Master internal communications to improve culture

Published On: August 10, 2023 | Categories: Blog, Culture, Public Relations |

Communicating effectively to an internal audience is crucial for creating a positive and productive work environment, which leads to satisfied and loyal employees – and helps build your company’s overall success. (View all SA Comm Services)

Build trust

Employees who feel valued and understand the company’s direction will likely become brand advocates. Encourage open communication by finding ways for employees to express concerns and ideas, even anonymously. This two-way communication approach shows you value their input, are committed to transparency and building a culture of trust.

Create an open culture

For effective internal communications, tailor your messages to fit your audiences. Different messages may need customization based on the recipients — whether leaders, managers, the entire company, or specific departments. This strategic approach ensures the information resonates with employees, answering the question: “Why does this matter to me?” and “Why should I care about this?”

Cascade communications

When sharing news across the organization, it’s also important to reach the right people at the right time. Cascade your communication to ensure all stakeholders receive aligned and accurate information. Managers, for example, should be informed of news that affects their teams before any organization-wide messages are distributed. This allows managers valuable time to read what’s happening, become familiar with key messages and prepare to answer questions they may receive.

Use a multi-channel approach

Workplaces today are diverse — crossing multiple generations, social and ethnic backgrounds, orientations, and styles. Your diverse workforce requires a multi-channel approach to internal communications. Conduct surveys to understand how employees prefer to receive information and make any needed changes to communicate on the desired platforms. Encourage feedback through various channels — including social media, intranet, companywide meetings, one-on-one discussions, and performance reviews.

Strive for transparency & consistency

Transparency is key in the workplace, especially regarding company performance and financials. Keeping employees informed of the company’s status and goals helps them align their efforts and make necessary adaptations. An internal communications goal should always be to strike a balance between consistency and relevance. For consistency, create set communications’ calendars and always cover known topics of interest — whether benefits updates, internal events, learning opportunities or staffing changes. To achieve relevance, avoid frivolous communications and news that may not apply to most employees. Listen to employee input regarding frequency of communication and don’t overdo it. Not all news needs to be communicated immediately. It’s better to consolidate news and communicate less frequently – with more complete updates – than to inundate employees with a barrage of announcements.

Use surveys

Internal surveys are a great way to gauge employee attitudes and feelings. They offer honest feedback directly from employees, providing insights to improve the work environment and influence communication strategies.

One caution — never survey employees if you’re not willing to implement changes based on the feedback received. Employees want to be heard and feel empowered to influence positive change. If you ask for feedback in a survey and then make changes based on the survey results, you’re succeeding in building a positive work culture. Conversely, if you survey employees and then ignore the feedback, you erode confidence.

Prepare for challenges

Every business face challenges — whether economic downturns, talent scarcity, supply chain issues, or natural disasters. It’s never a question of “if” a crisis will occur, but “when.” Creating a communications plan for challenging scenarios prepares you to effectively tackle unexpected events.

Difficult situations demand transparency and communicating under pressure requires thoughtful planning and preparation. Involve the right team members — including the communications team and leadership — to outline your response in potential crisis situations. Having this plan laid out in advance allows you to promptly relay critical information to your team members — helping keep them safe and part of the solution.

By proactively planning and involving leaders in the communication process, you can enhance employee trust and engagement even during challenging times. This approach builds brand loyalty and a strong company culture.

If your business would benefit from improved employee communications or crisis preparation, contact the SA Strategic Communications’ team.

Laura Vanden Bosch is executive director, Strategic Communications, at SA and Lara Plathe is a senior communications strategist. Learn more about our services