4 fresh ideas to bring your internal comms channels to life

Like us, you’ll know that to achieve high employee engagement levels in your organisation and build a strong, connected culture, you need an effective internal communications channels strategy.

With today’s continuously evolving technology, there are many unique and diverse channels you can choose from to communicate with your teams, to create a motivated, productive and loyal workforce.

Broadly speaking, they can be divided into three categories you’ll be familiar with. You probably already utilise a mix of these in your internal comms:

  1. Face-to-face. This is the most important and effective internal communications channel, and includes conferences, informal get-togethers, conference calls and one-to-one meetings.
  2. The opposite of face-to-face channels is printed media, such as posters, banners, and magazines, with 70% of teams using posters and banners as their core print channel.
  3. And last but not least come digital channels. This encompasses your email announcements, intranet, videos and e-newsletters. In the UK, videos are the most popular channel amongst internal communicators, with 81% considering them to be highly effective.

And you’re probably also aware of the advantages that powerful, exciting and engaging internal communications channels can have across every facet of your organisation.

Benefits like:

  • A significant increase in employee engagement, productivity, and well-being.
  • The opportunity to connect employees wherever they’re based, so they always have a deep level of insight into what’s happening across the business and understand how they’re contributing to the achievement of company goals.
  • Creating a more connected, cohesive culture that empowers employees to work together in pursuit of the organisation’s purpose and vision.
  • A more positive and inspirational working environment.
  • Greater employee loyalty.

Just imagine what would be possible for your organisation if everyone were always marching to the same beat – fully engaged, highly productive, and dedicated to getting the job done? Coupled with an empowering, inclusive and motivational culture that everyone loves to be a part of.

The opportunities are endless!

But you might be thinking – what channels would be best for my organisation? Or maybe you’re wondering how you can breathe fresh life into your current channels, so they achieve the maximum impact with employees.

Well, the good news is that you don’t have to look any further!

We’ve done the thinking for you and handpicked 4 unique and powerful ideas you can take inspiration from, so you can create an internal communications channels strategy that truly achieves the results you need.

Remember that no one channel fits all

But before we dive right in, we’d just like to point out that creating an effective IC channel strategy doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Everyone is different, and we all have unique and varied preferences and behaviours in how we consume internal communications content. And we won’t have to tell you that it’s no different for the people in your organisation.

So, you may find that certain channels work wonders for one group of employees, but they might fall on deaf ears for others.

And that’s okay.

It’s not necessarily a reflection on the quality of your content. It just means you might not be going about it in the most effective way.

The problems arise when you focus all your time, resource and attention onto a single IC channel.

If you adopt this approach – then you probably won’t see the results you want from your internal comms.

The best IC strategies integrate multiple channels together, so they complement each other and serve the diverse needs of your employees in the most productive and personalised way.

However, we’re not saying that you should cram as many channels into your internal comms strategy as you possibly can! It pays to be selective and judicious in your approach.

If a particular channel isn’t bringing anything of value to the table – ditch it.

So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

4 fresh ideas to help bring your internal comms channels to life

1. Involve employees in your internal e-newsletter

It may come as no surprise that one of the most highly used digital internal comms channels is the internal newsletter, with 71% of organisations citing this as a very effective channel.

But if your internal newsletter is only used to broadcast messages from the top-down, you may be missing a valuable opportunity to create greater connections with employees – and boost engagement with the content.

The thing is, an internal newsletter can be just as effective in unlocking employee voice, as it is in amplifying the voices of senior leaders. It’s an opportunity to capture the thoughts, ideas and insights from everyone across the organisation – touching all bases to deliver a richer, more thorough and more informative experience for employees.

For example, employees could share stories about the projects they’re currently working on, or enlighten the organisation as to activities they’re taking part on outside of working hours.

This would be particularly valuable if you’re a larger company spread across multiple locations – in which case, you’ll be familiar with the challenges in keeping everyone aware of what’s going on around different parts of the business!

It can also help to create a better balance of content for people to engage with. Blending important corporate messages with a view ‘from the trenches’, to offer greater variety and diversity of information.

You could think of your newsletter much like a forum – a platform where people from across the business can share their unique perspectives and ideas.

Here at H&H, we use our own internal newsletter (or as we like to call it, the ‘Hubbub’) to share stories, insights and news worth celebrating from all areas of the agency, so no-one is left scratching their head wondering what’s been going on that week.

For each new edition, a different H&Her takes on the role of editor – collating snippets, constructing a compelling narrative, and calling on their inner artist to design the newsletter in whatever way they wish.

And it’s safe to say it’s gone down a treat – with an open rate consistently above the 95% mark!

2. From PowerPoints to Town Halls

How often do you use face-to-face comms channels in your organisation?

Are they prioritised within your internal comms mix? Or does digital play a more prominent role in communicating messages to employees?

If you like to keep up-to-speed with the latest research and thinking in the IC space (you can find this gathered together over on our Research and Insights page), you’ll know that face-to-face channels are consistently rated as the most effective by IC professionals, with over three quarters using them as a key part of their internal communications strategy.

Of course, every IC channel has its merits. But at H&H, we firmly believe that face-to-face is the kingpin when it comes to effectively engaging with employees – especially where leaders and managers are involved.

However, there are tons of ways you can make in-person internal comms creative and imaginative beyond the bog-standard ‘death by PowerPoint’ presentation.

And we think a particularly powerful method is the town hall meeting – currently being deployed by 73% of internal communicators.

It’s a great way to reach as many people across the organisation as possible, in the same space, at the same time. Something which, we’re sure you’ll agree, can be pretty challenging!

Now you may be thinking – there’s nothing special about a town hall. How could I make my messages stand out this way?

But it’s how you deliver it, that really makes the difference.

For example, you could incorporate some elements of gamification – perhaps with a quiz related to the key messages? This could test employees’ knowledge on the new strategy, or the refreshed core values.

Or you could throw the net a bit wider, and come up with an imaginative treasure hunt-style game that gets everyone fired up and ready to engage with the content of the day.

When you get people involved in this way, it leads to heightened retention of key messages – meaning they stick long past the event.

Or why not create a ‘Ideas Wall’, where employees can each share their own insights and suggestions for organisational activities?

This will enable leaders to collect valuable information from the front lines – whilst also showing that they value employees’ expertise.

The choice is yours!

3. Reinvigorate your intranet

We all know that company intranets are an excellent way of collating important updates, information and resources in one easily accessible place.

But did you know that 93% of organisations use intranets as their main channel of communication?

It’s not hard to see why. Much like an Enterprise Social Network, intranets provide the opportunity for collective knowledge and information-sharing.

They enable employees to communicate directly with managers and IC professionals and engage with the content by sharing their thoughts, opinions and ideas in a safe communal space.

In short, they can help to strengthen relationships across the organisation.

So how exactly can you reinvigorate yours?

Well, rather than changing the content – you could be more creative in how it’s displayed.

Let’s say you’re communicating a new business strategy. Rather than hosting information and resources alongside unrelated content on the home page – why not devote a page specifically to this new strategy, and bring it to life with an interactive, experiential design?

You could weave the communications into a visually immersive experience – one that takes the user on a journey through the new strategy, so they can get a real sense of the direction and the part they play in making it happen. Check out how we used this approach to successfully connect Fujitsu employees with the brand’s newly redefined story.

You could even throw in a KPI traffic light dashboard, so employees can keep up-to-date on how the shift to the new strategy is progressing too!

4. Add a new innovative tool to your internal comms toolkit

Social channels have been on the rise in organisations over recent years, with companies investing in popular communication tools such as Yammer and Slack.

But have you ever heard of Hunchbuzz?

This neat networking tool is an ‘ideas management system’ and is essentially a combination of a survey platform and social network.

Users can ask a variety of questions (called ‘challenges’) to employees to collect feedback on a range of important issues. As well as picking their brains to generate new ideas and innovative solutions to tricky challenges.

Or perhaps you’re looking for something to replace tiresome, long-winded employee surveys.

What if there were a quick, simple and fun way to engage employees in critical business issues – enabling them to have their say, without having to wade through endless unexciting questions?

The good news is – there is!

Push is a quickfire polling and survey tool that allows you to swiftly create simple but enlightening polls to get answers to the questions that matter to your organisation.

And what’s more – results are revealed in real-time, meaning there’s no waiting around for everyone to share their two cents!

Perhaps the greatest benefit though, is that Push goes hand-in-hand with all of the internal communications channels strategy ideas we’ve shared with you in this blog.

You can use it to engage audiences at live events, create connections in internal newsletters, or collect feedback through your intranet – all in a matter of minutes.

And did we mention that it’s also free?

Why not give it a try for yourself!

With technology continuously evolving and changing, there are a smorgasbord of channels you can use to engage your employees through your internal communications strategy.

But, as we talked about at the beginning of this blog, do keep in mind that no one size fits all. Try out and test different approaches to see what works for your employees, and find the best fit for your company’s personality and brand.

And we’ll leave you with one other piece of advice – don’t forget to measure, measure, measure!

It’s the only way you’ll know that your internal communications channels are fit for purpose, and will give you valuable insight into whether you need to add a new channel to your inventory, or simply spruce up an old one.

And you can rest assured that if you pick the right channels for your messages, you’ll be sure to experience the benefits we mentioned earlier coming to life in your organisation!

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