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How can I create an internal communications plan?

A couple of weeks ago an IT professional turned internal communicator posed this question to me.

In this post I am sharing context about the need as a case for us to reflect on. I invite you to share your recommendations that can empower other internal communicators to get better at crafting plans.

Rony joined Winners Limited, a 250 person software solutions firm as a technology specialist right out of college. He liked the culture – informal and direct. Leaders were easily accessible and the organization had roots in a community based life transformation outfit.

After 5 years of technology implementation Rony sought a change. He joined the sales and marketing group. Since the organization didn’t have a formal internal communications function his leadership sought his help on a ‘voluntary’ basis. They requested him to research what it takes and come back with an approach to move ahead.

Rony researched on the internet and although he did find some resources he wasn’t sure if he was making headway. He had the passion for doing this work. However, he had some fundamental questions in his mind. The organization had staff in 2 cities in India and there were an equal number at both offices. So far internal communications only meant messages going from leaders to employees and vice versa. A couple of teams had created their own newsletters to share information.

  • How can Rony go about creating a concrete plan for his organization that will add tangible value?
  • How should he begin planning?
  • What are the key focus areas that he should consider before planning?

Share your perspectives here. I am hopeful that Rony will gain immensely from your insights.

8 thoughts on “How can I create an internal communications plan?

  1. Hi there!

    Your question caught my attention because I have mulled about effective communications strategy for some time before I developed my own effective Communications Strategy and published it as an article on my business communications blog in March this year, “Rethinking Business Communications Blog” : Lucille-ossai.blogspot.com

    In a nutshell I recommend that the effective Communications Strategy should comprise 6 components: “the what”, “the why”, “the who”, “the how”, “the when/how long” and “the crisis-mode plan”. (Full article available on: http://bit.ly/TgtnaD). I also discussed each of the six components in separate posts in the months which followed, for a clearer understanding of the components which make up the Strategy.

    The Communications Strategy does not need to be long and can be customised to the business needs of a company but should address all six components.

    If utilised, attribution should kindly be credited to me and my blog kindly used as reference.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Internal communications can be effective based on an assessment the pulse of the organization. I think the first step would be to survey the staff across locations and find out how tuned in they are to the communication they are currently receiving and identifying the gaps in the communication. The second thing would be to work out a communication plan which encompasses both face to face meetings and email communications (as is being done now). Finally and most importantly, the input and commitment of the management from a time and budget perspective would be vital. Other important decisions are frequency of communication, sender of communications and so on.Hope this helps.

  3. I agree with Peter’s approach. We recently revamped our internal communications as well, and actually recieve recognition from PRNews for it (http://www.prnewsonline.com/nonprofitPRawards2012). Once you have established your gaps, goals and exec buy-in, i recommend you define the strategic use of your tools. How will you announce ‘big news’, practical updates, and make best use of face-to-face time. The consistency of how things are delivered creates a well-informed stakeholder group that understands and trusts the news and announcements, and knows what tools to use to provide feedback.

  4. To add to the excellent inputs from a few of the experts here, companies, especially the bigger players with business units spanning across several locations within and outside the country, must factor in the concept of ‘information overload’. Too little will mean that the internal audience is poorly informed about the corporate brand, and too much can dilute the purpose of communication and the organisation loses credibility.

    In a bigger company, there is the risk of individual teams and projects sending out their own set of information via the several tools available, causing a clutter in the system. This is best handled by putting in place a centralised corporate communication team that works hand-in-hand consistently with individual business units, ensuring that only key information that strengthens the brand reaches the internal stakeholders.

    So the corporate communications team must design and execute a standardised plan for internal communication. This is, as the cliche goes, to ensure that the right information reaches the employees at the right time through the right tools.

  5. Preethi is correct. We are a very small company, but we still had the problem of too many ‘announcers’. By keeping this strategy centralized with other communications, it is consistent and balanced.

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