Have an internal communications process document or plan to write one for your organization? Here are pointers that may help you create one that meets the needs of your audiences.
Recently, an internal communicator reached out for a review of her draft internal communications process document that she created.
The draft looked great although I wasn’t convinced about the objective it set out to meet.
According to her, the document ‘will be available to all employees on the Intranet. The main objective is to make employees aware about the various communication channels and platforms available within the organization.”
It made me wonder if the objective needed more reflection.
The document consisted of 8 slides and covered the need, the principles of internal communications, a policy statement and the various channels that the team used, the audiences they served and the pros and cons of each channel. It also covered the frequency of communication and the respective owner for each channel.
To me a process document serves multiple purposes. Primarily, it allows the internal communications team to be aligned on their practices and processes. A simple flow chart of relevant steps in a communication process can go a long way in staying consistent and avoiding errors the team can make. It is also a great way to demonstrate systemic thinking with stakeholders. Your stakeholders will appreciate your effort to keep processes simple, clear and direct. Also, they know that their communication is in safe hands. Lastly, it is a good method to inform and educate employees on your team’s practices.
Therefore, the process document will need to be designed differently for each audience.
For example, the internal communications team can use it as a ready reference document for rolling out communication. The document can cover your internal communications philosophy, the guiding principles and the goals of the team. Clearly call out your goals – for example, does the organization expect that internal communications will be predictable, consistent, reliable and transparent?
The document can provide a workflow for each process. Such as engaging with stakeholders, writing an article, creating an internal story, adding articles to your intranet, publishing stories, taking feedback from audiences among others. Also, it can cover steps for employees to contribute, the life-cycle of an internal communications artifact, key people who write or edit or review drafts before content pieces go live.
For stakeholders, it can be a one slider with the team’s internal communications guidelines, rules of engagement and a map of channels, forum, objectives, frequency, owner, the impact, the reach, timelines and messages.
When sharing with employees (ideally during your induction or on-boarding process) the objective is to raise awareness of their role as internal communication champions and brand ambassadors by leveraging the channels available. The one pager or an interesting ‘infographic’ can explain pictorially how they will receive, contribute and engage with internal communications. You can probably categorize them under headers such as ‘Learn’, ‘Share’, ‘Grow’ among others.
Finally, although process documents sound like boring collateral to create and own they however save time, rework and a whole lot of effort that you can invest elsewhere to make your internal communications come alive.