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Building an effective internal communication strategy
Illustration by Maya Ramadhina

11 min read

Building an effective internal communication strategy

Discover the key components and benefits of an effective internal communication strategy in this comprehensive guide.

How often do you think about your central nervous system? I bet not that often. Assuming you’re healthy, you just expect it to work — messages are sent and received efficiently to and from your brain, ensuring your body functions properly and, when necessary, sending you signals that your body needs attention. You need to eat. You need to sleep. You need to... well, let’s leave the rest to your imagination. 

While you’re imagining that, imagine this. Your body’s communication network is much like the internal communication strategy an organization would use—at least a well-run organization. 

If you only have a vague idea of how your own nervous system works, you’ll have to research that elsewhere. In an organizational setting, an internal communication strategy refers to a systematic plan of action that’s designed to facilitate effective communication within an organization. An internal communication plan involves the development, implementation, and management of all communication processes and channels, ensuring that all information is conveyed clearly, consistently, and in a timely manner — always.

To touch on just a few reasons why effective internal communication is important, it will enhance employee engagement and morale, increase productivity and efficiency, and help create a positive organizational culture. All things a successful organization needs.

Benefits of a strong internal communication strategy

Having a solid internal communication strategy is much more important than basic operational necessities — things like leadership and management or an HR department. Let’s discuss four areas where an internal communication policy is advantageous:

Improved employee engagement and morale

A strong employee communication strategy can serve as a catalyst for heightened employee engagement and morale. When their communication channels are clear, employees feel more connected to the organization’s mission and vision. It helps them gain a deeper understanding of their roles and can lead to a heightened sense of purpose and fulfillment. And, as engagement rises, so does morale which will ultimately create a positive ripple effect throughout the workplace.

Increased productivity and efficiency

Without effective communication, increased productivity and efficiency would likely be impossible. When information is shared in a clear and timely fashion, it ensures that employees stay well-informed, reducing the likelihood of misunderstanding and errors. When employees are properly informed, they’re better equipped to carry out their duties, contributing to streamlined processes and overall efficiency.

Alignment of goals and objectives

An effective employee communication plan helps align employees and teams with the goals and objectives of the organization. When everyone’s on the same page, there’s a collective understanding of the company’s mission and strategic direction. Having this alignment ensures that each employee’s efforts contribute to the achievement of organizational goals.

Enhanced collaboration and teamwork

Effective internal communication is the foundation for enhanced collaboration and teamwork. When communication channels remain open and transparent, teams can share ideas, coordinate efforts, and work seamlessly toward common objectives.

Bring your people together

Key components of an internal communication strategy

Something as important as an internal communication strategy — or your nervous system — doesn’t just happen by mistake. It takes thoughtful consideration of several elements to lay the groundwork for an effective flow of information within an organization. The following can provide the framework necessary to achieve seamless internal communication:

  • Clear and consistent messaging:
      • Clarity: Ensure that all messages are easily understood, avoiding any jargon or ambiguity
      • Consistency: Maintain a uniform tone and style across all communications to reinforce your organization’s identity and values
  • Choice of communication channels:
      • Diversity: Utilize a mix of channels such as emails, intranet, meetings, and messaging platforms
      • Accessibility: Make sure to choose channels that cater to the preferences and accessibility of diverse audiences
  • Two-way communication:
      • Encourage feedback: Create an environment where employees feel empowered to share their thoughts and opinions
      • Active listening: Actively engage feedback, showing your employees that their input is valued and considered
  • Regular and timely communication:
      • Consistent updates: Provide regular updates on key initiatives, changes, and organizational news
      • Timelines: Ensure that all information is shared promptly to keep employees well informed and engaged
  • Tailor communication for different audiences:
    • Segmentation: Identify and understand the unique needs and preferences of your various employee groups
    • Customization: Tailor your messages to resonate with different teams or departments, ensuring they’re relevant

Steps to develop an effective internal communication strategy

Developing an internal communications framework requires a strategic and somewhat methodical approach. The following is a template of sorts — several crucial steps that organizations should follow when creating an action plan that works in line with their unique needs and objectives:

  • Assess current communication practices:
      • Audit: Conduct a thorough audit of existing communication methods and channels
      • Feedback: Request and gather feedback from employees to help understand the strengths and weaknesses of current practices
  • Set communication goals and objectives:
      • Clarity: Define clear and measurable communication goals that are aligned with organizational objectives
      • SMART objectives: Ensure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound
  • Identify target audiences:
      • Segmentation: Identify and categorize different employee groups based on their roles, departments, or location
      • Understand needs: Understand the unique communication needs and preferences of each of your audience segments
  • Select appropriate communication channels:
      • Diversity: Choose a mix of channels that will cater to different preferences and communication styles
      • Accessibility: Make sure that all selected channels are accessible to all members of the organization
  • Create a communication timeline:
      • Planning: Develop timeline that outlines when key messages and updates will be communicated
      • Consistency: Establish a consistent schedule for regular communication to maintain engagement
  • Develop key messages:
      • Clarity: Be sure to craft clear and concise messages that align with any organizational goals
      • Relevance: Make sure all messages are relevant to your audience and convey your intended information effectively
  • Implement the strategy: 
      • Rollout plan: Execute your internal corporate communication strategy systematically and, if necessary, consider using a phased rollout plan
      • Engagement: Encourage active participation and engagement from your employees during the implementation phase
  • Evaluate and adjust the strategy:
    • Metrics: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your internal comms plan
    • Feedback loop: Implement a feedback loop where you can gather insights and make necessary adjustments for continuous improvement

Internal communication strategy template

Now that you know the steps, it’s a good idea to develop a template and use that as a framework:

  • Executive summary:
      • Overview: Summarize the main elements of your strategy in a concise format
      • Key highlights: Highlight your strategy’s primary goals, intended outcomes, and key focus areas
  • Objectives:
      • Clear definition: Clearly articulate the goals and objectives your communications strategy aims to achieve
      • Alignment: Ensure your outlined objectives are aligned with broader organizational goals
  • Target audiences:
      • Identification: Specify and categorize your different audience segments within the organization
      • Customization: Tailor your communication approaches based on the unique needs and preferences of each audience
  • Key messages:
      • Core information: Identify the key messages that align with your organizational goals
      • Consistency: Remain consistent in all messaging across different communication channels
  • Communication channels:
      • Diversity: Enumerate any collaboration tools and channels you’re using for communication such as email, intranet, meetings, etc.
      • Rationale: Explain your reasons for selecting each channel based on its effectiveness for specific types of communication
  • Communication timeline:
      • Sequential planning: Outline a timeline that indicates when different messages will be communicated
      • Consistency: In order to maintain engagement, ensure consistent and regular communication
  • Roles and responsibilities:
      • Assignment: Clearly identify roles that are responsible for different aspects of the communication strategy
      • Collaboration: Promote collaboration among team members to ensure a seamless execution
  • Evaluate and measure:
    • Establish metrics: Define your KPIs to measure the success of your strategy
    • Feedback mechanisms: Make sure you have a feedback mechanism in place so that you can gather insights for continuous improvement

Best practices for implementing an internal communication strategy

Implementing an effective internal communication strategy will require ongoing commitment and adherence to several best practices. The following are several key strategies that can help maximize the impact of your initiatives:

  • Foster a culture of open communication:
  • Encourage feedback and suggestions:
      • Feedback channels: Create channels — surveys, forms, or direct communication — for open dialogue, ensuring your employees feel comfortable when expressing their thoughts and concerns
      • Acknowledgment: Actively acknowledge and appreciate any feedback, demonstrating its value to the organization
  • Use storytelling to convey messages:
      • Human connection: Leverage storytelling, making your messages relatable to employees
      • Emotional impact: Try to ensure that your narratives evoke emotion, creating a more memorable and impactful communication experience
  • Utilize visuals and multimedia:
      • Visual appeal: Incorporate visual elements such as infographics, videos, and images to enhance the visual appeal of your communication
      • Diverse content: Cater to different learning styles within your organization by using a mix of visual and multimedia content
  • Measure and track communication effectiveness:
    • Key metrics: Define and regularly assess your KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your communication
    • Continuous improvement: Use those metrics to identify areas for improvement and refine your communication strategies accordingly



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Challenges and solutions to internal communication

Implementing and maintaining an internal communication strategy is not going to be without hurdles. Organizations often encounter challenges that can impede the effectiveness of their strategies. Here are four common issues and what you can do to overcome:

Overcome resistance to change

Resistance to change is a common challenge in organizational communication. Employees are often hesitant or apprehensive when faced with shifts in processes, structures, or strategies. 

To overcome resistance, leaders need to communicate the rationale behind the change clearly, emphasizing the benefits and addressing any concerns proactively. Where possible, involve employees in the decision-making process, seeking their input, and providing support and resources for the transition.

Deal with information overload

Too much information (TMI) can hinder effective communication, leading to reduced engagement and comprehension among employees. 

To address the TMI or overload challenge, organizations need to prioritize the quality of information over quantity. Streamline communication channels and adopt a targeted approach; this can help deliver relevant information without overwhelming your employees. Implement communication tools that allow for personalized content delivery and provide clear guidelines on what information is critical. Regularly assess your communication channels for effectiveness and make adjustments based on feedback when necessary.

Address language and cultural barriers

In a diverse workplace, language and cultural differences can pose communication challenges.

To deal with this, organizations need to recognize and respect cultural nuances to ensure messages are accurately interpreted. Consider offering language support, such as translations or multilingual communication platforms, to bridge language gaps. Additionally, cultural sensitivity training for employees and leaders can enhance awareness and understanding.

Ensure consistent and accurate messaging

Effective communication cannot exist without consistency and accuracy in messaging. Inconsistencies can lead to confusion and erode trust within your organization.

To help maintain consistency and accuracy, establish clear communication guidelines and protocols. This will ensure that messages align with organizational values and goals. Consider implementing centralized communication platforms or repositories that can help in sharing accurate and up-to-date information.


In conclusion, developing and implementing a strong internal communication strategy is essential if you want to foster a thriving organizational culture and achieve success.

Key components, such as clear and consistent messaging, thoughtful selection of communication channels, and a commitment to two-way communication, lay the foundation for effective communication. We discussed several strategic steps, including assessing current practices to evaluating and adjusting the strategy when necessary, and providing a systematic approach to achieving communication goals.

Next, utilize a comprehensive template that includes an executive summary, defined objectives, the identity of target audiences, key messages, communication channels, a communication timeline, roles and responsibilities, and an evaluation plan. All of this will ensure a holistic and structured strategy.

And of course, there are always best practices. In this case they include fostering a culture of open communication, encouraging feedback, utilizing storytelling and multimedia, and measuring effectiveness.

Finally, be prepared for challenges such as resistance to change, information overload, and language and cultural barriers.

After embracing best practices and addressing any challenges, organizations can create an environment where internal communication becomes a driver of employee engagement, collaboration, and overall organizational success. But it doesn’t stop there. Ongoing evaluation and improvement of your internal communication strategy can help you remain adaptable to the changing needs of your organization, keeping it relevant as your workforce evolves.


Create internal comms employees will read

Plan and energize your internal communications with our simple checklist

Get these practical tips

Elle Holder

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