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Five Best Practices for Effective Internal Communications

// August 24, 2011 // Public Relations // 4 Comments

Lisa Margolin-Feher is owner of Margolin & Associates, a public relations and marketing consultancy in Solana Beach, CA. Her expertise is in helping clients improve their business by creating clear, compelling communications. Learn more about Margolin & Associates by visiting their blog.

Five Best Practices for Effective Internal Communications by Lisa Margolin-Feher

A strong internal communication program, if done properly, will inform, motivate and influence your workforce. That influence translates into real profit as employees drive your brand forward in their dealings with customers and other stakeholders. Wouldn’t everyone like to be more like Zappos, which was a run-of-the-mill shoe retailer before exploding into an internet powerhouse? It wouldn’t have happened without the motivation and loyalty of Zappos’ workforce.

Here are the top five best practices in creating effective internal communication to motivate your employees:

1. Take Internal Communication Seriously. Communicate to your internal audience with the same zeal, care and creativity as you do your external audiences. Your internal communication department should include expert communicators who understand the corporate vision, and can create and deliver messaging in a compelling way. The head of this department needs frequent access to the lead communications executive or CEO. Your internal communicators will use the same practices to create effective communication as your external ones: high-level planning, compelling strategy and tactics, and consistent messaging. The result will be professional level communication that will move the needle.

2. Be Consistent. Every communication vehicle available to your business must be used to communicate the same consistent messaging with frequency. Your internal communication experts will create messaging based on the corporate vision and disseminate it frequently and consistently across all available platforms: intranet, newsletters, emails, voicemails, videos, facilities signage, employee meetings, etc. The internal communication team should be the clearinghouse for all of the above.

3. Align Communication with the Brand. If your internal communication is not effective, and you’re doing everything else right, it may be because your employees are living one brand while you’re trying to communicate another. Make sure what you’re communicating to employees fits the reality of what’s it like to work in, or be a customer of, your company.

4. Provide Ample Mechanisms for Feedback and 2-way Communication. This is one my client’s biggest priorities. They believe their communication is consistent, frequent, and reflective of the brand, but their culture and communication vehicles have not provided adequately for feedback. As a result, we’re implementing a robust two-way communication program that will help this client have a better understanding of the employee base.

5. Measure. As with any communication strategy, measurement is key. The easiest and most cost effective way to measure an internal program is to simply survey employees before and after communication, to determine if key messages have been heard and understood.

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    1. Consistency is definitely key for effective communication. The other points are also very important of course

    2. The secret was to involve rather than prescribe. Through people’s involvement in defining behaviours, designing the programme and making it happen a culture was understood, supported, applied and celebrated. Business today is not just about profit and loss, it’s about leadership and communication based on a culture that everyone is part of.

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