The essential guide to an effective internal communications strategy
By: Mady Peterson
The path to improve internal communications and team connections used to be so simple: brighter flyers, bigger signs, clearer subject lines for company emails and a few happy hours. Today? Not so much. HR teams can’t count on the old strategies to reach employees — they can’t even count on there being a physical workplace everyone is internal to. And yet internal communication remains a top priority for HR leaders as they navigate evolving their internal communication strategies to foster a sense of belonging, value and purpose among employees.
Limeade research shows that when employees feel as though information flows freely throughout their organization, they are 3x more likely to feel included at, connected to and valued by their organization. The research also shows that when employees feel they have received adequate information they are nearly 3x less likely to feel burned out and nearly twice as likely to feel engaged in their work.
A strong platform for HR and program communications is an important step to creating the communication and connection your company needs for employee well-being and retention. Use this guide to learn the role of internal communication in employee wellness and help build your internal communication strategy.
What is internal communications?
Internal communications is not easy — it’s juggling everything from transparency for employees, crafting the perfect message, creating community, fostering trust all while receiving strategic guidance from executive leadership. Simply put, internal communications is effective communication among people within an organization.
Why is internal communications important?
Effective and compelling workplace communication is table stakes. Employees are facing demands on their time from every direction, with pings from workplace apps competing with endless emails and texts from family members, not to mention the siren song of social media and its endless scroll. HR leaders are stuck competing in this crowded attention economy, but with an effective internal communication strategy the benefits are immense for both driving business and people results including:
5x higher benefit utilization
Increase efficiency up to 2.5x
3x lower turnover
56% less employee stress
48% increase in well-being
Poor internal communication can result in many obstacles for both the organization and the impact. As a leader, you might notice employees feel overloaded with irrelevant information, they’re disengaged and isolated, and lack awareness of benefits and resources. On the other hand, HR admins face hurdles to reach all employees in one, streamlined way. They’re restricted by technology and can’t measure success, which trickles down into the broader initiative of creating company culture. Your communication tactics can save you time and save you effort, ultimately improving employee well-being, engagement, performance, connection and more.
Watch our on-demand webinar where Limeade and Encompass Health Corporation dive into several key strategies that will help your organization deliver valued communication.
3 Benefits of effective internal communications
Internal communications is a necessary part of any business. It helps employees stay connected to their team and company, provides them with a sense of purpose and belonging, and even encourages employees to contribute their best work, which all lead to higher productivity. Here are a few ways internal communications can help employees thrive at work:
1. Consistent two-way communication
A good internal communication strategy drives benefits well beyond awareness. The basic purpose of internal communication is to get messages out to your team. A two-way communication platform gives employees a way to speak, and to see that management is listening. One study found that while 80% of managers said they’re transparent with their teams, just 55% of employees agreed, and that only 53% of employees felt like their managers actually cared about their well-being.
Consistent, two-way communication creates a sense of connection and community that holds people accountable. Seeing others prioritize well-being helps them to do the same. It also helps the bottom line: Workplaces with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable than those with low engagement, according to a Gallup study.
How to improve internal communications with Limeade:
The only way to improve internal communications is to give employees a voice in them. By creating a two-way conversation, Limeade is able to turn workplace communication into an activity people engage in rather than another bit of information they have to commit to memory. Adding actions to employee communications — even something as simple as liking, commenting or adding it to your calendar — makes them sticky. Because the message has invited them to participate, they’re more likely to remember it.
With Limeade Well-Being for Microsoft Teams, you can reach employees in their flow of work to increase participation, drive benefits discovery, registration, work performance and positive well-being outcomes.
2. Reach all your employees (no matter their location)
No matter what device, time zone, language or wherever your employees’ “office” is located — it’s crucial that internal communications reach the right employees at the right time. First, you need to understand what matters most to your people paired with the metrics that are important for your business, so you can meet both sets of expectations. You have to consider factors both in and out of work — things like family, obligations, appointments, holidays and more. Many people have a daily jam-packed schedule, so it’s crucial to show employees you care by paying attention to how and when you promote communications to employee groups.
How to improve internal communications with Limeade:
Through targeted employee communications to subsets of your population (job title, location, etc.), Limeade delivers personalized and culturally relevant information to specific audiences and groups across your global population. Through one consistent centralized resource for communicating to your workforce, Limeade simplifies and streamlines your work.
Easily schedule custom campaigns and posts or utilize automated communications to relieve the pressure of everyday communications management. Targeted internal communication helps highlight urgent or important updates, scale one message across devices and languages to get everyone involved, and helps employees act when needed.
3. Stronger employee connections build community and strengthen culture
Effective internal communication helps improve the employee experience. As organizations continue to look for ways to strengthen culture, improve well-being and build employee connections, a strategic internal communications program is the right move. In fact, most employees crave an increase in communication efforts not only from their company but from leadership, managers and internal groups. Meaningful communication can help keep employees informed, connected and engaged, and with employees building connections, the opportunity opens for deeper community building.
How to improve internal communications with Limeade:
Limeade includes communication templates and an interactive selector to encourage employees to join Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), while the channels, social interaction and chat take ERGs from a regular meeting to an ongoing conversation. For new members and the rest of the organization, easy ERG resource centers house information, past sessions and tools. One Limeade customer used internal communication efforts to amplify inclusion efforts at their organization and resulted in a 300+ increase in ERG membership associated after one month.
Just like employees can act as champions for interest groups, champions can act as advocates for HR programs. To spread the word about useful features, Limeade enables you to fully support champion networks capable of creating excitement and awareness. Limeade has communication templates to announce and hold successful champion meetings, and a simple recruitment tool to continuously expand your network. The Limeade champion toolkit equips everyone with customizable templates to promote your program resources and a new feature to encourage interaction, allowing people to meet, chat with and become champions.
How to develop an internal communication strategy
No one needs another task tacked on to their workdays. When developing your internal communication strategy, consider how in order for employee well-being to truly feel integral to the company culture, it has to be communicated in a compelling, snackable way. Improved communication in the workplace gives employees the same feeling as a social media break. That’s why Limeade engages employees with a lively communications feed where employees can share ideas, post wins, join ERGs, celebrate milestones and cheer each other on. Here are a few other things to consider when creating your internal communication strategy.
Give employees an interactive resource to improve communication in an organization without it feeling like a top-down mandate. For the employees who need them, emails and flyers and postcards are still available (and easy to create). But for the employees who want to feel truly connected, rather than talked at, the social-style feed “ invites them into the conversation.
The only way to improve internal communications is to give employees a voice. By creating a two-way conversation, you can turn workplace communication into an activity people engage in rather than another bit of information they must commit to memory. For Limeade customer, tax and consulting firm Ryan LLC, that meant an increased monthly active usage of nearly 2x after launching Limeade communications and social capabilities.
Adding actions to employee communications — even something as simple as liking, commenting or adding it to your calendar — makes them sticky. Because the message has invited them to participate, they’re more likely to remember it.
When you’re looking for strategies to improve communication in the workplace, you can start with the messages and media that worked best for employees in the past. An intranet or an email will tell you if someone clicked an item (and a flyer won’t even tell you that). Limeade, however, will let you see who actually engaged with a piece of news or an ask from management, so you can multiply your efforts that are already working.
Improve internal communications, and maybe everything else
Not all companies with great internal communications have a healthy, engaged and productive workforce. But without an internal communication strategy that informs and includes employees, a company can’t influence any of those outcomes.
Limeade gives companies an internal communication channel that looks and feels like the apps employees are already using — one that engages them in a two-way experience, where their participation is encouraged and recognized. The benefits go far beyond an informed workforce and into a company where well-being and engagement are baked into the workday.