6 Tips For Building An Employee Communication Strategy

Communication Strategy

If you are a business owner, you will agree there is no way to completely eliminate the discomfort the workforce experiences during times of change.

You see, change does not happen in isolation; it impacts the entire company and all those who interact with it, including vendors, partners, and customers. The sudden shift to remote working during the pandemic is a recent change management example.

Not only did it cause displacement among the employees, but it also hampered the operations for a short period. The success of organizational change lies in how the workforce reacts. That is where a solid employee communication strategy can come in handy.

It can help communicate the change, the objectives, and advantages of that change, and the role employees are expected to play to ensure the change gets incorporated across the organization. But there are more advantages to such internal communication.

When employees are continually made aware about what is happening in the company, it eliminates rumors and unnecessary speculations. Plus, their loyalty and engagement increase, which ultimately boosts the business revenue and reputation.

However, Slack channels, office memos, and team meetings can only do so much when a company undergoes a massive change. You need to deploy a proper communication strategy that clearly informs your employees. Here is how you can build one:

Six tips for building an employee communication strategy

To ensure your communication is on point and has the maximum benefits for all your employees, you must take a few key steps. We chalk out the top six:

1. Gather information on a grassroots level

Popular change management examples include implementing new software, rejigging your leadership, or undergoing a merger/acquisition. Whatever change your company is going through, you must create an employee communication strategy based on your end goal.

Therefore, before you start creating a new roadmap, the first step is to take stock of what is currently in place. What is your current mode of employee communication? How effective has it been in the past two years? What software and channels are you using?

What feedback have you been receiving? It might be worth asking your employees what they think about the current ways of communicating and having a meeting with your senior management to discuss their expectations.

The latter is especially important for you to align your employee communication strategy with the leadership goals. Aligning with the broader business viewpoint will help you demonstrate the value of communicating efficiently with your employees.

2. Define your target audience

Most businesses make the mistake of treating their employees as one large demographic. However, that is not the case because various departments of your company have different demands from their communication channels.

For instance, your sales and operations teams are poles apart. Not only do they function differently, but they also have particular requirements from the business. If you want to ensure your employees engage with your content, you need to impart the right information in time to the right people.

Therefore, think about the different types of job roles in your workforce and the locations where your employees are spread. Segmentation is a good practice, and you should regularly review your audience research to base your content on criteria such as employee roles, expertise, geography, and even linguistics.

3. Arrange a meetup with critical stakeholders

Once you have analyzed your current strategy (if it exists) and defined your audience, it is time to take massive steps. Involve your stakeholders to discuss if the new measures you have reached are accurate and whether they would like to add any inputs.

This meeting is important because no company is run by one person. If all the stakeholders think in the same direction, developing a strategic plan becomes much easier, especially in times of change where smoothening things without hampering business continuity is a must.

That way, you would give your stakeholders a platform to question you, share their suggestions to pain-points and even optimize the measures you have planned to take.

Transforming staff attitudes and behaviors is a bumpy ride. The stakeholders’ involvement is necessary to ensure that the communication strategy gets adequately executed.

4. Set SMART objectives

The concept of SMART goals is well known to us all. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based. A typical change management example is establishing milestones and incentive programs.

However, it does not become a goal or objective for your organization unless you specify it. For instance, a goal is you want to increase employee referrals in marketing by 30% in Q2. This goal is highly specific and is measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Plus, you will know exactly how often this information needs to be communicated and which audience you need to email. Measuring an employee communication strategy is impossible without setting those objectives in the first place.

5. Consider your communication channels

Sure, email and intranet are commonly used communication modes. However, not every employee has the time to read every email or spend time accessing the intranet bulletin board. Leveraging text-heavy emails to impart information is not exactly a compelling choice.

Every employee consumes information differently. Some process it quickly; others take time. And as a business owner, it is your responsibility to distribute the information on various channels, including newsletters, biz comms platforms, video, and face-to-face (or Skype/Zoom calls), all of which can serve a different purpose.

For instance, newsletters can relay the latest company news, explain how things are financially, convey recent leadership changes, and so on. The key is to keep the messaging precise so that the employees can focus on what they need to.

On the other hand, using videos can make the content look more appealing and make it easier for your workforce to absorb and retain the information. You can also capture and share whiteboard content written during video conferences in real-time.

Besides the usual digital media, be sure to have a face-to-face conversation with the team leads or senior managers, so no information is misinterpreted or misunderstood. If you can meet them in person, that is also great!

6. Create a timeline for communicating

To effectively communicate with your employees, make sure you set deadlines to clarify what information has to go out by when and on which channels and the stakeholders’ responsibilities. Be clear about who has to approve and by when. This way, you can avoid the last-minute rush.

Also, please ensure you keep realistic deadlines for following up with the people involved in carrying out the strategy from start to finish.

Your organization cannot function without timelines. Otherwise, you are only going to spend time talking about what you would like to achieve and actually not do anything to implement it. 

Over to you

Employee communication is a powerful tool. However, most businesses get confused about where to start, how to proceed, and what to expect while building a communication strategy. Hopefully, this article has given you apt guidance on mapping out a clear, specific, and written plan for communicating with your employees effectively.

If your employees always know what is happening in the organization, they will make the most of it and stay productive. And engaged employees result in a successful business.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.