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Internal Communications: Your Secret Weapon to Retaining Employees

May 21, 2024
Simple, effective strategies to engage and empower your team.

As leaders, communications and HR professionals, we often feel our company’s internal communications are clear and engaging. However, studies show a significant gap between leader and employee perceptions about internal communications. Bad communication can lead to poor employee alignment, disengagement and turnover.

According to a study by Axios HQ, 49% of misaligned employees and 44% of unmotivated employees plan to leave their jobs within two years. Internal communication is your first line of defense when retaining your hardworking and talented team members. Here are a few ideas and strategies for effective internal communications to make your employees feel heard and empowered, and to support your retention initiatives and goals.

Set Clear Goals

What types of internal communications does your company need to send and what is the goal of each? Examples of internal communication may include company-wide announcements, updates, reminders, urgent alerts, progress reports, overviews, check-ins, training webinars and employee surveys.

A great first step is to audit your current internal communications and identify gaps. What information do people regularly miss? What praises or complaints have you heard from employees about internal communications? What platforms or channels do you have at your disposal?  Are there certain company resources or training materials employees may need more information about? Would it help boost company morale to give more regular employee shoutouts?

A simple internal focus group or survey of employees can provide feedback on preferred types of content, the frequency they would like to receive it and preferred channels. Employees obviously will have different preferences, but you also have to consider external variables or restrictions depending on their roles (access to a laptop/cell phone during the workday, availability of apps on company devices, location of employees, different shifts, etc.).

When developing an internal communications strategy, make sure you have specific objectives that are measurable. Here are examples of how to use the SMART Goals strategy to help you (using webinar engagement as a goal):

·      Specific: Increase the number of employees who attend internal webinars

·      Measurable: Track webinar participation

·      Achievable: Increase the number of employees who attend internal webinars by 10%

·      Relevant: Our strategy is to increase the number of employees who watch our internal webinars because we believe these are imperative to keeping our employees safe at work

·      Time-bound: We plan to increase the number of employees who attend internal webinars year over year

Remember the SMART strategy when setting these goals to determine what resources you’ll need to achieve them. Will you need to add a new position? Will you need to invest in new technology or get buy-in from leadership?

Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to execute to achieve them. We recommend developing a robust action plan outlining the goals, tactics, timelines and those who will be responsible for their execution.

Increase Engagement

Now that you have a strategy in place, you need to package this information in ways that speak to many types of people. Here are factors to consider when crafting communications to send to your employees:

·      Avoid over-communicating.

·      Keep content simple, concise and easy to consume. Provide context to let employees know why the information is relevant.

·      Make content interesting and visually appealing. Videos, photos, infographics and animations can help diversify and personalize your content.

·      Always include a strong call to action and clear next steps.

·      Customize information based on employees’ departments and roles. Ensure any company-wide messaging you send is relevant to all employees.

·      Encourage interaction and feedback. People support what they help to create.

Multi-Channel Approach

While it’s not feasible to tailor content to each individual’s preferences, trying out different channels can increase your content’s reach. Not all employees have access to the same technology, and relying on one form of communication can be risky.

Examples of internal communication channels include intranet, town halls, break room signage, company apps email, messaging platforms, video platforms, social media, text messages, postal mail and your HR portal/project management software. Remember to tailor messaging to the correct channel.

Regularly Reassess

Continually revisit your communications to ensure your messaging is effective. Take time to research new channels and types of content you may not have considered before. Go back to your KPIs and see what’s meeting the mark and what is not. And always keep the employee feedback loop open and incorporate their preferences into your strategy. Internal communication is an ever-changing opportunity to connect with your employees. Failing to plan your internal communications efforts around specific goals and objectives is equivalent to planning to fail.

Danny Markstein is an experienced communications professional with more than 20 years of experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Danny founded Markstein in 2003 as a strategic consulting agency. Today, Markstein is a full-service creative communications agency. Visit markstein.co to unlock additional workforce solutions. 

About the Author

Danny Markstein

Danny Markstein is an experienced communications professional with more than 20 years of experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Danny founded Markstein in 2003 as a strategic consulting agency. Today, Markstein is a full-service creative communications agency. Visit markstein.co to unlock additional workforce solutions. 

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