6 ways to improve your internal communications

John McNamara
Published on 16th April 2018
4 min read

How do you communicate to your employees?

Effective communication to and between employees is vital for any business to operate smoothly and successfully. But, often, overflowing email inboxes mean that important internal messages from the company can often get missed or seen too late.

Many businesses are realizing this and are looking for more valuable ways to improve internal communication and ensure people get the right information at the right time.

It’s a vital way to build great experiences for employees that means they stay at the business – and love what they do.

Ultimately, if an employee feels that a company is communicating honestly and authentically with them and knows the importance of doing so, then they’ll feel valued in the business.

If an organization gives the impression that keeping colleagues up to date and communicating with them regularly isn’t a priority, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that employees don’t feel valued and engaged.

So, here are 6 ways to consider improving your internal comms with employees.

1. Think of your employees as internal customers

Firstly, and most importantly, progressive People Companies know that delighting their employees is just as, if not more, important than delighting their customers if their business is to really grow and flourish.

Consider the best way to market to them in a way that’s going to resonate. Build a user journey that’s going to make them keep coming back for more. Use insight to understand what drives them.

At Sage People, we talk about this as ‘People Marketing’, which means applying principles of marketing to HR, so that companies can know their people as well as they know their customers, marketing themselves effectively to potential and existing employees, and enabling them to attract and keep the best.

People Marketing means looking at the whole ‘buyer journey’ – the experience a candidate or employee has from beginning to end of their employment journey with you. It means using a single CRM system to use data to properly know your employees.

2. Tailor how you communicate to employees

In the same way that companies tailor how they communicate to their customers based on their preferences, consider a similar approach with your people.

Some may live and die by their inbox and expect all communication to come via their emails. For others, particularly employees in sales teams, other communities like Salesforce’s chatter may be the perfect way to keep them updated. Some colleagues might prefer updates through messaging apps such as Slack or Yammer.

It’s not just how you communicate to employees in a way that suits how they work though. It’s important to tailor communications so that they’re completely inclusive for all employees, too.

For example, ensure updates from your leadership team aren’t at the same time in just one timezone, if your business is global and half of your employees are asleep at this time. Don’t make it harder for home or remote based employees to participate or stay updated. Equally, do you run all-hands meetings? Alternate these between locations if you’re a global business.

Make sure you’re also communicating in a way that’s accessible for all employees, considering things like support for any employees (present or future) who may be blind or hard of hearing, for example.

3. Reflect your brand

It’s no coincidence that companies typically seen to have good employee engagement and regularly top ‘best employer’ lists – the likes of Google, Virgin and Salesforce – also have strong brands which they leverage internally too.

Your employer branding tells the outside world a lot about the type of company you are, the kind of culture and values you instil, and the sort of people that work at your organization.

According to Manpower’s survey ‘If you build it, they will come: the new role of employer brand’, experienced candidates are more likely to approach recruiters based on branding perception.  Not only that, but it converts your employees into brand ambassadors too.

Reflecting your brand doesn’t simply mean providing new joiners with branded merchandise, but how everything that you do and communicate reflects what you stand for as a company. Consider the ways, big or small, that you can reflect this more in your organization to make your employees feel part of this.

4. Don’t second guess

We’ve spoken about the fact that different employees may want to receive updates and communications in different ways; it’s vital to reflect this in how you communicate with your employees, but don’t second guess this.

There’s one simple way to find out how to improve internal communications and discover how employees like to receive updates. Ask them.

Just 12% of 3,500 employees we spoke to in recent research are asked on a regular basis what would improve their experiences at work. Almost half (47%) had never been asked at all.

Employees will value the fact you’re asking, and it will help you to tailor communications in a way that resonates.

5. Make it two-way

It’s also vital that employees don’t feel that their company is simply talking at them or broadcasting.

As much as you may use internal comms channels to communicate to your employees, they should be used in a way that enables your people to respond and communicate back.

Consider pulse surveys, townhall Q&A sessions, and ask questions regularly. Are some internal communications channels peer led? Are your employees empowered to communicate across the business, too?

6. Don’t skimp on technology

This is relevant in two ways. Firstly, ensure that technology is an enabler for communication, and not a hinderer.

There’s no point hosting all-hands meetings globally if employees in other countries can’t hear what is happening because the sound or connectivity is poor.

Secondly, use technology as a way in itself to improve communication. Consider branded portals that reflect your personality as an employer and provide regular updates for employees in a way that’s tailored for them.

A holistic approach

Companies spend a lot of time and money providing the best communication and marketing to their external customers, but your people deserve exactly the same level and quality of communication. Having modern, engaging, lively and timely ways to communicate with employees is vital to creating a great workforce experience.

Do you communicate to your employees in a way that makes them feel valued?

Two-way communication is just one way to build employee experiences that really boost productivity. Discover the ways to really get your workforce working. Download our research from 3,500 workers on the secrets to productivity now.

Browse more topics from this article

Employee Engagement Talent Management Workforce Experience