January 5, 2022

The ultimate guide to internal communications planning

Clara

Clara

5 min reading

Find out in this article how to create your internal communication plan (+ a bonus example)

51% of French people want more clear information about their company's actions. Thus, internal communication is sometimes neglected. However, it plays an important role in the success of a company. Indeed, poor communication will lead to dissatisfaction among employees and your talents may leave the company. Especially in a hybrid work environment, internal communication is crucial. On the other hand, the amount of information employees receive in a day can be very high and it can be difficult to keep their attention. According to a study by the Radicati Group, an employee receives an average of 88 emails per day. Today, we talk about infobesity: information overload. This is why the internal communication plan makes it possible to decide which channel should be used in which type of situation and to set a framework for all those who wish to communicate.


Why do an internal communication plan?

The internal communication plan allows :

  • To define the main lines and objectives of the communication actions.  
  • To provide a roadmap and guide actions for the year.  
  • To set a course for the communication team with measurable objectives.  

Top-down communication is necessary to maintain the corporate culture, but it is not sufficient. It is essential that information feedback be facilitated and that employees' opinions be sought as often as possible. Internal communication actions have thus become more complex and must take into account the new expectations of employees. There is therefore a real need to involve employees in internal communication and to highlight their daily actions.

The stages of internal communication

1- Designate the communicators

Communication is not the business of one person or one team. Depending on the subject, several people may be involved in communication:  

  • The communication department for all information on the life of the company. This generally takes the form of newsletters, articles on intranets, or internal social networks.
  • The Human Resources department for legal information and in times of health crises on the rules to be respected. This will be done by means of information flashes, generally distributed by e-mail.
  • Management to communicate figures or structural information for example. It is important that management speaks in front of the employees and can answer their questions at least once a year. In hybrid working time and due to the lack of possibility to gather together, a practice to adopt is to organize webcasts to allow management to speak and to broadcast the video live to the employees. Don't forget to leave time for questions and answers so as not to frustrate your audience.
  • The CSE which will communicate on events and the life of the company.
  • Employees who must be included in internal communication at all costs.

2- Define objectives

Setting goals should not be done randomly. To help you: adopt SMART objectives. This acronym is not the English translation of "intelligent" but: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Temporally defined. More precisely:  

  • Specific: the objective must be clearly and precisely defined. It must therefore be concrete. For example, at this stage, avoid "Engage employees" but "Increase intranet traffic".
  • Measurable: the objective must be quantifiable in order to know whether or not it has been achieved. Thus, avoid "increase intranet traffic" but "increase intranet traffic by 10%."
  • Achievable: what is more frustrating than an unattainable goal? You need to know whether or not you have the resources to achieve the goal. So ask yourself the necessary questions about your material and human resources and the reality of your market. "Do I have enough people in my team to achieve this objective? In this case, the question to ask is "do I have enough people in my internal communication team to write articles?", "is my intranet tool powerful enough?
  • Realistic: your objective must above all be coherent and relevant. Is it profitable? Is it not counterproductive? This step allows you to keep your feet on the ground. In our example you should ask yourself: "Is it realistic and relevant to aim for 10% more unique visitors per month, when your intranet has just been launched?
  • Temporally defined: the last step is to give a deadline to the project and to the achievement of this objective. In our example, you will no longer say "increase intranet traffic by 10%" but "increase intranet traffic by 10% in one year".

The SMART objective is therefore: "to increase intranet traffic by 10% in one year".

You can also set broad goals, but these should always be fuelled by SMART goals.

For example:

Overall objectives SMART objectives
Inform Increase the number of newsletter mailings to 2 per month
Motivate and unite Increase intranet engagement by 2% in 1 year
Engage and involve Increase newsletter open rates by 2% in the next year
Improving recognition at work Increase the eNet Promoter score by 2 points in 1 year
Contribute to the quality of life at work Organise 2 internal events per year
>Developing the employer brand Increase the number of unsolicited applications by 2% in 1 year

3- Identify messages and create an editorial line

In a large company, the communications department alone cannot be the eyes and ears of every team. It is therefore necessary for several people to be able to bring them information to share. This is the principle of the editorial committee.

This appointment should be recurrent. Depending on your needs, you can make it monthly or quarterly. Led by the internal communications officer, it brings together key people with information about their department. It allows the communication department to organise its editorial and/or digital content, such as the newsletter. During this committee, each person takes the floor to express one or more subjects that they wish to highlight, and the interest, timing and channels are discussed.

In addition, to ensure that your communications are coherent and impactful, your main ally will be the editorial line. It must include the editorial concepts and pillars of the editorial tone. Embodying the corporate culture thus requires choosing the tone accordingly.

Let's take the introduction of the monthly newsletter as an example:

  • Humorous, offbeat, friendly  

"Hello team,  

You've been waiting for it for a long time, and now it's time (laughter and fields) to present you with the December newsletter! 

We are waiting for a lot of feedback!

See you soon!"

  • Formal, explanatory, playful

"Hello everyone,

We are pleased to share with you the December newsletter. Presentation of new arrivals, great product release of the month, feedback on past events... Find all the news that made xcompany move!

Enjoy your reading."

5- Definition of tools and channels

Each channel has its own importance and objectives. Let's detail which channel can be used for which purpose:  

  • Internal newsletter: to send employees the most important news over a period of time.
  • Intranet article: to share important daily news.
  • Internal social networks: to share occasional news, congratulations, interact in communities.
  • Internal application: to be able to communicate with field staff.

Next, what tools will you need to achieve your goals? Listing these tools will allow you to feed your marketing budget. Find the 11 internal communication tools to adopt.

6- Involving employees

As mentioned above: internal communication is everyone's business. You have everything to gain by involving employees:

  • More commitment from employees;
  • More loyal employees who stay longer;
  • Collecting feedback ;

Gamification is a great way to achieve this. By encouraging employees to comment, like, or even post, you can get them involved. For example, you can elect the most engaged employee each month and give him/her a platform in the newsletter. This is a great way to get them interested and convinced by the top management. Another idea: offer goodies or gifts to the employees who have posted the most on the internal network. A lot of strategies can be invented and implemented to achieve your goals.

7- Measuring your results

Finally, any plan must be accompanied by performance indicators. What is the point of proposing actions if we cannot be sure of the associated success? Here are some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to consider:  

Measuring employee satisfaction :

  • eNet Promoter Score: you can conduct internal surveys to ensure employee satisfaction;

Measure the performance of your mailings / newsletters:

  • Opening rate 
  • Click-through rate 

Measuring the performance of your intranet :

  • Commitment rate 
  • Bounce rate 
  • Reading time  
  • Number of page views / session

Measuring the performance of an internal application :

  • Utilization rate

Find our ready-to-use communication plan template.

Things to remember

📌 Designate communicators

📌 Defining objectives.

📌 Identify messages and create an editorial line

📌 Create your editorial calendar.

📌 Define tools and channels

📌 Involve employees

📌 Measure your results

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