Creating A Basic Internal Communications Strategy

strategic planningThis post outlines the basic elements needed to create an internal
communications strategy and why they are necessary. There are examples,
which relate to an audit strategy, i.e. where the communications process and framework is under review. These examples could easily be used as a high level outline, or be further developed into a detailed communications strategy by adding in audiences objectives, key messages and a high level timeline.

An internal communication strategy will normally cover a 12, 6 or possibly 3 month period. 3 and 6 month strategies tend to be for specific topics, such as contained projects, while 12 month strategies tend to be for a wider departmental/company messages and large scale change projects/programmes.


Every strategy should have a clear objective and/or several key goals that it wishes to achieve over the allotted time span of the strategy. The objective and goals provide the focus and backbone to the communication strategy. The objective and goals should all be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Articulate, Relevant and Time-bound.

Example Objective:

Our objective is to deliver an internal communications framework that provides clear, informative and engaging 2-way communications which are planned and effectively link together
the key messages.

Example Goals:

  • Simplify structure of internal communication plans, channels and messages
  • Ensure known communication events and tactics are captured and referenced in forward planning
  • Promote 2 way feedback with employees and regularly respond to feedback received, whilst tying in feedback with communication messaging where appropriate
  • Review and reduce current measurement indicators
  • Use agreed measurement indicators to measure success against strategy and further identify areas/channels of success and areas/channels in need of further attention
  • Use targeting of communications to relevant employees and embed targeting into the communication channel process

Communications Approach

The communication approach is the framework of how you will deliver your strategy. It provides the focus for where you will need to deliver your tactics to best advantage.

Example Communication Approach:

Our communications approach is focused on the improvement of our internal communication mechanisms – from strategy and planning, the channels we use, to the way in which we engage with and seek feedback from employees and ultimately the way we are measuring success, identifying issues and highlighting best practice. With this in mind there are some key elements that we need to address:


We need to look at ways of simplifying the following elements of our communication process so that we have clarity and understanding of how internal communications is to be used and works and where responsibility lies. We will focus on improving the following areas:

  • Strategy
  • Tactical plan
  • Channels
  • Process/standards Key messages (from Strategy & Vision)
  • Communications consultancy/training for leadership team

Forward Planning

We need to become smarter at ensuring that known communications events and tactics are recorded into a pre-planned events calendar and tactical communications plan to allow more “joined up” communications and avoid communication clashes. We need to educate individuals to consult and update the events calendar and tactical plan on a regular basis. We will focus on improving the following areas:

  • Pre-planned events calendar
  • Tactical plan
  • Process/standards
  • Awareness training/communications with required individuals
  • Set deadlines for submissions
  • Allow for more “joined up” communications and communication campaigns (especially around strategy and key messages)

Engaging Employees

We need to promote greater 2-way feedback with employees to generate consistently positive engagement between management and employees. We need to actively respond to and communicate appropriately on feedback received. We need to encourage more bottom up communication and feedback, moving away from a purely “top down” approach. We need to generate more ‘honest’ reporting and feedback from employees – telling it like it is, rather than what they think management wants. We will focus on improving the following areas:

  • 2-way feedback loop
  • Targeted communications
  • Responding and communicating appropriately to feedback
  • Moving away from a purely “top down” communications approach
  • Working with HR on combined communications and engagement activities

Targeted Communications

We need to reduce the amount of communications that employees receive and ensure that the communications individuals receive are relevant to them and received in a timely fashion. We will focus on improving the following areas:

  • Personalise communications
  • Targeted messaging
  • Cut back on “broad brush” communication messages
  • Ensuring communications have clear “call to action”

Effective & Relevant Measurement

We need to review the existing measurement indicators to ensure that they are providing relevant and useful data. Use key measurement indicators to determine any gaps and identify what is/isn’t working and examples of best practice. We will focus on the following areas:

  • Employee survey
  • Specific activity surveys
  • Where are the gaps
  • Determine what is/isn’t working, where and what are the blocks/barriers
  • What should we be capitalising on


The methodology is the key communications principles and practice that the strategy will use to deliver its communication approach. Whilst it is not necessary to include a methodology in your strategy, it can be useful to ensure that the key communications principles and practice are understood and followed.

Example Methodology

  • Ensure all communications are crafted to meet at least 1 of the 7 internal comms drivers:
    • Reward – How much I earn/financial bonus
    • Recognition – Non-monetary, recognition by peers leaders and direct manager
    • Opportunity – My opportunity for advancement / to experience different areas
    • Process – The way in which I work /my level of autonomy / my workload
    • Personal Pride – How I feel about the job I do / how my job makes me feel
    • Product – What I work on / Whether I get a choice / My creative license
    • Working Environment – My desk / building / facilities
  • Ensure we are using simplified and readily accessible communication submission processes and standards
  • Maximise message delivery through use of forward planning, ensuring messages are linked, do not contradict each other and avoid overloading of messages
  • Instigate a 2-way feedback loop tying together HR engagement activities and interactive communications channels
  • Work in partnership with the leadership team on vision and key messages

Communication Channels

There are a wide variety of communication channels that can be employed for internal communications. The channels available will vary from company to company. When selecting the channels for your strategy you should consider which are the most appropriate to meet your strategy objective and goals.

Example Communication Channels

We will employ both passive and interactive communication channels to deliver our communication tactics. NB these channels will also need to be evaluated for effectiveness and monitored should any changes be made.

Passive Channels:

  • Intranet news
  • TV
  • Wiki
  • Notice boards
  • Posters
  • Email
  • Print

Interactive Channels:

  • Director road shows
  • Company conference
  • Business unit briefing
  • New Starter Lunches
  • Monthly Director Communications Day:
  • First Line Breakfast Brief
  • Site Team Brief
  • Director back to the shop floor
  • Director Hosted Employee Birthday Lunches
  • Director Q&A Drop in
  • Hot Topics Panel Q&A Sessions
  • Lunch Time Learning/Panel Q&A Sessions
  • Blogs
  • Company Collaboration Tools
  • Discussion Forums
  • Instant Messaging
  • Ad hoc discussions/face to face meetings
This entry was posted in Comms Theory, My Work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>