Internal Communications – Key to a Successful Business & Happy Employees

On a laptop display we see an envelope with a letter and a notification symbol, a man and a woman are looking at it.
On a laptop display we see an envelope with a letter and a notification symbol, a man and a woman are looking at it.

We all know exactly what the roles of sales or accounting are in a company, right? We might even have a slight idea of what the IT guys are doing.😊

But there is another business discipline, that plays a crucial role in organizations, even more so during the pandemic – internal communications!

But what exactly do we mean by that, what purpose does it serve and what steps can you take to ensure you and your employees will communicate effectively?

Keep on reading to find out.

Table of Contents

What Is Internal Communication?

Internal communication (also known as IC, employee or team communication) refers to verbal and non-verbal means of communication within the company across different departments.

It entails everything – from informing employees about an upcoming company event to delivering new hire announcements.

Depending on the organization, internal communications can be the responsibility of any department, but it’s usually handled by HR, marketing or PR.

We differentiate between formal and informal internal communication.

  • Formal internal communication happens through specific communication tools and channels (which we will cover in more detail later on).
  • Informal internal communication, on the other hand, covers all the information that is passed on (e.g. via rumors).

💡 And then there’s employee engagement...
When it comes to internal communication in a business environment, there is another query that occasionally pops up – employee engagement. To avoid confusion, we have summed up the main difference between the two concepts.

Internal communication is the action a company takes to interact, and motivate its workers.

Employee engagement, however, is the reaction or feedback a company gets from investing time, strategy and a certain budget to communicate with team members.

Now that you have a better understanding about what internal communication is, let’s find out why it’s essential for your business.

3 Reasons Why Good Internal Communications Is Important

Effective communication in the workplace is a must-have for any business – whether you’re a small company just starting out or an established corporation.

Here’s why...🧐

It Helps Avoid Panic During a Crisis

Acquisitions, restructuring teams, layoffs, mergers, conflicts – there are times when every business encounters a crisis. This is when effective internal communications can do wonders.

People will have a lot of questions and delicate information will have to be treated with special care. Being fully transparent and honest about what happened, who was affected by the incident and what measures are planned (using a communication plan), will help the employees stay calm and respect the company even more.

It Manifests Your Company Culture

Effective internal communications will breathe life into your company culture and help manifest it.

All news updates, CEO blog posts or announcements play an important part in how workers interpret the organization’s cultural landscape.

Therefore every piece of information should convey its

  • values
  • mission
  • what it stands for

It Gives Everyone a Voice

Let’s get one thing straight. Internal communications is NOT about the leadership sending messages to its employees.

It’s about promoting a two-way dialogue concerning topics involving the company.

Five young people are standing in front of a brick wall holding colorful speech bubbles made of paper.

People need to see that their opinion matters and is respected, regardless of which department they work in. If, for example, the marketing team has the opportunity to freely talk about a task they are working on or share updates, so should the techies.

Such an approach enables people to have a more holistic view of what matters and is happening within the organization.

Defining the importance of good internal communications ... Check! ☑️

Next, let’s answer the following question...

What Makes Good Internal Communication?

It all starts with implementing an internal communication strategy in your company. We have compiled a list of things to consider when taking on the task.

A gif of the character Barney from How I met your mother saying challenge accepted
  • Ask yourself “why” you want to implement an internal communication strategy.
  • Identify key metrics to track (e.g. employee satisfaction, employee referrals).
  • Segment your internal audiences (e.g. by role, department, part-time or full-time etc.) and decide who should receive which messages.
  • Choose your channels to communicate effectively (e.g. print media, employee apps etc.)
  • Establish an approval process to ensure all messages convey priorities, are error-free, and support the company brand and image.
  • After the strategy has been implemented, tweak and refine it if needed (involve your employees and ask for feedback).
💡 Tip: If you are starting from zero and need additional guidance, read our detailed step-by-step guide on how to set up an internal communication strategy.

Internal Communication Examples

Let’s take a look at how Bosch took employee communication to the next level.

In 2017, the company launched a TED Talks-inspired style format focussing on its workers – “The Spark”.

The concept is fairly simple. At each event, 8-10 employees share their stories, skills and knowledge with the rest of the organization and the world.

And they love it.

For the shy ones or those lacking experience in public speaking, the company even engaged coaches to help them prepare for the sessions.

Lean back and enjoy the following video from a Bosch employee explaining why we should never stop being curious, no matter the age.

In the following chapter, we will dive into different internal communication tools you can make use of in your company.

Must-Have Internal Communications Channels & Tools (Infographic)

As mentioned in the previous chapter, picking the best communication channels and tools can drastically improve how your team members communicate with each other.

So which ones are a must-have?

Infographic displaying five internal communications channels

1. Employee Apps 💬

Employee apps such as Slack & Co. are considered some kind of a super-channel for internal communication and are available to all employees – meaning they can access the platform with their company or private (mobile) devices.

Especially in times of the coronavirus crisis, employee apps allowed companies to

  • reach and connect to every team member in real-time
  • regularly share information
  • implement measures quickly and effectively

2. Intranet 🌐

Having a well-managed employee intranet has many benefits, as all-important company data is available in one place.

It provides a great opportunity to

  • share knowledge across departments
  • stay up-to-date with the latest company developments
  • discuss current matters and issues

Moreover, companies often use the intranet to have better control of documents – e.g. team members can see who wrote what, who performed edits or which is the latest file version.

3. Podcasts 🎙

Podcasts are booming – reason enough to give it a go!

They offer the perfect alternative to video and text, and employees can listen to the content without having to pay full visual attention.

A podcast from the company CEO is far more authentic than sending out a plain memo and will have a greater impact on people.

It’s also the optimal channel to reach those working from home, as one can listen to it whilst getting on with chores or working on a project.

4. Video 📹

Videos are the way to go if you want to increase employee engagement. It’s a fact that a combination of sound and visuals is more memorable than simply reading a text. Therefore make use of it to convey messages.

And the best thing about a video;

  • it’s cost-effective
  • it’s easily accessible via various devices
  • it reaches a lot of people
  • it allows room for creativity

Film away!

5. Internal Newsletter 📧

With an internal company newsletter, information reaches the team

  • quickly
  • clearly
  • well structured

When sending out a newsletter, keep in mind that people often don’t have the time to read never-ending text blocks. Therefore, pimp it up with photos, graphs, GIFs or videos to make it more engaging.

This tool is also ideal to acknowledge the accomplishments of your employees or mention a successfully completed team project.

Internal Communications Best Practices

If you already have an internal communication strategy in place, there are different ways you can improve it.

Simply follow these tips and enjoy witnessing the results.

1. Organize Team-Building Events

Executives are usually occupied with day-to-day tasks or achieving business goals and tend to forget the importance of personal interaction.

An animated gif with penguins standing on ice and running away from a whale

Team-building activities are a nice opportunity to get everyone together, let go of the stress and socialize outside the workplace.

Such events are even more important if you are managing your teams remotely.

💡 Tip: Need some ideas? Try some of these super creative virtual team building activities.

2. Send Out Surveys

Was there a recent pressing issue or conflict in your company? Send out employee surveys to get an insight into how your workers think and feel about it.

By gathering their feedback, you can get valuable information on how to deal with communication problems in the future or how to prevent them.

3. Mix It Up Channelwise

You shouldn’t overwhelm your employees with numerous tools, but rather narrow down your selection.

Make sure you have the right mix of channels. Combine digital and analog communication options and face-to-face exchange. It is important to choose communication channels that appeal to everyone.

4. Listen

Every measure you take to improve team communication is pointless if you don’t know how to listen to your employees.

Really take the time to analyse their input on different issues concerning the organization and show them how much you value it.

A white llama moving its ears
💡 Tip: If you’re having problems establishing effective communication within your teams, check out our hacks on how to overcome communication barriers as well as our teamwork guide.

To wrap it up, we want to demonstrate how thoughtful and strategic internal communication will look like in 2022 and the future.

Mental Health & Wellbeing 🧘🏻‍♀️

The pandemic has drastically disrupted our everyday routines and working from home has had a negative impact on many people.

More than ever, companies have to focus on their employees’ mental health and wellbeing by ensuring a good work-life balance and offering psychological safety if needed.

“Communication Freeze”🛑

Set fixed times when you deliberately refrain from checking your e-mails or app notifications and, in return, don’t send any to your colleagues.

Such a “communication freeze”

  • reduces the stress level of the employees
  • gives them more time to fully focus on the project they’re currently working on – without being constantly interrupted

Internal Influencers 📣

In every organization, there are employees who are very social media savvy and feel more confident on new digital channels than other colleagues. These are the people you should bring on board to push digital channels and platforms internally and increase employee engagement.

Last but not least ...

Key Takeaway: You Can’t Do Without Internal Communications

In our fast-paced, networked and mobile world, team cooperation is becoming more and more indispensable.

Which channels to use for internal communications largely depends on the company and its employees.

It’s critical that you establish a good mix of tools that are tailored to the respective target group and make sure that team members feel well-informed and valued at all times.

Only then we can speak of effective employee communication.

How Meltwater Can Help You Improve Team Communication 💡

Different teams within the company require different types of information.

Here is where the Meltwater Newsletter and Newsfeed tool comes into play!

On top of a newsfeed is a picture from a video shoot, below is a short event teaser

It enables you to

  • ✓ share news with the entire organization or key stakeholders by using a customised email template
  • ✓ showcase selected articles or social media content on your website or intranet
  • ✓ communicate results of team projects
  • ✓ demonstrate positive brand exposure to investors, employees and executives
  • ✓ stream customer testimonials from social media channels

Hold on, there’s more...

The Newsfeed can also be easily integrated into Slack or other employee apps. Sounds promising, right?

Fill out the form below to discover all the ways how our tool can benefit YOUR business.

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