‘Good enough’ is not good. It’s OK. Average. So-so. Is that what you want from internal communications? No. You want inspiration. Motivation. Commitment. A return on the time and effort you’ve put in.
‘Good enough’ can’t give you that. But we can.
Here’s the thing — it’s not rocket science. There are some simple steps you can take to make sure internal communications achieve what you want them too. That’s more than good enough – it’s great.
Step 1 – start at the top
Don’t ask people to do what you’re not prepared to do yourself. Get leadership buy-in right from the outset. You need the people at the top to agree with your objectives, and to help communicate them.
Make sure those objectives align with what the business wants. Spell out a clear benefit, and be sure everyone understands and agrees with it. Then assign clearly-defined roles.
What do you need your leaders to do? How should they actively support your messaging? Give them specific tasks and targets. And check in with them on progress. They’re in it for the long-term, not just the start.
Step 2 – talk to people
We told you this wasn’t rocket science. Find out what’s important to your people. That shows you where the gaps lie between your aims and their outlook and tells you what will make your communications work.
You don’t need huge, formal sessions. They can be useful, but challenging to organise. Try targeted, smaller focus groups. Get a few people together over coffee. Run an online survey with a specific audience. Whatever you do, you’ll paint an accurate picture of what matters to the people in your company.
Then you can create messaging they’ll believe in. That’s relevant. That creates real engagement. You’ll inspire champions, prepared to help deliver it. You’ll have communication built from trust. That’s what generates results.
Step 3 – stay simple, but don’t dumb down
Keeping things simple isn’t about dumbing down. It’s about clarity. Accessibility. Understanding. Delivering the information people want and need to know.
Create a list of what you want to say. Short statements, key messages, detail. For example, a short statement might be: “We want to improve health and safety.” The key message is: “We want to improve health and safety because we care about our people”. And the detail is: “We want to improve health and safety because we care about our people. Here’s how we’re going to do it.”
You can — and should — be creative. But don’t get carried away by clever ideas. Look at it this way – will you get it at a glance? If the answer is no, you need a simpler approach.
Step 4 – give them a reason to listen
All internal comms people have been up against the sighs. The eye-rolls. The ‘I’ve got real work to do’. Because busy people have enough to do without health and safety training, or sorting out performance reviews. But if you’ve spoken to them, you know how to get past that.
It’s ridiculously simple, but often overlooked: tell them what’s in it for them. Show them the relevance and the benefit. How what you’re asking from them relates to what they want for themselves.
Above all, let them know this is something done for them, not to them. It’s about making their working lives better. That’s something all of us want.
Step 5 – make it exciting
The key role of your communications campaign is to get people talking. That’s the surest and fastest way to make sure your message spreads. So think about how to make it fresh. New. Something that stands out from all the other messaging they get every day.
Posters, booklets and presentations have their part to play. But think about other means. How might you utilise smart phone technology? Could you introduce some kind of game? Is there an interactive approach? VR or AR?
There are so many new ways to deliver internal communications. So there really are no excuses for sticking with ‘good enough’.
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