Tony Layton, chairman of communications agency Words&Pictures, on how to engage staff through communications
1. Consider how communications already exist within your organisation. Which channels do you use? Who “does” IC? How is it carried out?
2. Dedicate time to develop an internal communications strategy focused on how you plan to engage with your employees.
3. Once you have developed your strategy, decide the best way to communicate it to your team. 4 Ask your teams how they wish to be communicated with, for example focus groups or team briefings. Make sure you incorporate their views wherever possible, after checking their practicality and effectiveness.
5. Think widely then about what levels of trust exist in your organisation. Make sure your organisation is seen as a company that says what it means, and does what it says – starting with your own people.
6. Once you have identified the level of trust in your organisation, test it. You need to drive the trust agenda, or it will drive you. Trust your people where you can, and be seen to be trusting them.
7. Start planning your communications tactics. Primarily, ensure your employees feel valued and engaged at work. There should always be a development and training focus at work and staff need to feel they’re being treated fairly with regular contact.
8. Develop appropriate channels of communication that educate and inspire, and make them regular, open and practical.
9. Develop fun ways of equipping leaders, managers and ‘ambassadors’ with ways to influence and shape work-based behaviours and attitudes. Once again, these should be in place to drive strategy, itself geared, of course, to positive business results.
10. You may consider hiring IC support but draw in mostly only tactical help.
The strategy and thinking on corporate communications is down to you and your people. But more importantly, try to develop your own techniques for measuring the effectiveness of your internal communications.