Team Talks 03: Internal Communications

Dylan MacdonaldSpreng Thomson

A spotlight is shining on internal communication more than ever before.

With distance no longer a hinderance when it comes to flexible and remote working, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses are prioritising effective and clear internal processes to allow their teams to work and communicate seamlessly. Not just on day-to-day tasks, but on wider business interests and collaborative approaches, helping create more transparency, trust and pride.

Read on for some tips and insights into what internal communication is and why it could prove vitally important to your business.

What is internal communication?

Internal communication is the approach and methods you and your business use to communicate with your team and colleagues. This can take many forms including:

  • Software including Microsoft Teams and Slack for regular day to day communication
  • Intranets such as SharePoint
  • Internal broadcasts such as live webinars or pre-recorded videos
  • Email communications
  • Newsletters
  • Even face to face – where we’re allowed to!

Traditionally, many viewed internal communication as being only applicable to businesses with larger teams across different locations. However, this certainly is not the case. But no matter how big or small, there must be a long-term strategic plan for your internal communication.

Interestingly, research conducted by Smarp, found that 60% of companies don’t have a long term plan for their internal communication activities. Alongside this, 74% of employees found they were missing out on company news and updates.

Whether you have a team of 10 or 1,000, investing time and resources into an effective internal communications strategy not only helps you keep your team informed on key developments, but helps build trust, relationships and pride in your business and your brand.

What are the differences between internal and external communication?

There are some very important differences between internal and external communication and how these should be approached.

Internal communication focuses on communicating directly with your team and colleagues on a variety of topics, whether that be the day to day running of the business or a quarterly business update from senior management. When it comes to internal communications, transparency and trust are key. It offers you an opportunity to empower your team by updating them on sensitive internal updates before the businesses decides whether to release these on their website, social media and to media outlets.

On the other hand, external communication focuses on updating stakeholders including customers, clients and shareholders using channels such as your website, social media and press releases to relevant media.

Why is internal communication important?

There is no point in overcomplicating things when it comes to internal communication, if anything, focus on simplifying things as much as you can.

We have covered some of the key points already, however, here are some highlights as to why internal communications should be front and centre of your overall communication strategy:

  • Keeping your team regularly informed
  • Building trust with transparency
  • Creating a collaborative approach across the business
  • Plays a key role in the wider business using the best digital solutions for communication
  • It allows you to tell stories about the people behind the business

There will always be a new piece of software or intranet which sweeps the nation, but it is important that before you make any big decisions on what will facilitate your internal communications, making sure it is right and works for you, your team and your business.

Look internally, before looking externally.

So, what next?

Whether you’re just starting to think about your internal communication or you have been adapting your approach for years, it’s vitally important to always take a step back and remember the fundamentals:

  • Why?
    • There must be a fundamental reason as to why to invest time and effort.
  • How?
    • How will we put our thoughts and ideas into action? which channels will we explore?
  • When?
    • It is vital to make sure you make your content as accessible as possible at the right time for your team, when and where is incredibly important.

In school, I remember following a similar formula for writing critical essays and the like, and we should continue to ask ourselves these questions every time we discuss implementing a plan for our internal communications strategy.

An example of this from Spreng Thomson is our work with our client, Kyowa Kirin. We’ve been proud to help create, plan and produce internal webinars and podcasts for a team of nearly 200 people spread across Europe. These include stories from different team members focusing on their professional and personal achievements with live Q&As sessions throughout. Perhaps most importantly, these are recorded and made available for those who can’t attend on the day in the case of a live event for example.

Any questions?

I hope these tips are useful – there is so much more you can do to maximise your internal communication as part of your business communication strategy. We love chatting about this – so feel free to get in touch and we would be happy to answer any questions you have.

+44(0)141 548 5191 or email us.

Further reading