You might be thinking why this particular topic. I recently interviewed for a job, which if I had been offered (I was not), would have given me the opportunity to create an internal communication program for an organization. When I interviewed, I thought that if I accepted the position, what would I have to implement to make it an effective department? What was essential to have early to begin building engagement with employees?
For today’s post, I thought it’d be a fun exercise (for me, anyway) to write about the seeds that would grow a garden of communication… how’s that for poignant?
Intranet News Section
Today’s intranets need to act as a central hub of information. First and foremost is regular news about the organization that most employees should find relevant and useful. Frequency is subjective; some companies have found the need for fresh daily content, and others have seen satisfaction with new stories a few times a week. Gauge your organization’s need or desire for news to determine the best regularity.
Internal communication should possess its own brand, so that whenever employees see it, they know it’s an official company message. As with all branding, consistency is key. Every organizational communication should have a certain look with regard to color, font, logo, and any other visual element. A style guide directs communicators so that they don’t deviate from the official corporate look and possibly confuse employees as to whether what they’re reading is an official message or just some email from a random employee. If you’re just launching an internal communication program, or looking to revamp a disjointed existing one, a style guide is essential to bringing order and efficacy to your efforts.
Related to the last paragraph, corporate email messages should have a uniformed look to them so that employees recognize and pay attention to your content. While I say “uniformed” there can and should be some variation within your style guidelines. For instance, a memo from the CEO should have a consistent look, while an email from the Operations leader should have another look so that employees can recognize on site from whom the message is coming. But overall, there should be constant elements that denote the brand of your corporate communications.
If you’re starting an internal communication program, it’s probably because leadership has come to understand the importance. That’s why it’s important to take that initial momentum and excitement about the new engagement effort to get the executives on board with doing a regular blog. Hopefully you can get the CEO to commit, but it might be a good strategy to have a blog to which leaders can contribute on a rotating basis. That takes the pressure off one leader to consistently produce content (although, let’s be honest… you or someone on your team will probably be ghostwriting). Early buy in is key. Take advantage of the excitement and hook those execs in ASAP.
In today’s corporate culture, it’s essential employees feel like they have a voice. A blog is a great way to give them a voice that can be shared with their coworkers. Start soliciting employees as early as possible. Try to locate aspiring writers who are confident they can contribute regularly… however, as I alluded to in an earlier post, you’ll probably have to be a vigilant editor and keep after your bloggers for completed content. Otherwise you’ll be taking up a lot of the slack to produce regular content and make more work for yourself.
If your internal communication department doesn’t have a video program, you’re behind the times. Get the resources you need early, and if no one on your team is versed in video production, provide some kind of education to get them started. Creating video content is inexpensive nowadays, so even small companies should have no issues with budgeting for equipment and software. Your employees want and expect video, so make sure you have a system in place to provide it regularly.
Having never started an internal communication program of my own, I’m not sure if this is too ambitious or not ambitious enough. What are your thoughts? If you’ve been responsible for the launch of an internal comm department, what’s been your experience? What did you make sure you had, and what did you implement early and what was easiest and most difficult to implement? Let us know in the Comment section below!
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