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Internal Communication Policy Guide

A well-designed internal communication policy can help you streamline company communications and improve productivity. This guide tells you how.
Written by: Penny Swift
internal communication policy guide
Published: November 30, 2023
importance of the internal communication

The Importance of Internal Communication

Effective internal communication is the backbone of every successful organization. Learn the ins and outs of internal communications with our research-backed white paper.

Does your company have an efficient internal communication policy in place? If not, it’s time to rethink. Understanding the importance of internal communications, identifying best practices, developing an effective policy, and leveraging the right tools and strategies are vital for establishing a robust, successful internal communication system. 

We’re going to explore the expansive field of internal communication policies. We’ll analyze the integral components along with the benefits you can reap when you develop an effective internal communication policy. This guide offers the foundation you need to streamline communications within your organization, driving efficiency, productivity, and overall success.

Where is Internal Communication today?

According to Gallagher’s State of the Sector 2022/23 survey report, promoting meaningful connections among employees based on purpose, strategy, and values has been the foremost objective for organizations for the past six years. This remains the top priority for 51% of organizations that participated in the 2022/23 survey, regardless of differences in size or geographical location.

51% of organizations say that strategy is the top priority

In contrast, the emphasis on adapting communication channel strategies to hybrid working has dropped significantly from its second-place ranking last year, with less than one in five respondents now considering it a priority. Instead, the development or revitalization of focusing on an internal communication strategy has surged by nine points since the previous year, securing the second spot with 35%. This shift indicates “a perceived need to recalibrate” communication channels and approaches. 

The report also states that 60% of respondents said they have an internal communication strategy planned around specific initiatives and campaigns. Nearly half have crisis communication processes. But a much smaller proportion have well-defined, strategic internal communication policy. Only 33% said they had an internal communication master plan that covers multiple campaigns that happen over the year. Similarly, less than a third (29%) said they were prioritizing an internal communication strategy for 2023. 

“A focus on refreshing internal communication strategy suggests communicators still feel a need to recalibrate what they do — after two years of focusing on channels  (‘how’ we communicate), organizations seem to be taking a broader view of the ways that internal communication supports the business (the ‘why’ and the ‘what’).”

Gallagher’s State of the Sector 2022/23 report

Understanding Internal Communications and its Failures

Internal Communication, as the term implies, refers to any form of communication that happens within an organization. An organization can effectively thrive in its operations when it has good internal communications. This primarily involves exchanges between team members, departments, or an organization’s entire staff, including updates and important information.

According to The Harris Poll and Grammarly The State of Business Communication 2023: The Path to Productivity, Performance, and Profit report, effective communication is key to business performance. It states that 72% of business leaders connect effective communication with increased productivity, 63% with increased customer satisfaction, and 60% with increased employee confidence. 

However, it warns that communication challenges don’t improve on their own. For instance, employees report higher stress levels because of poor communication in the workplace. Also, knowledge workers aren’t as confident about effective communication as business leaders are. Only 56% connect it with increased work satisfaction, 54% with improved colleague relationships, and 52% with increased productivity. 

Axios HQ’s The 2023 state of essential workplace communications states that about 50% of employees agree the two topics that are most critical when it comes to doing their jobs well are:

  1. Operational changes, including process and policy updates
  2. Organizational goals, plans, and new initiatives

But there’s an enormous conundrum. Leaders don’t believe these issues are essential at all. In fact, they rank them amongst the most unimportant of all. And the two topics employees say are least important — macro news and business updates – are what they hear about most often. A mere 16% of employees say they get updates about organizational goals and operational changes! 

Clearly, most leaders and employees simply aren’t on the same page.

Top 10 Internal Communication Best Practices

Internal communication is the lifeblood of organizational synergy, and adopting best practices is paramount for a thriving workplace. Some of the best practices include:

  1. Clear objectives: Whether it’s to improve team collaboration, share company updates, or reinforce company culture, having specific objectives will guide your communication efforts.
  2. Clear messaging: Ensure information is concise and easily understandable.
  3. Transparency: Foster a culture of transparency by openly sharing information about company performance, goals, and challenges. This helps build trust among employees and keeps them engaged in the company’s journey. 
  4. Consistency: Maintain a consistent communication approach to build trust. By maintaining consistency in the tone, style, and frequency of your communications you can create a cohesive and reliable communication experience for employees.
  5. Balance: Avoid information overload, by providing relevant updates.
  6. Equality in communication: Disseminate information impartially, to foster inclusivity.
  7. Tailor messages to segmented audiences: Different teams and individuals may have unique information needs. Tailor your messages to be relevant to the specific audience, ensuring that they receive the information they need without unnecessary details.
  8. Feedback: Create avenues for employees to provide feedback. Ask questions, and share opinions. This not only promotes a culture of open communication but also allows leadership to understand the concerns and perspectives of various teams.
  9. Regular measurement: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your internal communication strategy. Get feedback from employees, analyze communication metrics, and be willing to adapt your approach based on what works best for your organization.
  10. Utilize technology: Provide training on effective communication skills to employees, particularly those in leadership roles. This ensures that communication is not only clear but also delivered in a manner that promotes understanding and engagement.

By incorporating these best practices, organizations can create a robust internal communication policy and framework that fosters collaboration, employee engagement, and a positive work environment.

internal communication best practices for a policy

What is an Internal Communication Policy?

An internal communication policy is a formally agreed document that lays out numerous aspects of an organization’s communication policies. It includes the acceptable use of company resources, communication goals, and the roles of individual staff and the communications team. Primarily, it serves as a guide on the appropriate process and etiquette for internal communications. It also provides a framework for consistent, effective, and compliant communication practices.

The policy includes clear directives on the use of communication software, the responsibilities of various teams and key personnel, procedures for dealing with crises, and guidelines for the use of the company platforms, and more. This policy should reflect their values, address their challenges, and consider their unique frame of operation. Not only will this bring coherence and structure to internal communications, but it will also contribute to improving the overall company culture.

Gallagher’s State of the Sector 2022/23 report proves that there is a correlation between internal communication, strategy and culture. Furthermore, the common factor that connects all of these is the internal communication policy. 

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) stated the primary purpose of internal communication is culture and belonging. However, when we look at the company size, organizations with more than 5,000 employees (77-78%) noted that the primary purpose is strategic alignment. 

Internal Communication Policy vs Internal Communication Strategy

HR research firm, McLean & Company urges businesses to craft an internal communications strategy. They make the point that while internal communications are commonly considered to be crucial, they aren’t always strategic. They also quote the Gallagher report that tells us if we don’t have effective communication channels, employee engagement is reduced and there is a greater degree of dissatisfaction. 

“Empowerment starts with the clarity, tools, and capability to communicate effectively and guarantees an exchange downwards and upwards.”

McLean & Company

Their advice is to craft an effective internal communications strategy that will enable your organization to meet its strategic goals. 

We get this, because we know how important it is to have a good internal communication strategy. But how does this differ from a formal internal communication policy? 

Essentially, while an internal communication policy provides guidelines for how communication should be conducted within an organization, an internal communication strategy is a more holistic plan. Simply put, the strategy aims to use communication as a strategic tool to achieve organizational goals. The policy is more focused on establishing rules and standards, while the strategy is focused on the proactive planning and execution of communication initiatives to drive desired outcomes. Nevertheless, both are essential components of a comprehensive internal communication framework within an organization.

The Importance of Having a Comprehensive Internal Communication Policy

Every business thrives on good internal communications. So, it makes 100% sense to create a clear-cut internal communication policy to ensure clarity and smoothness to maximize the efficiency of company operations. When communications aren’t clear, they often lead to confusion and loss of productivity in the workplace. This makes internal communication strategies crucial in any organization, regardless of its size or industry. 

An internal communication policy becomes the backbone of company operation, guiding both the communications team and the rest of the employees on the right path.

This may seem basic in principle. But it’s essential to recognize that an effective internal communication policy can transform any business operation. It can add value, support company culture, and even increase engagement among team members. It’s not just a document, but a powerful tool that can determine the success of your overall internal comms strategy.

As Gallagher’s research shows, most companies lack a long-term internal communication strategy. It also shows that not much more than half of internal communicators focus on communication plans for specific campaigns, rather than devising broader strategies and policies.

Benefits of an Effective Internal Communication Policy

An effective internal communication policy will promote consistency and clarity in organizational messaging.It will also foster a transparent and cohesive work environment while mitigating risks associated with miscommunication. And, of course, it will ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. An effective policy will enhance employee engagement, align with organizational goals, and contribute to a positive workplace culture.

Let’s look at the concept in more detail. 

Enhancing Workplace Efficiency

A well-structured internal communication policy clears any ambiguity, enabling team members to understand their roles better, and accomplish tasks efficiently. It helps to simplify and streamline company policies and procedures. Swift digital solutions such as a branded internal comms app or document management systems can further boost this efficiency.

Improving Employee Productivity

An effective internal communication policy streamlines information flow. It reduces conflict resolution time and provides clarity on roles, fostering employee productivity. By leveraging targeted messaging and digital solutions, it minimizes communication overload, allowing for more focused and efficient work. Additionally, a well thought-out policy cultivates a collaborative environment, encouraging innovation, and enhancing overall teamwork for heightened organizational productivity.

Elevating the Employee Experience

A comprehensive internal communication policy ensures that all employees are well-informed about the current situation and upcoming changes in the company. This reduces confusion and creates a sense of transparency, leading to a positive employee experience. The use of various customer engagement solutions such as surveys, focus groups, and password protected sections on the company intranet can further elevate this employee experience.

Cultivating a Strong Company Culture

An effective internal communication strategy should work hand-in-hand with a good policy. It also plays a major role in building a strong company culture. Consistent and open communication across different levels of the organization can bring out a sense of unity and camaraderie among the team members, strengthening company culture. Seamless communication practices serve as an example for vital values like transparency and collaboration, defining company culture.

Facilitating Feedback and Discussion

A robust internal communication policy also includes provisions for feedback and discussions. These can be achieved through surveys, group discussions, and timely online/offline meetings. The two-way conversation enhances employee engagement and gives the management team valuable employee insights. It also creates an open culture where everyone’s ideas are valued and respected.

Unifying Teams in Times of Crisis

During times of crisis, internal communication kicks into overdrive. However, without a clear communication policy, there can be major problems including the risk of misinformation. A comprehensive policy plan will ensure that accurate, timely information is disseminated across the team. It unifies teams and provides direction during challenging times. This not only includes the use of cell phones for instant communication but also effective email strategies and even cooperation from law firm partners in some cases.

Components of an Internal Communication Policy

Any effective internal communication policy helps to ensure that all communications within a business are coordinated. While every company’s protocols are uniquely suited to its needs, there are a few components that all effective communication policies typically share. 

They include objectives, methods, tools, and responsibilities. 

Objectives

The purpose of any good internal communication policy should be to increase engagement among employees, support the company culture, and achieve communication goals. Without clear objectives, a policy can easily become a document collecting dust, rather than an active tool used to guide everyday operations.

Methods

An internal comms policy should also define the methods for communication. Methods can be formal or informal, verbal or written. They may involve various channels like face-to-face communication, written documents, presentations, or digital platforms. They should also address acceptable tone, language, and style of communications that are appropriate for the varied communication channels within the organization.

Tools

The policy should identify which internal communication tools the company will use. These can include everything from the company newsletter, intranet, branded internal comms app, or even document management systems. The goal here is to minimize communication overload that often occurs when too many platforms are in use.

Responsibilities

One of the most vital parts of a policy is to set out clearly who is responsible for implementing and monitoring the communications policy. Responsibilities will usually be as broad as the communications team and as specific as department heads.

components of an internal communication policy

Guide to Developing a Strategic Internal Communication Policy

A comprehensive internal comms policy can have significant benefits for businesses of all sizes. These include improved morale, increased productivity, and better alignment with strategic goals. 

Here’s a basic step-by-step guide that you can use to develop an effective communication policy.

Analyze Organizational Communication Needs

Before writing a policy, make sure you understand the current situation. A good idea is to use focus groups or surveys to identify the need for improvement areas. You may also consider what types of communication are currently over or underused.

Set Clear Objectives for Communication Policy

Based on your initial analysis, set clear objectives for your communication policy. These objectives may include improving transparency, increasing engagement, or enhancing communication effectiveness, for instance.

Design and Implement an Effective Communication Policy

After setting objectives, utilize an internal communication strategy template to design the best policy for your organization. This will involve creating a draft, sharing it with team members for feedback, making revisions, and finally implementing it.

Monitor and Evaluate the Success of Your Internal Communication Policy

Once you and your team have implemented the new internal communication policy, periodically evaluate its effectiveness. Look for changes in employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. Also, gather feedback from employees to ascertain if the strategy is working or if it needs to be altered to be useful and/or improve.

developing a strategic internal communication policy

How Can Cerkl Broadcast Help You Create an Effective Internal Communication Policy?

Cerkl Broadcast is a sophisticated, simple to use, omnichannel platform that functions as a centralized communication hub. It was designed and built to modernize the way organizations communicate with, understand, and engage employees, and minimize the channel pains that organizations face on a daily basis.

Broadcast offers all the features you need for a good internal communication policy that carries through to every possible internal communication strategy you might want to implement in the future.

The software is designed to streamline communications in any type and size organization, which is a great asset. Features include customizable templates that you can use for pulse surveys and email, great feedback and analytics tools, and the ability to segment audiences, minimizing noise and increasing precise targeting. You can also schedule messages any time in the future and create the full range of campaigns, whatever the needs of each project are. 

The versatile Broadcast framework enables any organization to design and implement the most effective internal communication policy possible. 

What’s Next?

If you need help creating a successful internal communication policy, the seasoned experts at Cerkl can help you. So, if you want to take your internal comms a step further so that you can embrace the challenges of workplace segmentation, we are here to help you. Let’s start with an internal audit that will show you how well your internal communication policy is working. Then we can help you take it from there.

FAQ

What is an internal communication policy?

An internal communication policy is a set of guidelines and rules within an organization that define the principles, standards, and procedures governing the exchange of information among employees. The motivation behind a policy of this kind is to ensure clear, consistent, and effective communication practices.

What should an internal communication policy include?

An internal communication policy should include guidelines on the use of communication channels, confidentiality protocols, professional conduct expectations, and rules for sharing information.

What is the aim of the communication policy?

The aim of an internal communication policy is to provide a structured framework that guides and governs internal communication within an organization. More precisely, it needs to ensure clarity, consistency, and effectiveness while aligning with the organization’s objectives and values.

What is a good communication policy?

A good communication policy is one that is clear, comprehensive, and aligned with the organization’s values and goals. It needs to provide guidelines for effective and transparent communication while addressing key areas. The most important of these are channels of communication, confidentiality, and professional conduct.

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