Examples of Internal Communication Strategies to Learn From
Great communication does so much more than just help companies build powerful relationships with customers. It’s important to remember that businesses also need to invest in aligning their team members, with meaningful conversations, knowledge sharing opportunities and collaboration strategies.
After all, if team members can’t communicate effectively, they’re more likely to be disengaged, unproductive and ill-informed. In other words, you end up with a business suffering from a toxic company culture, knowledge silos and disinterested staff.
Internal communication strategies are how organizations ensure that the right methodologies are in place to facilitate a smooth flow of knowledge throughout the business landscape. Used correctly, they can improve relationships between staff, boost team creativity and even reduce employee turnover. But how do brands develop a strong communication strategy?
Let’s find out.
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What is an Internal Communication Strategy?
The term “internal communication” refers to the methods of interaction used within a business, to align employees, share knowledge and boost transparency. A solid internal communication strategy should outline how information is shared up and down different business segments, and across numerous channels (voice, text, video, etc.)
While internal communication might seem like a simple concept, it’s something many companies struggle to get right, particularly in today’s complex, and digitized business environment.
In any workplace, information can easily be lost in a mix of channels used to help staff members interact. Additionally, businesses need to cater to the communication styles and preferences of employees from a host of different backgrounds.
Developing an internal communication strategy is one of the best ways a business can ensure that the interactions between team members are clear and cohesive. Perhaps most importantly, it helps organizations get their team members on the same page.
Enhancing “internal comms” fosters trust in the workplace by strengthening relationships between staff members, and it fortifies team engagement. It also helps organizations to overcome a number of issues caused by substandard interactions between staff. For instance, 80% of US employees say they feel more stressed at work because of poor communication.
Defining exactly what communication should look like within a business serves a number of purposes. It helps companies pinpoint communication gaps which might be hampering the flow of information. It also ensures that business leaders know which tools and strategies to invest in to improve team interactions.
Types of Internal Communication: Examples of Internal Comms
One of the fundamental reasons why developing an effective internal communication strategy is so important in today’s world, is so that employees have numerous ways to connect and collaborate with their colleagues. In the past, most internal conversations between staff members happened either in person, or using a combination of fax, email and telephoney. Now, employees can communicate via everything from instant messaging apps, to video conferencing tools.
Some of the most common types of internal communication you may need to learn how to navigate in your business include:
- Presentations: Webinars, events, or in-person presentations are a crucial form of internal communication, often used to share valuable information or train team members.
- Meetings: Hosted in-person or online, meetings help to keep staff on the same page, and drive crucial business outcomes. However, they can become overwhelming, time-consuming and draining when used too frequently.
- Messaging: Text-based communication has become increasingly common in recent years. Tools like Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and even SMS allow teams to quickly communicate, send reminders and check in on projects.
- Calls: Either hosted on a one-to-one basis, or as part of a larger conferencing session, calls are still one of the most common forms of internal communication. Calls can sometimes prevent miscommunication, by allowing people to convey tone.
- Video: When face-to-face interactions aren’t possible, most companies now turn to video conferencing sessions. Video interactions are a great way to bring teams together for more immersive discussions, however they can be more time-consuming than other meetings.
- Newsletters and broadcasts: Announcements, newsletters and broadcasts sent via messaging tools, company intranets and more are a form of one-to-many communication used in various business environments. They’re ideal for notifying and alerting large numbers of people to changes in the business.
- Email: While email might not be the most effective way to communicate in today’s digital landscape, it’s still a common choice for a lot of business leaders. Email can be an excellent way to keep team members notified of important information, particularly if they’re not regularly active on social intranet tools.
5 Great Examples of Internal Communication Strategies
As communication trends continue to evolve, companies are discovering new and exciting ways of bringing teams together across a range of environments and platforms. However, there’s still no one-size-fits-all strategy for cultivating a successful internal communication plan.
Ultimately, the right method of internal communication depends on your business and the way your team members prefer to connect. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something from companies who have already implemented their own strategies to optimize internal comms.
Here are some excellent examples of internal communication strategies, and what you can learn from them for your own organization.
The TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) company, is best known for promoting, hosting, and sharing inspiring talks from some of the world’s most prominent thought leaders. Many of the videos shared by the company are relatively in-depth, but that doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t understand the benefits of keeping things short and sweet for its internal comms.
Even before the pandemic pushed companies to host numerous, longer meetings with remote employees every day, TED was cutting down on its internal meeting times. The company even set a rule to ensure no meeting went over 18 minutes in length.
According to the company, on average, they believe that a person can only pay attention to a speaker for a certain period of time before they start to lose focus. Keeping meetings concise is how TED ensures employees stay engaged during crucial conversations.
The Takeaway: Avoid overly complex and long meetings. Whenever you’re going to host a meeting, ask whether it’s really necessary in the first place, or whether you can say the same things to your employees with a broadcast within your collaboration app. If a meeting is necessary, set the agenda in advance, and only invite the employees who really need to be there.
Amazon is a strong believer in two-way communication. In other words, they provide their staff members with opportunities to share their insights about the company, and their recommendations on what could be improved in the business as often as possible.
The brand has its own “Connections” initiative, which automatically sends questions to employees on a daily basis to collect feedback in the “Voice of the Employee”. Staff can choose whether they want to respond to each query or not, and their responses are confidential. This strategy ensures that everyone in the business can have a voice.
Amazon is also committed to keeping communications as succinct as possible, as it knows its employees generally spend a lot of time on the move. As such, the brand avoids sending long-winded emails to staff, focusing on broadcast snippets to keep employees up to date.
Overall, Amazon’s communication strategy ensures team members can access the information they need when they want it, and share their own thoughts with business leaders.
The Takeaway: Don’t overwhelm your employees with too much information, particularly when they’re on the move. Take advantage of internal messaging apps and collaboration tools to simplify communication and boost transparency. At the same time, don’t forget to value the voice of your employees, give them a chance to share their thoughts with leaders whenever possible.
Advocates of helping employers communicate more effectively with their workforce, 3M believes that the best businesses are built on a strong foundation of communication. One of the core initiatives implemented by the company involves giving team members an opportunity to spend at least one small portion of their day (up to 15%) on ideation and discovery.
3M believes team members need a chance to chat and communicate outside of structured meeting times to come up with fresh new ideas. As such, they champion the value of watercooler style conversations. Notably, this doesn’t mean that 3M encourages employees to stand around chatting for long periods of time. Rather, the company ensures staff have access to collaboration tools and apps that facilitate better team relationships.
By giving employees more opportunities to genuinely connect and share thoughts, 3M supports their people in coming up with innovative ideas more frequently.
The Takeaway: Not all internal communication in the workplace needs to be structured and scheduled. If you have your own internal collaboration platform, you can create a chat environment where team members can connect freely, build bonds and come up with ideas together. Encourage your staff members to communicate more frequently, and your business will reap the rewards.
Netflix is an inspiring company for a number of reasons. Committed to changing the way people think and access entertainment, Netflix has changed the world forever. It’s not particularly surprising that the company also has a fantastic internal communication strategy.
As a large company, Netflix knows how problematic old-fashioned communication styles can be. Email threads can quickly become overwhelming and remote employees can’t all participate in in-person interactions. As such, Netflix committed to transforming boardroom meetings in 2018.
Rather than inundating their staff members with complex meetings, Netflix chose to use brief online memos and announcements instead. Team members ask quick-fire questions within an online platform and other employees can respond as and when they need to. This means that everyone can interact on their own schedule, without being overwhelmed.
The Takeaway: Find ways to help everyone interact in a more straightforward, simple and convenient manner within your organization. Today’s workplace is made up of many different styles of employee personas, all with their own communication methods. Consider switching up stuffy meetings and PowerPoint presentations with interactive online tools.
Zappos is dedicated to building an excellent company culture for its employees. The brand is frequently mentioned in articles discussing the best possible places to work, and for good reason. Zappos believes the workplace should be fun, inclusive and diverse. As such, the company has built its communication strategy around some crucial core values.
Zappos believes in empowering every team member to communicate freely and honestly, and ensuring transparency in business communications. Like many brands, Zappos maintains that the best businesses thrive when team members can be honest and authentic with each other.
This means communication is always a two-way street. Everyone has an opportunity to connect, and there are no siloes between management teams and employees across all levels. Staff are kept up-to-date on what’s happening within the organization with memos and internal newsletters, and as such everyone benefits from a culture of openness.
The Takeaway: Transparency is everything in business communication. If employees can’t be open and honest with each other, issues are more likely to emerge. Ensure everyone in your organization feels informed and supported. Keep team members up to date on important information and listen to feedback you receive from your staff.
Quick Tips for Improving Internal Communication
Excellent internal communication is essential in any business. The better your teams can communicate, the more likely you are to benefit from a creative, engaged and happy company culture. While the right internal communication strategy may differ for every business, there are some quick tips you can use to boost your chances of success:
- Preserve transparency: First and foremost, every business should ensure they’re championing transparency and honesty in their communication strategy. Transparent communication helps to build relationships between staff members, reduce the risk of misunderstandings and errors, and improve feelings of trust among teams. Never keep your team members in the dark. Find ways to ensure everyone is informed, whether that means issuing regular broadcasts, or creating an internal newsletter.
- Give everyone a voice: Thriving company cultures support diversity, equity and inclusion. This means everyone in your business needs to feel as though they can be heard. Providing different communication channels for people with varying communication styles is a good way to ensure that everyone has a voice. It’s also important to constantly pursue feedback from your team members and pay attention to their insights. The voice of the employee can be a powerful tool for growth.
- Experiment with communication channels: Not every conversation requires a board meeting in your business. Additionally, not all interactions are appropriate for a quick message sent over an intranet. The reality is that different styles of communication are better suited to specific scenarios. With this in mind, consider investing in a platform like Brosix, which allows you to facilitate numerous forms of communication in one place. Experiment with everything from messaging and SMS to video, audio conferencing, and more.
- Minimize communication overwhelm: While top notch communication is crucial in any business, too much of it can drain your team’s productivity. With that in mind, it’s important to ensure your staff aren’t overwhelmed by too much noise. Don’t force team members to attend irrelevant meetings. Give your staff the freedom to decide whether they want to engage in a video conference, or just stay in touch with their colleagues using messaging tools and chat apps. Keep complex and time-consuming meetings to a minimum.
- Embrace communication diversity: Communication is no longer a one-size-fits-all concept. Different employees will prefer to use different styles of communication. Although you might want to guide your team members towards using specific tools and resources to communicate in certain situations, remember to be mindful of diversity. For instance, for introverted team members, it might be worth offering an option to join video conferences with audio only.
Finally, remember that technology is a valuable resource for an internal communication strategy. It gives you the opportunity to leverage useful video conferencing tools for remote and hybrid collaboration, file and screen sharing apps, and so much more. With Brosix, you can start building a future-first strategy for internal communication tailored to your team’s needs.