Improve Your Top-Down Strategy with Internal Communication Guidelines

Mastering communication at work is not as easy as you might think, but it’s crucial for employee satisfaction and business success. Research has proven time and again that effective communication practices directly affect an organization’s financial performance. And in order to be effective, business leaders need to create and follow internal company communication guidelines.

Following strategic policies and procedures ensures everyone at the company is informed and engaged, no matter if they are in an office, working remote, or on the frontline facing customers each day. A recent study from Zogby analytics found that while 71 percent of managers consider themselves informed on company-wide news, only 40 percent of frontline employees claim the same.

To prevent both miscommunication and a lack of communication at your org, follow these 8 steps to create effective internal business communication standards that guide all top-down updates.

1. Set Your Goals

What communication goals are important to your organization? Are departments siloed from each other? Do employees feel disconnected from the company culture? Is there a lack of trust and transparency coming from leadership? Identify the weaknesses in your company’s current communication patterns and set goals for improvement. These goals will help inform the following steps.

2. Segment Your Audience

Identify which kinds of updates should be sent to everyone, such as a message from the CEO, and which kinds need to be segmented by department, region, or team, such as a regional policy change. The more targeted messages are — so that information only goes to the employees that it concerns — the more effective internal business communications will be.

3. Establish a Cadence

How quickly should employees be made aware of different kinds of updates? Some news needs to be shared immediately, such as a new benefits enrollment plan from HR or the announcement of an acquisition. Other updates could have a natural cadence such as weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. An example might be reminders for regular product training certifications that are due by a specific date.

4. Choose Your Delivery Method

Internal Communication guidelinesThere are various updates that internal business communications leaders need to get out. Whether it’s organizational restructuring, earnings reports or congratulatory messages, decide which types of updates need to be shared in-person and which can be delivered online.

When conference calls and face-to-face meetings are required, how will those meeting details be shared with the workforce? If an email is sent, will everyone read it? Consider new communication modes like one-to-many broadcasts that instantly capture your employees’ attention.

5. Leverage Software

What software or applications will be used for sending information? The communication technology your company uses can have a profound impact on the success of your overall communication strategy, so it’s important to spend some time here.

There is a range of technical requirements for enterprise communication platforms and key characteristics that make some a better choice than others. Above all, the software you choose has to be secure as well as intuitive so that employees actually use it.

Zinc app; Internal Communication guidelinesTo decide what technology to use, conduct an audit of your company’s current communication tools to identify deficiencies and opportunities for improvement. You may find that different departments use different tools (some on Slack, some on Skype, and others on WhatsApp) and that you can cut costs by deploying a single solution across the workforce. Of course, there are many benefits to having everyone use the same software platform and protocol.

You may also find that a large segment of your workforce is completely shut out. For companies that have deskless workers, such as field service organizations, this happens all the time. Information that is sent over email or via an intranet simply goes unread because these workers are on mobile devices, not desktops.

Additionally, don’t forget to think about communication holistically across the entire organization. Choosing an app built solely for top-down communication can have the side effect of employees never checking it because they don’t need to use it to get their work done. Consider:

  • How employees will talk to each other
  • How managers will talk to their teams
  • How corporate will push updates out to the workforce

Rather than forcing multiple apps on employees, it may be worthwhile to find a company communication app that combines all of these communication functions into one app.

Zinc competitor comparison; internal communication guidelines, internal business communication6. Be Strategic in Your Delivery

Communication mode icons; internal communication guidelines, internal business communication

For updates that don’t require an in-person meeting, what online communication mode will be used? There is a myriad of modes to choose from including conference calls, top-down broadcasts, group chats, and of course old-school email.

Decide which methods are appropriate for the message. For non-urgent updates that are team-specific, a group message may suffice. For an urgent safety alert, a broadcast that instantly alerts employees is a better choice. Provide internal communication guidelines for which modes to use so that those in charge of pushing out updates can be as effective as possible.

7. Identify Communication Leaders

Who will own the different types of updates? Identify the exact employees across HR, corporate communications, and management who will be in charge of getting updates out to the workforce. Adding this to your internal communication guidelines prevents information gaps as well as duplicate emails regarding the same topic.

8. Consider Employee Feedback

Lastly, how will corporate gather employee feedback? Issuing surveys, holding live Q&A sessions, and having designated group messaging channels for feedback are all options. Don’t be afraid to adjust your internal business communication standards to better accommodate employees. Regularly check-in and make sure employees are getting the information they need and adjust your strategy when necessary.

Implement Your New Communications Standards With Efficient Software

Zinc provides a frictionless way for deskless workers to get the knowledge they need in real-time. Zinc Real-Time Communication combines messaging, voice, video, content sharing, top-down broadcasts and hotline groups together, enabling mobile teams to connect with ease and speed, while also allowing corporate teams to deliver alerts and share knowledge to the field.

Award-winning mobile UX drives adoption, while the platform delivers compliance, security, and central administration. With a full spectrum of secure communication features, Zinc gives organizations a single platform to communicate real-time information at scale.

Learn more about Zinc’s Broadcast feature here.

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.