What is internal communication?
Definition: Internal communication is an exchange of information within a company in terms of company updates, ideas, policies, crises, rewards, or peer recognition.
For example, internal communication is news passed from the CEO to the employees and feedback from employees directed at top management.
It includes all the communication channels and methods used by employees to interact with one another, such as emails, instant messaging, meetings, and memos.
Internal communication among the members of a company is crucial to keeping employees satisfied and productive because they are recognized as valued staff members.
Types of internal communication
Best practices for successful internal communication
1. Set objectives and aims
Defining internal communication goals helps adopt strategies and maintain a long-term plan.
The most common objectives & aims are:
- Improving collaboration
- Promoting transparency
- Minimising the risk of uninformed employees
- Creating opportunities for feedback
2. Finding balance
Finding the balance between what employees need and want is difficult, but employees easily feel overwhelmed without this balance. Dividing urgent and important news from the campaign or cultural news helps avoid burnout.
This balance is achieved through:
- Different sections on the company’s website
- Monthly vs weekly newsletters
- Different communication channels
3. Use technology
Technology increases the effectiveness of internal communication strategies if the company uses the technology their employees prefer and know how to use.
The most popular options are:
- Social media channels and apps for communication
- Customer support software like Mindmesh for organizing customer tickets and empowering agents
- Design apps such as Canva for creating visually appealing information
4. Encourage feedback
Encouraging employees to give feedback forms a two-way communication, but a company should acknowledge and respond to feedback.
Ask for feedback with:
- Online surveys
- Email replies
- Comments on Slack
5. Evaluate and change
Every internal communication strategy needs to be evaluated, adapted, and changed after some time. It’s best to measure success by going through feedback and implementing the needed changes.
The needs of the organization and employees are evolving and changing, so a company should see if:
- It’s using the channel employees know how to use
- Everyone has equal access to information
- It has created a good balance with news
- It has all types of internal communication involved
6. Be concise and clear
When delivering information and updates, make sure to be concise, transparent, and clear. News is delivered without jargon, technical terms, long passages, or unimportant details for the reader not to get lost.
Readers are motivated to keep up with the information if it’s presented in an organized manner.
- Use visuals instead of text
- Divide long texts into small paragraphs
- Include a quick recap or summary at the beginning or end
Most common challenges for internal communication
Employees feel overwhelmed with all the information they receive and have a hard time discerning “culture” news from “change” news. To avoid confused and uninformed employees, companies use different communication tools for different purposes or divide them clearly on their websites.
2. Technology limitations
Technology limitations interfere with the performance of internal communication techniques because outdated tools make it difficult for employees to access, read, and share information. Make sure to use the technology your employees prefer to minimize the risks.
3. Measurement of results
Measuring internal communication results is challenging, especially when implementing a new strategy. Direct feedback from employees is one of the best ways to measure the strategy's success and work on improvements.
Inequality leads to frustrated employees if not all employees get information in the same way. A hybrid company encounters this problem if it shares news in an in-office meeting while remote coworkers aren’t present. To avoid this issue, make sure every employee has equal access to information.
Examples of internal communication
1. Daily meeting – A company shares information and updates on a daily (Zoom or in-office) meeting, which ensures everyone attends and gets the details.
2. Employee newsletter – Senior leaders share important information through a weekly or monthly employee newsletter, which is a good way of summarizing and clearly delivering the most important news.
3. Intranet – On a company’s internal website, all employees have a chance to share news with their colleagues. If organized properly, the website becomes a transparent go-to place for internal communications.
4. Slack messaging platform – An app is the easiest tool for internal communication if all users are tech-savvy and like to communicate via mobile phone.
5. Video presentation – Senior leaders make an engaging video presentation with all weekly/monthly news and send it to all employees or present it live.