Blue Beyond Consulting

Internal Communications: Definition, Best Practices, and Why It Matters

Internal communications is a vital part of employee engagement, and internal communications consultants can be indispensable when you seek strategic expertise, a team of communications wizards to execute your internal communications plan, or someone who can help you with both — and more. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what internal communications is, why it matters, and how internal communications consultants can support your efforts.

What Is Internal Communications?

Internal communications describes any communication activities that occur within an organization. As such, internal communications teams are often responsible for disseminating key messaging about the organization through emails, intranets, presentations, meetings, and other communication channels.

Internal communications is closely related to employee communications, though there are distinctions between the two. While employee communications focuses on how managers or other members of the team share information with employees, internal communications is a broader term that encapsulates all communication within an organization.

What Are the Benefits of Internal Communications?

Internal communications keep your organization’s employees connected and informed. It may sound simple, but it is vital and requires expertise and intentionality.

Studies consistently show that if your company understands the critical importance of Internal communications, you will outperform those who don’t, thanks to four key benefits:

1. Connects Employees and their Work with Purpose

A strong internal communications plan connects employees with your company’s people, decisions, initiatives, and goals.

Feeling like a valued team member who is connected to the company’s purpose is an important part of keeping employees engaged. Research found that 73% of employees who say they work at a “purpose-driven” company are engaged – compared to just 23% of those who don’t. 

Employees want to know their work is impactful and contributes to the company’s overall goals. Internal communications leaders must connect employees and their work to the bigger picture by directly tying individual objectives and departmental goals back to the larger company strategy. When employees understand what’s driving key decisions and changes, they’re more likely to be receptive and supportive of corporate initiatives. It also enables your people to make more informed and aligned decisions.

While much of this work is focused on communicating out, internal communication should be a two-way street. The most effective internal communication strategies build engagement by creating channels for feedback, debate, and discussion. Employees feel more connected when they are regularly asked for feedback, and you share how their insights are being used to shape strategies and improve their employee experience. 

2. Builds Trust and Transparency

The best internal communication strategies do more than simply manage and distribute information — they build trust.

Transparency and timeliness are king. A well-defined internal communication strategy helps organizations share information and resources consistently, clearly, and efficiently. Whether sales are up or down, a good internal communication plan enables your employees to get the news and information they need when they need it most. 

Internal communications are powerful — especially during times of crisis or unexpected events — because they establish a voice of authority and trust to combat rumors or misinformation. Times of change and uncertainty are when people need internal communications most, and your company needs to be able to think fast and develop a cohesive plan that can be easily communicated across the organization.

Challenging times can have a big impact on morale and the organization’s future potential, so communications must be treated with great care. Employees will have questions, and your responses will directly impact their perceptions and actions. You can build trust through thoughtful and clear internal communications and make a major difference in bringing people together. Being proactive and considerate when delivering hard news helps create a culture of openness and caring that can help sustain your organization through tough times.

3. Strengthens Culture and Retains Talent

In today’s challenging talent marketplace, high turnover and job hopping are more common, which is a big – and expensive – problem for many companies. A strong internal communications strategy can be a game changer by helping you build a strong corporate culture, create a positive employee experience, and retain top talent. 

Good internal communications helps create a healthy work environment where employees feel connected, valued, and purpose-filled. Communications can help share the company’s impact on the world, progress towards goals, and build excitement for what’s to come. And when employees are happy and invested in a company’s future, they are more likely to stay.

Additionally, strategic internal communications can help improve your bottom line by decreasing turnover and increasing productivity. Clear communications can reduce misunderstandings, missed deadlines, or other issues, which increase overall employee satisfaction and productivity. 

Whether you’re trying to attract or retain talent, strong internal communications can help build a strong company culture that will give your organization a much-needed competitive edge.

4. Cultivates a Strong Company Brand and Ambassadorship

While many organizations have separate internal and external communications functions, every message shapes your company’s reputation and brand. In fact, employees are some of your most important brand ambassadors to amplify your messages with customers and potential new talent. Every day, they represent and manage your company’s reputation and brand inside your company walls and out in the world. 

This is why it is critical to invest in internal communication and ensure all internal and external communications reflect your company’s core mission and values, along with clear and consistent messaging. Your internal communications team can play a vital role in equipping and empowering your employees with clear and consistent messaging that they can share with your customers and with their communities and networks. 

The Importance of Building a Strong Internal Communications Strategy

Our world and ways of working have greatly shifted in recent years. According to the most recent Gallup data, only 32% of workers were engaged in 2022, down 4% from 2020. As we strive to increase employee engagement and connections in this new world, internal communications is more important than ever. Quality internal communications can be the difference between happy, effective, productive employees and confused, unproductive, and disconnected employees. 

In an increasingly globalized workforce, internal communications play a vital role in fostering inclusion and belonging. By developing internal communications best practices that are informed by and align with your DEIB initiatives, you will not only unite and inspire everyone on your team, but you will also ensure that your messages are widely received and actioned. In our DEI communications work, we empower our clients to tell a DEI story that resonates and show them how their DEI efforts can fold into all their internal messaging.

Studies consistently find that a strong internal communication plan improves business performance. Internal communications keep your employees up to date on a company’s latest initiatives and create streamlined, clear communications across departments and the organization. And it also plays a critical role in creating a Deep Trust and High Expectations® culture by increasing employee engagement and creating a shared understanding of company goals, values, and purpose.

Internal Communications Best Practices

Corporate life is flooded with emails. The average worker receives more than 100 emails a day, so it is essential that your internal communications break through the noise to engage the right employees through the most effective channels. For important communications initiatives, campaigns should leverage tactics beyond just internal emails, such as videos, print materials, digital signage, and strong visuals (check out Blue Beyond’s robust visual communications capabilities for great examples). And they should also target employees across several touch points, including company meetings, social media, and non-digital mediums for non-computer employees. It is critical to engage your employees in multiple ways and to ensure consistency of tone and messaging across all communications channels throughout the organization. 

To increase engagement, internal communications should be tailored to your employees. For example, factory workers have unique concerns, stresses, and factors that may differ from office workers. Their needs, as well as how to best reach and communicate with each unique employee audience, must be top of mind if you want to connect and resonate with your people.

Last but not least, a multifaceted internal communications campaign should include opportunities to gather employee feedback and foster two-way dialogue with employees. Structuring your internal communications as a one-way funnel of information — where leadership and communications teams relay information and employees receive it —  is a missed opportunity to make your people feel seen, heard, and respected. You may also glean valuable insights that inform your internal communications strategy and maximize your messages’ reach, reception, and business impact.

What Does an Internal Communications Consultant Do?

Simply put, internal communications consultants are hired partners that can help your organization’s communications reach and resonate with every worker, from the boardroom to the production line.

Do you have an established internal communications team and are looking for strategic expertise? Are you looking for an experienced team of communications experts to strategize, kickstart, and implement your entire internal communications plan? Internal communications consultants do both and everything in between. If you’re looking to uplevel your internal communications and employee engagement, hiring internal communications consultants could be a smart choice for your organization. 

What Are the Benefits of Working With an Internal Communications Consultant?

At Blue Beyond, we work with organizations of all sizes to help them set communication goals, align with business goals, enable employee feedback, and launch communication strategies focused on improving the employee experience and building effective organizations where both the business and the people thrive.

Our internal communications consultants have decades of experience and expertise in creating strategic and engaging communication plans and structures that help build a culture of connected and purpose-driven employees. Our expert consultants will help you evaluate your needs, define the best communication channels, create communications standards, and set a strategy to effectively reach your employees across all roles and all locations.

Once your strategy is defined, our internal communications consultants can also help you execute the plan. That can mean anything from planning company-wide events and upgrading your intranet to writing communications and creating communications protocols.

Don’t wait to begin this important work. Improve your employee engagement and your employee experience by connecting with our team today.

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