach. If your communications’ reach is low, the data helps you deliver a strategy for reaching more employees.
For instance, organizations with deskless and blue-collar workers have challenges reaching all of their employees. By tracking the reach metrics, you can tell how many employees need an alternative communication solution to say informed.
IC Channel Adoption
Naturally, organizations communicate with their employees across many channels. Channel adoption analytics reveal whether your internal communication solution is widely adopted in your workforce. If some of your employees resist using new communication channels, the analytics will tell you which employee audience you should focus on, and help you design adoption initiatives.
Organizations that excel at internal communications pay close attention to the analytics reporting capabilities of their communication solution.
If you want to make sure this practice comes to life in your organization, integrate an internal communication solution that tracks all the metrics relevant to your company.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Instead, the solution you use to collect IC analytics has to be fine-tuned for your organization.
Internal communications have a profound impact on employee performance. If employees are overwhelmed with extensive emails and messages, they’re not able to process all the important updates and keep informed of what is happening with the company. The last thing line managers want is their employees superficially skimming through communication pieces.
There are at least 3 efficient practices they can implement to keep this from happening:
- Use SuccessFactors add-ons to easily create visual content for your internal communication pieces.
- Create a channel for soliciting employee feedback as part of your internal communication and engage with employees
- Actively focus on the 3 key IC analytics (engagement, reach and channel adoption) to make strategic decisions for IC delivery.
What are your experiences with successful Internal Communication practices? Which of these would you highlight as the most important one?
I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts.